With support from the University of Richmond

History News Network

History News Network puts current events into historical perspective. Subscribe to our newsletter for new perspectives on the ways history continues to resonate in the present. Explore our archive of thousands of original op-eds and curated stories from around the web. Join us to learn more about the past, now.

Zemmour Acquitted of Holocaust Denial after Crediting Nazi Collaborator with Saving Jews

A French court acquitted Éric Zemmour, a French politician, of denying a crime against humanity by saying that a French collaborator with the Nazis had saved most French Jews.

The Appeals Court of Paris last week confirmed an earlier ruling from January by a lower court that said that Zemmour, a Jewish journalist with far-right views who ran unsuccessfully for president in April, was innocent of the action, which is illegal in France.

Several left-leaning anti-racism groups had filed complaints against Zemmour over his 2019 comments saying that Philippe Pétain, whom the Nazis allowed to administer a part of France after they occupied the country in 1940, had sacrificed foreign Jews living in France to save Jewish citizens.

The issue is divisive because it touches on the question of French complicity in the Holocaust. Multiple French presidents since Jaques Chirac have acknowledged collaboration by the French government, and public monuments honoring Petain have been removed across France. (A plaque honoring him remains in place in New York City something that local Jewish advocates want to change.)

But others dispute that history, especially in far-right circles and in some far-left ones. At least one renowned historian, Alain Michel, also advocates the theory that some of Pétain’s policies were guided by a desire to save French Jews.

Read entire article at Forward