For the fourth time in two weeks, a monument to Simon Vell, one of France’s most famous politicians, was destroyed by unknown assailants. President Macron says there is “anti-Semitic” aggression. In recent weeks, vaccination and testing centers across the country have also been defaced with slogans and words such as “Nazis” and “collaborators.”
As a teenager, Veil escaped the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. She later became a lawyer and minister, legalized abortion in France in the 1970s, and was the first female president of the European Parliament in the early 1980s.
Veil died in 2017. Her body was officially buried by the French government in the Pantheon in Paris, dedicated to the most important and influential French. All over the country, streets and squares are named after her.
Incomprehensible and unacceptable
A memorial stone for feminist politics was unveiled after her death in the Brittany town of Pyrrhus Gueric. “What happened to that is incomprehensible and unacceptable,” Mayor Ervin Lyon of Perros-Guirec said this weekend.
On the night of August 1-2, the memorial was first smeared with mustard, mayonnaise, and droppings. Exactly a week later it happened again. The first time we thought: This is the work of a drunk. But if it happens again a week later, in exactly the same way, it is intentional,” Mayor Leon said at the time.
Last Wednesday it happened again. Then he anointed the swastika on the memorial stone. On Saturday it happened again. On the stone bearing Simon Veil’s name is written in blue paint: “Responsible for genocide.” This would be a reference to her pro-abortion policy.
The perpetrator or perpetrators are still missing. Nothing is known about the motives yet. “We will never give up fighting anti-Semitism,” President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter. “If you touch her memorial stone, you touch France,” said Minister of State for Home Affairs Marilyn Schiappa.
In recent weeks, there have been more incidents in France involving anti-Semitism or references to World War II. During demonstrations against the vaccination policy, far-right demonstrators carried anti-Semitic posters with codewords.
Last week, French justice opened an investigation into a website called They Are Everywhere, which lists famous French and others said to be Jews.
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