Le Pen says France not responsible for WWII roundup of Jews

A woman walks past electronic boards showing stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo

A woman walks past electronic boards showing stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo Japan

But she later denied having said so.

In July 1995, French president Jacques Chirac apologized for the roundup and admitted the responsibility of the French state.

Le Pen, 48, is the leader of the populist, anti-establishment, National Front, a party the media describes as far-right, although Le Pen's economic platform has some similarities to those espoused by Bernie Sanders.

During a television interview on Sunday, she was speaking specifically about 13,000 Jews who were gathered at at the Vel d'Hiv cycling track in Paris in 1942, on Nazi orders.

In all, about 75,000 Jews were deported from France to Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War.

Marine Le Pen is one of the frontrunners in the upcoming French presidential election.

"Vel d'Hiv" was the top trending topic on Twitter in France on Monday, the first official day of campaigning for the election, whose first round is on April 23.

Her primary opponent, Emmanuel Macron, responded to Le Pen's statement by telling BFMTV that "some people forget that Marine Le Pen is the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen". "This is a political calculation, that she needs the support of the historic hard core of the Front National, her traditional base, to get through to the second round".

But behind them, Communist-backed firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon continues to surge after strong performances during the debates when he repeatedly tackled Le Pen over her hardline views on immigration and Islam.

The CRIF Jewish umbrella organization and the president of the UEJF students' union, Sacha Ghozlan, accused Le Pen of historical "revisionism".

Joly surmised that Le Pen could have been looking both to "reassure the classic far right (and) to woo somewhat old-fashioned Gaullists". She has instead targeted Muslims, voicing fears their civilization will upend that of France.

Marine Le Pen kicked her father out of the National Front in August 2015 as part of an ongoing rebranding and image softening for the party.

The FN's position is the same as that of wartime leader-in-exile Charles de Gaulle, "which is that France was in London".

France has long struggled to come to terms with its role under the collaborationist Vichy regime during World War Two.

"These dark hours soil forever our history and are an injury to our past and our traditions", Chirac said.

Israel's Foreign Ministry was not persuaded by her elaboration.

The ministry's statement also said: "This recognition underpins the annual events marking the anniversary of the expulsion of the Jews from France and the study of the Holocaust in the education system, both of which are important elements in the battle against anti-Semitism, which unfortunately is once again raising its head".

Macron said Monday: "It's the true face of the French far right, the face that I am fighting".

According to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, some 1,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz every two or three days in the two months following the arrests at Vel d'Hiv.

France is set to begin its two-round presidential election on April 23.

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