Monaco committed the “irreparable” injustice of deporting Jews to Nazi camps during World War II, Prince Albert II said Thursday in belated apology for the action 73 years ago that sent scores of residents and refugees to their deaths.
Many of the 66 people handed over to Nazi occupiers in neighboring France had sought refuge in the principality that was neutral in the first years of the war.
But on the night of Aug. 27, 1942, Monaco authorities rounded up Jewish residents and delivered them to the Nazis. At least 24 other Monegasques living in the Riviera principality or in the surrounding French countryside were deported during the war, according to a government report released this year. Only nine of the 90 who were deported survived their Nazi detention.
“We committed the irreparable in handing over to the neighboring authorities women, men and a child who had taken refuge with us to escape the persecutions they had suffered in France,” Albert said at a ceremony in which a monument to the victims was unveiled. “In distress, they came specifically to take shelter with us, thinking they would find neutrality.”
Albert said the acknowledgment of wrongdoing by the wartime authorities “is to ask forgiveness,” addressing his apology to Jewish community leaders in attendance, including the principality’s chief rabbi and renowned Holocaust researchers Serge and Beate Klarsfeld.
Source: Los Angeles Times | CAROL J. WILLIAMS