Cleo Yvel was living in France when Adolf Hitler’s Nazis were targeting Jews across Europe during the Second World War.
She escaped being transported to a concentration camp because her family hid her. Her family, however, did not escape.
“My father was Jewish,” said Cleo. “He was deported to Auschwitz and never returned.
“If you visit the museum of Auschwitz you will find many things left behind by victims sent to the gas chambers. There are piles of shoes and suitcases labelled with addresses from many parts of Europe.”
Around six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, along with gypsies, gay people, socialists, disabled people and others.
Today Nazis try to downplay this slaughter or claim it never even happened.
Cleo is furious that Marine Le Pen, leader of the fascist Front National (FN) in France, was speaking in Cambridge on Tuesday of this week.
“How dare you come here Marine Le Pen? Your father had the audacity to tell the world that the concentration camps were a ‘mere detail of history’.”
Some see Marine Le Pen as different to her father, FN founder Jean-Marie Le Pen. Yet she has made her views clear.
“Try as I might, I can’t find any point of difference with my father’s programme,” she said. “I am 100 percent Le Pen through and through.”
Jean-Marie Le Pen founded the FN in 1972. He was backed by ex-SS officers and a new generation of fascists. They aimed to appear “respectable” to win support.
The Nazis continually update their targets to try and attract people.
“Marine Le Pen is even trying to recruit Jews, playing the anti-Islamic card,” Cleo said. “The Muslims and Gypsies have become the new scapegoats of the far right in Europe.
“The Nazis blame other groups, such as foreign workers. But foreign workers are exploited. Migrant workers often arrive in the West having been given false promises. Many do not have the means to return to their countries.
“But the extreme right will try to win over vulnerable people with inflammatory and pompous speeches. Do not be deceived by it.”
Many people can’t imagine the Nazis taking power in a country today.
But as Cleo pointed out, “It only took ten years for the Nazis to deceive the German population and others. I ask you to read the history.”
Cleo is now aged 77 and is still fighting the Nazis. She stressed that fascism remains a threat today and appealed for people to join her in fighting against it.
“Remember that not to have acted against the rise of fascism had catastrophic consequences during the Second World War,” she said.
“It allowed Nazism to seize power. The few survivors often could not speak of the treatment they endured, or of how much they suffered.”
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