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French President François Hollande acknowledges France's role in WWII Roma internment [editar]

This was done in a speech delivered at the Montreuil-Bellay camp, where thousands of Roma people were imprisoned by the Vichy pro-nazi regime until 1946.

FSG-Europa Press


"The day has come. It was necesary to say the truth" Hollande stated. "The Republic acknowledges the suffering of travelling people who were interned and admits that it bears a great responsibility in this tragedy," Hollande told a crowd of 500 at Montreuil-Bellay, the largest of the 31 camps in which 6,000-6,500 Roma were interned. "A country, our country, is always greater when it acknowledges its history."

"It was important to have this acknowledgement," commented Fernand Delage of the travelling people's organisation France Liberté Voyage. "This represents thousands and thousands of travelling families. It's late but better late than never."

More than 2,000 Roma, as well as homeless people from the nearby city of Nantes, were interned in the Montreuil-Bellay camp between November 1941 and January 1945 and about 100 died there.

Unlike in other countries occupied during the war, the German authorities did not order the mass deportation of Roma from France, although a number were sent to concentration camps for other reasons.

The first official acknowledgement of the wartime policy came under President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2010 when then veterans minister Hubert Falco mentioned it during a day in honour of the victims of racist and anti-Semitic crimes.

Source: RFI english

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