Just Above Sunset
January 16, 2005 - It was the week of the Nazi revival ...

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It was the week of the Nazi revival.  You heard about that young fellow, third in line to the British crown.


Prince Harry Apologizes for Wearing a Nazi Costume


Jan. 13 (Bloomberg) - Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, apologized for his “poor choice'' of costume after attending a friend's party dressed as a Nazi soldier.


A picture of the 20-year-old prince wearing a desert combat uniform and a swastika was published on the front cover of today's edition of News Corp.'s London-based Sun daily tabloid newspaper. Harry was attending a friend's birthday party with a “native and colonial'' theme, in Wiltshire, southern England, the Sun said.


“I am very sorry if I have caused any offense or embarrassment to anyone,'' the prince said in a statement issued by Clarence House, the office of his father, Prince Charles, who is heir to the throne. “It was a poor choice of costume and I apologize.'' The statement was read over the telephone by a Clarence House spokesman.


Publication of the photograph of Harry comes two weeks before the prince's uncle, Edward, Earl of Wessex, is due to attend a memorial service in Poland to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, where as many as 1.5 million Jews, Poles, Gypsies and Soviets were killed by the Nazis during World War II. This year will also see the 60th anniversary of the end of the war. …


Oh my! 


And in France, a leading politician (sort of) says the Nazi guys weren’t so bad, that in fact they were sort of the good guys, providing order and protecting the French population in the early forties – so one should think of them as friendly cops, I guess, keeping things orderly.  Il présente la Gestapo comme une police protectrice de la population…”  Ah, yep.


Oh my!


We have our David Duke and all the rest.  And Pat Buchanan on a bad day.  The French have this guy.


There’s something in the air these days.  Avoid being Jewish if you can.


And you can look up Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s leader, and his key supporters – the neofascists from up in Tuscany who are his core supports, who say the same sorts of things about Mussolini – a misunderstood fellow no doubt.  [See Just Above Sunset from September 14, 2003 - item 2 - Silvio Berlusconi defends Mussolini]


Silvio Berlusconi and George Bush are best buddies.  I’ve written a lot about that.


Something is going on.


But Jean-Marie Le Pen is in trouble.


Le Pen may face charges over Nazi comments
Susan Bell
The Scotsman - Friday, January 14, 2005


The French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen may face a criminal investigation into controversial comments he made about the Nazi occupation of France during a recent interview.

Dominique Perben, the justice minister, said he was outraged and immediately asked prosecutors to open a preliminary inquiry into Mr Le Pen’s remarks. "He will have to explain himself before the justice system," Mr Perben said.

The leader of the National Front party was quoted as telling the small, far-right newspaper Rivarol: "In France at least the German occupation was not especially inhumane, even if there were a number of excesses.

"If the Germans had carried out mass executions across the country, as the received wisdom would have it, then there wouldn’t have been any need for concentration camps for political deportees," he is reported to have added.


I hadn’t come across the magazine “Rivarol” – you can find it here - but it is in French.


The background story here -


Le Pen calls Nazis not so 'inhumane'

Elaine Sciolino - The New York Times / International Herald Tribune - Friday, January 14, 2005


PARIS: Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of France's far-right National Front, has built his 50-year political career on a message of barely disguised racism and anti-Semitism.

But his latest attempt to rewrite the history of World War II has provoked deep shock and loud demands for his punishment here.

He was quoted as telling a rightist weekly that the Nazi occupation of France was not "particularly inhumane," that "excesses" were inevitable and that France had to be delivered from "lies about its history." The timing of the remarks, so close to the 60th anniversary this month of the liberation of the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz in Poland, has added to the anger.

"Despicable," is how Justice Minister Dominique Perben described Le Pen's remarks in announcing a formal criminal investigation into whether the 76-year-old politician had broken the law.

"In denying the history of France, he's disqualified himself as a politician," Perben said on Europe 1 radio, adding that Le Pen "must explain what he said before a court of law."

Le Pen's remarks were made in an interview last week in a small-circulation, far-right weekly newspaper, Rivarol. But it was only when the daily Le Monde published highlights on Wednesday that France's political class reacted.



The Le Monde article here -

Pour M. Le Pen, "l'occupation allemande n'a pas été particulièrement inhumaine"

LE MONDE | 12 Janvier 2005 | Christiane Chombeau   

Dans un entretien à l'hebdomadaire négationniste "Rivarol", il présente la Gestapo comme une police protectrice de la population. On savait que, pour le président du Front national, les chambres à gaz n'étaient qu'un "détail" dans l'histoire de la seconde guerre mondiale.

But the Sciolino item goes on to tell us  that under a 1990 revision of the press law, Le Pen could be charged for publicly denying the existence of "crimes against humanity" committed by the Nazis in World War II or making an "apology for war crimes."   And if convicted, he could face up to five years in prison and a fine equal to $60,000.


