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NYC officials call for removal of Nazi sympathizers from Canyon of Heroes

By WABC Staff

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    LOWER MANHATTAN (WABC) — The Manhattan borough president is urging New York City officials to remove plaques from the Canyon of Heroes which honor Nazi collaborators.

Mark Levine stood alongside other advocates and descendants of Holocaust survivors on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The Canyon of Heroes is home to granite inscriptions installed in the sidewalks to honor participants of past ticker-tape parades.

Since 2004, the names of Henri Philippe Petain and Pierre Laval have been enshrined on the stretch of Broadway for their efforts in leading allied forces to victory during World War I.

However, Petain and Laval headed the infamous French Nazi-controlled Vichy government during the Second World War and have both been condemned for betraying France and its Jewish citizens, 75,000 of whom they sent to concentration camps.

“Removing the plaques is not a whitewashing of history. Rather, it is a refusal to continue to honor two people who made the choice to embody the worst of humanity,” Levine said.

Levine called the commemorative plaques painful and shameful.

“These two men are honored here on our Canyon of Heroes alongside giants of history like Nelson Mandela, alongside heroes like our COVID-19 health responders,” Levine said. “This is jarring, inexplicable, it is unacceptable.”

After the war, both men were convicted of treason in France.

Levine said France renamed streets that once honored Petain.

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