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Possible Return of Former Nazi Collaborator Sparks Protests Resurgence of Anti-semitism Feared

Two major French-Jewish organizations protested vigorously today against the possible return to France of Darquier De Pellepoix, a notorious Nazi collaborator during World War II who was personally responsible for rounding up French Jews for deportation. Pellepoix has been living in Spain under political asylum since 1944.

Though condemned to death in absentia by a French military court in Dec. 1947, the statute of limitations on the sentence became effective in 1969 and he has since applied to French authorities to relax or cancel their subsequent order forbidding him to return to France.

Today’s protest was lodged by the Representative Council of Jewish Organizations in France (CRIF) and the International League Against Anti-Semitism and Racism (LICA). They said the possibility of Pellepoix’ return “might be considered a provocation” and could lead to a resurgence of anti-Semitic activity by rightist elements in France. They urged the authorities to refuse categorically any request for permission to return by the collaborator.

Pellepoix, a right-wing nationalist politician before the war, collaborated with the Nazis during the occupation of France and became Commissioner for Jewish Affairs in the Vichy regime of Marshal Petain in June, 1942, succeeding Xavier Vallat.

Once in office, he personally organized raids to capture Jews who had eluded the Gestapo dragnet and turned them over to Nazi authorities for deportation to Eastern Europe. Pellepoix continued his anti-Jewish activities until Feb. 1944 when he escaped across the Spanish border and was granted political asylum by the France government.

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