His defense?


In an interview with RTL radio Thursday, Le Pen said that his freedom of speech was under assault, that he was being attacked because of his opposition to the new European Union constitution and that he stood by his words.

"They are true, and it is rather scandalous that, 60 years after the war, one cannot express oneself in a coherent and calm way on these subjects," he said.

Before an appearance in court on Thursday, where he was appealing a conviction last spring for "inciting racial hatred," Le Pen called it "astonishing and shocking that the justice minister has not accorded me the presumption of innocence."


Poor fellow.


Sciolino goes on to remind us that 76,000 Jews were deported to death camps during the German occupation of France from 1940 until 1944, with the help of the collaborationist Vichy government.  And only about 2,500 of them survived.  And that thousands of French civilians were killed in attacks by the German Army.


And it must be remembered that Le Pen, who in 1987 dismissed the Nazi gas chambers as a mere "detail" of World War II history, has been convicted of racism or anti-Semitism at least six times.



Le Pen ran for president four times – and in 2002, he came in second in the first round of presidential elections with 16.8 percent of the vote.


And Sciolino gives us what he says now,

"In France, at least, the German occupation was not especially inhumane, even if there were a number of excesses, inevitable in a country of 550,000 square kilometers," he was quoted in the interview as saying.

He questioned the veracity of the historical record of mass executions of civilians in France by the German Army.

"Besides," he continued, "If the Germans had carried out mass executions in all corners as the conventional wisdom has it, then there wouldn't have been any need for concentration camps for political deportees." Speaking in a relaxed tone peppered with slang, Le Pen also said that the Germans treated the French no worse than they treated their own German soldiers.

"Ah, of course, if one was caught with a weapon five minutes after four soldiers of the German Army had been gunned down, one would quickly have been bumped off," he said. "But note that the Germans acted the same way toward their soldiers who had sinned."

A fierce nationalist and opponent of the European Union, Le Pen also said, "It's not just from the European Union and globalization that we need to deliver our country, but also from the lies about its history."

He also suggested that the official version of the June 1944 massacre in Oradour-sur-Glane, the worst Nazi atrocity in France in World War II, was untrue. A German convoy rolled into the southern village, rounded up its residents and gunned them down before setting the buildings and the piles of bodies on fire; 642 people were killed.

"On the drama of Oradour-sur-Glane, there is a lot more to be said," Le Pen said, citing it in the context of examples in which he said the Gestapo actually tried to prevent civilian deaths.

Anyone for some French-bashing?


Ric Erickson – editor of MetropoleParis – sent this along -


It is truly astonishing how the Nazi past keeps resurfacing. It was a Mafia state with the morals of the Middle Ages, more than totally out of place in the 21st century.


In the notes about Jean-Marie Le Pen it is not entirely clear that Le Monde's note is important. In effect, Le Pen repeated the statement originally published in 'Rivarol' - on radio RTL yesterday, Thursday.


After a long renovation the Mémorial de la Shoah reopens on Thursday, 27. January in Paris. The names of the 76,000 victims of the Nazi occupation of France have been added to it. Not all the names are known because some of those killed were small babies. On the memorial, these are simply indicated with 'enfant.' - 17 rue Geoffroy-L'Asnier, Paris 4. Free entry. Open Sunday to Friday from 10:00 to 18:00; on Thursday until 22:00.


Meanwhile Le Pen apparently said on RTL that he is a 'victim' of a 'bad trial' and accused the media of 'manipulation.'


In Paris Le Pen is facing a conviction and fine of 10,000 euros for some other dubious statements made to Le Monde in April 2003.


Normally nobody talks much about Le Pen. But every time he talks, this sort of 'news' boils up. Like a good student of Goebbels, he accuses the press of the 'manipulation' he orchestrates.


He also suggested that the official version of the June 1944 massacre in Oradour-sur-Glane, the worst Nazi atrocity in France in World War II, was untrue. A German convoy rolled into the southern village, rounded up its residents and gunned them down before setting the buildings and the piles of bodies on fire; 642 people were killed.  "On the drama of Oradour-sur-Glane, there is a lot more to be said," Le Pen said, [....]


Not only does he go on to say it, he treats it like some sort of historical joke - some kind of con job being foisted on the French.  Sometimes the media has a survivor handy - somebody who wasn't bumped off, somebody who saw the whole massacre. These are people who don't live in a luxo chateau in Saint-Cloud, supported in high style by Vichy fans.


The good news is that Le Pen is continuing and not arranging for his succession. When any number two gains status with the party, Le Pen destroys them. His daughter has been set up for the succession but she manages to remain unelectable.


Most curious. 


Something is in the air.




There are many references to Jean-Marie Le Pen in the pages – and see most recently the second item in this page - March 14, 2004 - Sabotage of the Capitalist Message, Demonstrations, and Heated Debate.






Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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