On the occasion of the commemoration of the 78th anniversary of the Vélodrome d’Hiver raid on July 1942, during which some 13,000 Jews were arrested, Patrick Chaimovitch, the new mayor of the town of Colombes near Paris, compared today’s police forces to the ones of the Vichy regime.
Chaimovitch, a representative of the Green Party, was recently elected as Mayor of Colombes following the 2020 local elections, in which the party made substantial gains.
“The French gendarmes who obeyed the orders of their superiors in carrying out the Vel d’Hiv round-up, and other round-ups afterwards and elsewhere, are the ancestors of those who today, with the same zeal, hunt down undocumented migrants (…)” he said.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin explained that he will lodge a complaint if these “scandalous and unbearable” remarks are “confirmed”. Meanwhile, a video of the speech has been posted on social networks, causing an outcry.
The Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF), the country’s EJC affiliate reacted on Twitter: “The shameful and intolerable remarks of the Mayor of Colombes @pchaimovitch are an instrumentalisation of the memory of the Shoah, and an insult to the memory of the victims of the Vel d’Hiv. Comparing the 1942 police to today’s Republican police is outrageous”.
#Crif – Les propos honteux et intolérables du Maire de Colombes @pchaimovitch sont une instrumentalisation de la mémoire de la Shoah, et une insulte à la mémoire des victimes du Vel d’Hiv.
Comparer la police de 1942 à la police Républicaine d’aujourd’hui est indigne.
— CRIF (@Le_CRIF) July 27, 2020