The Jewish Voice
NYC Jewish Groups Call for Removal of Plaque Honoring Nazi Collaborator
Jewish officials and groups are calling for the eradicating of the name of French Nazi collaborator Henri Philippe Pétain whose name is honored in New York City’s “Canyon of Heroes” in the Financial District, according to the Jewish Post.
“It has come to my attention that New York City has inadvertently honored a mass murderer,” said State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who wrote a letter to Mayor Bill De Blasio requesting that the plaque be removed, says the Jewish Post. “Following the discovery of this marker in a recent article in The Jerusalem Post, I have been inundated with calls from not only my constituents but people all over New York City who are outraged – as I am – over Petain’s inclusion in the august collection of markers.”
According to the Jewish Post, this collection of granite plaques , which is known as the “Canyon of Heroes”, stretch along roughly 13 blocks on Broadway and hold the names of famous histori-cal figures who have been honored in New York City with ticker-tape parades or confetti pa-rades.
Pétain’s name is engraved alongside historical figures such as Churchill, De Gaule and Ben Guri-on, says Vin News.
On October 26, 1931, Pétain had been celebrated with one of these parades for his position in defending France during World War I, specifically during the Battle of Verdun, says Vin News.
But in 1940, during the second World War, Pétain became France’s leader of the Nazi-collaborationist Vichy government, which ordered the assembly of more than 10,000 Jews who were then given over to Hitler’s regime, reports Vin News.
“Petain took the initiative very early on in World War II to collaborate with Nazi Germany, will-ingly enacting mass arrests and deportations of French Jews to deliver them to their deaths,” said Betty Ehrenberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress’s North America branch. “Because of Petain’s active role in carrying out the aims of the Holocaust, the plaque in Lower Manhattan bearing his name should be removed from the roster of true heroes.”
According to the Jewish Post, many French streets were originally named in honor of Pétain, but in 2013, they were rightly renamed.
Just last month, France’s farright presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen, spoke out about Pétain’s acts and advised that France was not accountable for sending Jewish people to their deaths in 1942, this was also known as the Vel d ’Hiv roundup, reports Vin News.
These comments cause much controversy, largely because at the time she was making conscien-tious efforts to repair her party’s reputation and was trying to withdraw herself from her father’s, Jean-Mair Le Pen, antisemitism, according to the Jewish Post.
“You cannot compromise with this kind of people whether it is Marshal Petain or Le Pen,”, said the State Assemblyman Hikind. “I don’t think there is any question that this needs to be re-moved and I hope the city will do the right thing.”
City hall has yet to make a response to these reactions to the initial report.