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France : Sarkozy inaugurates first local Shoah memorial
European Jewesh Press ^ | 07/13/2006 | Shirli Sitbon

Posted on 07/21/2006 12:12:28 PM PDT by Republicain

On 13 July, the French interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy inaugurated the first regional Shoah memorial in France in the Hauts-de-Seine subdivision.

The memorial was placed in a glade of the prestigious park of Sceaux, located south of Paris. New memorials are to be built throughout France to increase awareness of the genocide.

Paris consitoire chairman Joel Mergui said the aim was to commemorate the Shoah on a regional level in the places where the victims lived before they were deported to Nazi death camps.

Sarkozy, who is also the head of the local council of Hauts-de-Seine, agreed two years ago to install a memorial for Shoah victims.

Duty to the dead

“We have to remember and honour the victims and at the same time we must stress that anti-Semitism is still a threat,” said Sarkozy when inaugurating the memorial.

“Peace is fragile. We have to remember the families torn and destroyed by deportation. Such atrocities wouldn’t have been possible had anti-Semitic policies been denounced from the beginning.”

“Today we have a duty not only to the dead that we honour but also to the living we must protect,” declared Sarkozy.

“I refuse to let certain individuals try to use the Holocaust to attack Jews. They do so by making indecent comparisons between the genocide and other events. It’s scandalous. I cannot accept the fact that some use anti-Semitic clichés to fight Zionism.

“This is not tolerable, not only because we owe respect to the victims who are part of us but also for the sake of our own dignity.”

Carved names

The new memorial is an impressive and sober wooden statue by renowned artist Christian Lapie. The statue consists of twelve human figures of various heights representing Jacob’s sons or the twelve Hebrew tribes. The figures appear as a united family.

Underneath the statue called “Star stand” the names of 972 Jewish victims from the Hauts-de-Seine were carved into the wood by schoolchildren from the region.

“A new phase in Shoah commemoration is launched today,” said Joel Mergui. “With these local memorials we intend to increase remembrance on a regional level.”

A local memorial will help teachers explain the genocide to children.

“We are honouring these victims and by carving their names we are giving them back the identity the Nazis tried to strip them from.”

“Some of the victims’ families still live in the same communities,” said Mergui. “Today there are actually more Jews in these communities than there were before WWII.” Plates with names of WWII victims were recently also inaugurated in synagogues throughout the subdivision.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: europe; france; jew; memorial; sarkozy; shoah

1 posted on 07/21/2006 12:12:32 PM PDT by Republicain
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