(JTA) – Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate in France’s presidential election, visited a Holocaust memorial in Marseille days after news that her choice for interim party head had denied aspects of the Holocaust.
On Sunday, Le Pen laid a wreath at a memorial in Marseille to French victims of the Holocaust. The memorial was erected in memory of 30 Jewish women and children who were rounded up by the Gestapo in 1943.
In 1954, the French government dedicated the last Sunday in April as the National Day of Remembrance of the Victims and Heroes of Deportation.
There was no media present at Le Pen’s wreath laying. A campaign worker later tweeted a picture of the ceremony.
Earlier this month, Le Pen came under fire for saying that her country is not responsible for the deportation of thousands of Jews to death camps in 1942.
“I think generally, and in very general terms indeed, if anyone is responsible, then it is those in power at the time, not France as such. It wasn’t France,” she said.
Jean-François Jalkh was replaced two days after temporarily taking Le Pen’s place at the helm of the National Front Party last week ahead of the May 7 runoff in the presidential election. A day earlier, an interview from 2000 with the Le Monde daily newspaper surfaced in which Jalkh was quoted as questioning the use of the Zyklon B poison by Nazis during the Holocaust to kill Jews.
“Personally, I think that it is impossible from a technical point of view to use for mass extermination,” he said of the use of Zyklon B in gas chambers. “Why? Because it takes several days for a place where Zyklon B was used to be decontaminated.”
Jalkh told Le Monde that he did not recall the interview and had no memory of making such statements.