Macron – Le Pen: “Choosing republican values”, a duty of memory

Published on: 04/21/2022 – 07:55Modified on: 04/21/2022 – 08:04 A few days before the second round of the presidential election, several foundations and memorial associations are calling for citizen mobilization. While the vote coincides with the National Day in memory of the victims and heroes of the deportation, they advocate republican and democratic values ​​in the face of the temptation of extremism. “At a time when the destiny of our country is at stake, in an even more uncertain context than in 2017 with the return of war on European soil, we remember the lessons of the past and call for a strong mobilization to make a clear choice in favor of republican and democratic values”. It is with these words that five memorial associations from the Second World War call in a joint press release to go to the polls on April 24 during the second round of the presidential election. In this text signed by the Foundation for the Memory of Deportation, the Charles de Gaulle Foundation, the Resistance Foundation, the Free France Foundation and the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah, these organizations believe that French citizens must choose between two opposing models of society: “One guarantees the preservation of our republican and democratic values ​​and of France’s European commitment resulting from the Second World War, when the other calls them into question”. Five memorial foundations from the Second World War publish a joint declaration for the second round of the presidential election.— Fondation Shoah (@Fondation_Shoah) April 13, 2022 Even if this document does not mention the names of Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, Philippe Allouche, director general of the Foundation for the Memory of Shoah, believes that the message is clear. “As foundations recognized as being of public utility, we do not engage in political politics. We did not want to be named, but by reading this press release, we understand quite clearly which side our heart leans on”, explains it to France 24. Gilles Pierre Levy, president of the Foundation of the Resistance, also specifies that “it is not our habit to intervene in the political world. We try to be neutral”, while wanting to be more explicit: “There are around the National Rally, a certain number of things which were fought by the people whose values ​​and memory we are trying to perpetuate”. “People are forgetting what extremes lead to” The second round of the presidential election also coincides this year with the National Day of Remembrance of the Victims and Heroes of Deportation. “It is a highly symbolic day and it is all the more important that the memorial foundations from the Second World War react on this occasion”, insists Philippe Allouche. Established in 1954, it is held every year on the last Sunday of April in memory of those who lived through the hell of the Nazi concentration and extermination camps. Eighty years later, the possibility of a victory for the National Rally is experienced as an anguish for their comrades still alive. “The generation that experienced this period is very angry. They feel that people are forgetting what extremes lead to,” summarizes Philippe Allouche. In the wake of the joint declaration of the five Foundations, other memorial actors have also launched a call for citizen mobilization. On social networks, Camp des Milles, an internment camp located in Provence where more than 10,000 people were detained during the Second World War, published a video which includes a text written by veterans and deportees . “These are strong people who recognize today with sadness, concern, anger and determination a climate and words that they have known only too well. Almost all of them had promised their fallen comrades to carry the memory of what leads to the worst. ‘Never again’ was not just a slogan for them!”, describes Alain Chouraqui, president of the Camp des Milles Foundation – Memory and Education and director of research emeritus at the CNRS. Even if Marine Le Pen is not mentioned in this video either, this call also aims to block the far right by shedding light on the past. “In history, many voters have not imagined the sequence of actions and reactions that their vote or their abstention have triggered, nor to what ends can lead an authoritarian temptation”, recalls Alain Chouraqui. “Authoritarian regimes have already been ‘tried’ and have led to aggravation of the fate of the angry peoples who had entrusted them with their protection. I am thinking of the Vichy regime as of so many other regimes of yesterday or today “. “There is no risk in going to vote”While withdrawal, nationalism, xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial find a certain echo in several European countries, memorial institutions are fully aware that their actions are needed more than ever. “We must continue the work of memory. We are aware that we do not affect the entire French population”, regrets Philippe Allouche. “But I am not pessimistic. Despite the passage of time and thanks to the work done by the teachers, we are more advanced on these subjects than 20 or 40 years ago”. For Alain Chouraqui, we must continue to reflect on new modes of transmission and “develop the teaching of a history and a memory reworked in a multidisciplinary way to be more directly useful to the present”. Pending the continuation of this work, particularly with students, these memorial actors are awaiting a commitment to the polls, Sunday, April 24. “The resistance is people who have not remained passive and who have not said to themselves ‘we will see'”, underlines Gilles Pierre Levy. “Those who acted during the war took considerable risks and many remained there. There is no risk in going to vote”.