Monaco’s Prince Albert II apologized Thursday for his country’s history of deporting Jews to Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust. During the period, Monaco police had rounded up and deported Jews in the small principality, including those who escaped to Monaco thinking they would be safe in what was considered a neutral country.
“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 in a speech attended by Monaco’s chief rabbi and other prominent Monaco Jewish figures, such as renowned Nazi hunters and Holocaust researchers Serge and Beate Klarsfeld.
The prince also unveiled a monument commemorating the deported Jews at the Monaco cemetery, on a date marking 73 years since Monaco authorities rounded up more than 60 Jews from Aug. 27-28, 1942. In total, about 90 people were deported from Monaco, and of those only nine survived the Holocaust.
“We committed the irreparable in handing over…women, men and a child who had taken refuge with us to escape the persecutions they had suffered in France,” Prince Albert said, the Associated Press reported.
”We did not protect them. It was our responsibility. In distress, they came specifically to take shelter with us, thinking they would find neutrality,” he said.