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in Englishen français

French National Day in memory of the victims of racist and anti-semitic crimes and tribute to the "Righteous" of France.

Marly, the 22 July 2012 at 10:30am

Fabien THIÉMÉ Mayor of Marly, Vice-President of Conseil Général

Ladies and gentlemen, today, Marly remembers.

The commemoration of "the French national day in memory of the victims of racist and anti-Semitic crimes and the tribute to the 'righteous' of France" gives the town of Marly the opportunity to associate itself with the gratitude shown by the nation to all those who, at the risk of their own lives and without any counterpart, 'have taken in, protected or defended people threatened by genocide'.

This day, the 16th of July, associated with the recognition of the French State responsibility in the crimes perpetrated during German occupation, is the anniversary of the roundup of the Vélodrome d'hiver.

On the 16 and 17 July 1942, nearly 13,000 people - men, women and children - were arrested by French gendarmes and police. The operation was conducted on the basis of lists previously established by the prefecture of police.

Some 7,500 people, including 4,000 children, were gathered in the Vélodrome d'hiver, in the worst conditions because nothing was planned to have them before being transferred to the internment camps of the Loiret; the others are directly brought to Drancy and deported during the summer.

Throughout the war, French people, residing in all the countries, belonging to all social categories and of all faiths, have hidden men, women and children from French police and Germans.

By their actions, they showed that the republican values of freedom, equality and brotherhood were not dead letters.

It is impossible to quantify the number of the "Righteous" in France who, throughout German Occupation and, by humanity, have hidden and saved thousands of people.

The nation thus chooses to recognize the actions of the "Righteous" and to make an act of memory in honouring all of them on this commemorative day.

Marly, as many other towns of the Valenciennois area, has not been spared by the horror of the war and bled for victory over the Nazi barbarism.

Let's remind that after the September 1944 Liberation and the four years of Occupation, a mass grave was discovered in Rôleur.

It contained the bodies of 18 tortured Resistance fighters of which Gilles FABRY chief of Fire brigade of Marly and Jean GONTIER, also from Marly. Their martyrdom is commemorated by a monument erected at the entrance of the old firing range of the Valenciennes garrison.

To me, to us, today, it is not just to explain but to fight with the greatest firmness racism and intolerance, temptations which, unfortunately, are still well present in our societies.

The name of Guy Moquet remains in all memories. In our district, we remember Eusébio Ferrari, Félicien Joly, Eugène Thiémé or even Gaston Poulain as they led the Resistance.

Not forgetting, teach the lessons of the past and judging them, that is our duty to the younger generations. An essential duty of memory, how vital to our society, for the future of the youth and to live well together.

A duty perfectly filled by veterans associations and here, I want to salute and thank them.

So, in this day of commemoration, if we must condemn the Nazi barbarism, honour the "Righteous" and call for peace, we must also call for tolerance, a word unfortunately too often forgotten.

As Voltaire said: "Discord is the greatest evil of humankind and tolerance is the only cure".