On air
  • RFI English Live
  • Latest Bulletin
  • RFI French Live

France US

Issued on • Modified

New York to remove Nazi collaborator Petain plaque

A protester holds a sign reading "Racism is not Patriotism" at a march against white nationalism in New York City, the day after the attack on counter-protesters at the "Unite the Right" rally organized by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, U REUTERS/Joe Penney

New York's Democratic mayor has promised to remove a plaque dedicated to Nazi collaborator Philippe Petain, who led Vichy France during World War II, following deadly violence in Virginia.

A woman was killed and 19 other people injured Saturday when a suspected white supremacist drove his car into a group of anti-racism protestors at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"After the violent events in Charlottesville, New York City will conduct a 90-day review of all symbols of hate on city property," Bill de Blasio announced on Twitter on Wednesday.

"The commemoration for Nazi collaborator Philippe Petain in the Canyon of Heroes will be one of the first we remove."

The Canyon occupies a stretch of Broadway in Manhattan's Financial District. Plaques on the sidewalk commemorate those feted with a ticker-tape parade in New York -- an honor that Petain received in 1931 as a World War I hero.

But a decade later, he went on to lead the Vichy regime in France that collaborated with German Nazis from 1940-1944.

He passed legislation that subjected Jews to severe discrimination and under his leadership the Vichy regime put to death up to 15,000 people and helped deport nearly 80,000.

The Charlottesville violence has seen campaigns gather momentum across the United States to remove symbols of the pro-slavery Civil War South, with monuments removed this week in Baltimore, Maryland and other cities.

The clashes occurred at a rally called by white supremacists to protest plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Two busts to Lee, the commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, and one of his top generals, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, at New York's Bronx Community College are expected to be removed in coming days.

Two plaques honoring Lee were removed from a Brooklyn church on Wednesday.