Le Pen Holocaust Denial Cases
French Court Fines Former Leader of Far-Right Front National for 3rd Time for Calling Nazi Gas Chambers a Mere ‘Detail’ of History
Jean-Marie Le Pen, the former leader of France’s far-right Front National, has once again been convicted of contesting crimes against humanity for saying the gas chambers used to kill Jews in the Holocaust were only a “detail” of history.
A Paris court fined Le Pen €30,000 (£24,000) on Wednesday for the comments he reiterated on a French television programme in April last year.
Le Pen, 87, had told the TV interviewer he had no regrets over calling the gas chambers a mere detail of the history of the second world war, saying he stood by that view “because it’s the truth”.
Le Pen already has two civil court convictions for making the same comments about gas chambers. He first stated the view in 1987, and in later years repeated it in Germany and then in the European parliament.
The judges ordered their verdict to be published in three newspapers and said Le Pen must also pay €10,001 in damages to three charities that brought the case.
It was last April’s interview that sparked a bitter family feud with his daughter and successor as party leader, Marine Le Pen, who moved to expel him from the party he founded.
Marine Le Pen, who took over the party in 2011 and is running for French president next year, had led a public relations drive to “detoxify” the party and move away from its jack-booted imagery and antisemitic overtones. After years of working alongside her father, in April last year she blasted him for being “in a total spiral of strategy somewhere between scorched earth and political suicide”.
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He in turn attacked his daughter’s criticism of his gas chamber comments, saying: “You’re only betrayed by your own.” Then in an interview the same month with Rivarol, a notorious far-right weekly, Jean-Marie Le Pen defended Philippe Pétain, the leader of France’s Nazi collaborationist Vichy regime in the 1940s, who was convicted of treason after the war.
The feud led to Jean-Marie Le Pen’s expulsion from the party and an ongoing legal battle over his status as honorary president of the party.
Jean-Marie Le Pen was also on Wednesday fined 5,000 euro by a court in Nice and convicted of “provoking hatred and ethnic discrimination” for telling a public meeting in 2013 that Roma in the city were “rash-inducing” and smelly.
He has been convicted repeatedly for hate speech and contesting crimes against humanity. In 2012, he was for saying the Nazi occupation was “not particularly inhumane”.
Aided by the collaborationist Vichy government, German authorities deported during the occupation from 1940 to 1944. Thousands of French civilians died in reprisals by the German army.
France has strict laws against denying the Holocaust and contesting crimes against humanity.