SWC: Reported Vichy-Era Statute Forbidding Côte d'Azur Property Sales to Jews Still In Force

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Wiesenthal Centre to South of France Regional Minister: "Investigate and Repeal Reported Vichy-Era Statute Forbidding Côte d'Azur Property Sales to

Paris, 23 March 2007

In a letter to French Minister for Land Development and President of the Alpes-Maritimes General Council, Mr Christian Estrosi, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, expressed shock at a NICE MATIN newspaper report of 28 February 2007 by Jean-François Roubaud (republished in the London TIMES of 3 March) to the effect that a Vichy-era law, the Second Statute on the Jews of 2 June 1941, was still in force.

Samuels noted that "apparently, condominium apartments on the Côte d'Azur may not, according to this statute, be rented or sold to Jews unless the interested parties 'attest that they are neither Jewish nor married to a Jew.' The article also states that, in certain circumstances, they may evade this statute by paying the equivalent of 7500 euros in legal fees."

The Centre urged the Minister "to investigate this matter and to promptly repeal this statute if the report is exact."

Samuels added, "any application, since 1944, by landlords or real estate agencies of this clearly illegal and racist loophole may still constitute grounds for damages and compensation claims. Indeed, an enquiry as to how this judicial and moral time-warp could have persisted for over sixty years after Vichy would provide an effective pedagogical exercise in tolerance education for schools across France, perhaps with a launch at the Simon-Wiesenthal-College, recently inaugurated by the Minister in Saint-Vallier-de-Thiey (Alpes-Maritimes)."

Samuels concluded, "Our Centre would be happy to work with your General Council on such a project."

For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at +33.609.77.01.58.