Sarkozy, marking end of WWII, 'corrects injustice'

8th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

French President Nicolas Sarkozy paid homage Saturday to soldiers from Alsace and Lorraine forced to fight for Germany in World War II, saying they were not traitors.

To mark the 65th anniversary of the Allied victory on May 8, 1945, Sarkozy visited the Alsatian city of Colmar, one of the last towns in France to be liberated, where he said it was time to "correct an injustice".

From 1942, he said, people from Alsace and Lorraine "were enrolled by force into the German army. They had to wear a uniform that was not their country's."

"They were forced to act against their nation, their allegiance, their conscience," said Sarkozy, referring to the 130,000 soldiers, of which 30,000 were killed in battle and 10,000 disappeared.

"They were not traitors", Sarkozy said.

Since his election in 2007, Sarkozy has marked the anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe in "particularly symbolic areas for the history of the liberation" of France.

He travelled to Ouistreham in Normandy for the anniversary in 2008, and then to south to Saint Maxime in the Var region in 2009.

© 2010 AFP

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