New York to Remove Plaque Honoring French Nazi Collaborator

(Photo by Margaux Deuley via French Morning)

The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, announced on Aug. 16 the forthcoming removal of a commemorative plaque of Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain placed on Broadway.

The announcement comes after several municipalities across the U.S. have decided, in the wake of the Charlottesville events, to promptly retire all symbols considered racist and hateful. “This withdrawal is the starting point of a long-term evaluation of all of the controversial public structures and art pieces in the city,” Ben Sarle, a spokesperson of the New York Mayor told French Morning.

The commemoration for Nazi collaborator Philippe Pétain in the Canyon of Heroes will be one of the first we remove. https://t.co/hAnGmkCdtg

The granite plaque with the name of Marshal Pétain is embedded on a Broadway sidewalk in the Financial District. It is part of the Canyon of Heroes, a walkway devoted to historical figures. The one for Marshal Pétain – whose first name [Philippe] is spelled with a double “l” – was inaugurated on Oct. 26, 1931, to honor the French general’s courage during World War I.

However, nine years later the Verdun hero became the chief of the collaborationist government of Vichy, which would sentence thousands of French Jews to death. “We did not know about the existence of those plaques,” said Jean Lachaud, president of the American Society of Le Souvenir Français. “I respect this decision by the city’s authorities, which takes into account the role he played during World War II.”

Only a few steps from Marshal Pétain’s plaque is another one dedicated to Pierre Laval [who also served in prominent roles in the Vichy regime], which should also be part of the structures removed by the City of New York.

One Comment

  1. The Lack of Culture and historic background of di Blasio is phenomenal…
    First, it’s an easy way to make Publicity for himself and
    Second point: should we destroy the pyramids which were built by slaves?
    Should we destroy napoleon’s Arc de Triomphe ? The invalides? The List would be endless…

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