By Danielle Ziri
Much media attention has focused on the issue since The Jerusalem Post exposed the existence of the marker honoring a Nazi.
NEW YORK – New York City will be removing the controversial plaque honoring Nazi collaborator and Marshal of France Philippe Petain, which was first reported by The Jerusalem Post in May.
The plaque, which was placed as part of New York’s “Canyon of Heroes” on Broadway in 2004, commemorated Petain’s 1931 ticker-tape parade in the city, which he earned for defending his country during World War I.
However, nine years later, in 1940, he became the leader of France’s Nazi-collaborationist Vichy government, which was responsible for rounding up more than 10,000 Jews and handing them over to Hitler’s regime.
Pétain even went further and put in place his own discriminatory measures against Jews, including property confiscation and exclusions from certain professions. At the end of the war, the french marshal was tried for treason and sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison where he died in 1951.
“After the violent events in Charlottesville, New York City will conduct a 90-day review of all symbols of hate on city property,” Mayor Bill De Blasio wrote in a tweet on Wednesday evening. “The commemoration for Nazi collaborator Philippe Pétain in the Canyon of Heroes will be one of the first we remove.”
Much media attention had been focused on the issue since the Jerusalem Post brought to light the existence of the marker honoring Petain.
Jewish leaders had called on city hall to remove the sidewalk plaque, including Betty Ehrenberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress’s North America branch, and NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who wrote a letter and met with De Blasio to discuss it.
Following the news of the plaque’s removal, Hikind applauded the Mayor and added that “New Yorkers have an obligation to say, ‘Not in our city.’”
“It’s time to remove all of New York City’s monuments and markers that glorify bigotry and strengthen that which perpetuates these ignorant beliefs,” he wrote in a statement.
In France, many streets had been named in honor of Petain throughout the years, but all were renamed by 2013. The last street in his name was located in a village in the northeast of the country.