Prince Albert made a public apology for the role of the Monegasque police in the Second World War during visit to a Monaco cemetery on Thursday.
Here, Albert unveiled a memorial for those who were deported out of Monaco to Nazi concentration camps during WWII.
During a speech at the unveiling, the Prince took the opportunity to apologise on behalf of Monaco for its involvement during the war.
“We committed the irreparable in handing over to the neighbouring 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.”
Throughout the war, Monaco remained politically neutral but were pressured by neighbouring Italy. This led the Monegasque police to round-up those who had escaped France, having come to Monaco hoping to find safety, and send them to concentration camps.
A total of 90 people were deported, including at least 66 Jews. Only nine survived their time in the camps.
Thursday’s speech marks the first time that the small Principality has publicly acknowledged its actions in the persecution of Jews during the war. Albert also announced the Monaco government’s plans to provide compensation for property of some of those who had been seized.
The Prince’s sentiments were welcomed by Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, in a statement to The Associated Press saying, “there is no time limit on true introspection and regret.”
Photo: Eirik Solheim