Seventy years later, Prince Albert II of Monaco on Thursday, issued in an unprecedented gesture of repentance, a formal apology for his country’s role in deporting Jews to Nazi death camps during World War II.
Price Albert spoke to Jewish figures including Serge and Beate Klarsfeld, Nazi hunters and Holocaust researchers who encouraged Albert’s father, Prince Rainier III, to examine Monaco’s role during World War II.
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“To say this today is to recognize a fact. To say it today, on this day, before you, is to ask forgiveness, ” Prince Albert said.
“We committed the irreparable in handing over to the neighboring authorities women, men and a child who had taken refuge with us to escape the persecutions they had suffered in France. In distress, they came specifically to take shelter with us, thinking they would find neutrality.”
EJC President Moshe Kantor hailed the apology, saying in a statement, “seventy years after the Holocaust, it remains important that in each country where the Nazis and their collaborators enabled the deportation of Jews to their deaths there should be a permanent and official memorial and ceremony … We also welcome Prince Albert’s poignant words today at the ceremony, which more than anything, encapsulated the value of this study and introspection that he has personally led in recent years.”