...Continued from page 1

This mobilized thousands of men and women, to save and hide Jews on the run from the police. To the French, 'crimes against humanity' began when women, children and the aged, were put behind barbed wire. It was a time to act; later was too late.

Certain state functionaries resisted; others, like Papon, threw their entire competence at the problem, to limit the negative 'fallout' as much as possible. In France, 76,000 Jews did not escape the attention of Papon and his colleagues.

Le Pen Convicted of Assault

Regional Councilor and European Deputy, Jean-Marie Le Pen, was sentenced yesterday in Versailles to three months - suspended - and fined twice; once for 20,000 francs and the second, for 3,000 francs. In addition, he was declared to be ineligible to run for public office for two years.

He did not bother to show up in court to hear this sentence. It was the result of a fracas in Mantes-la-Jolie on 30. May 1997, during the election campaign there. Le Pen was in town to support his daughter and ended up assaulting the Mayor, Annette Peulvast-Bergeal, who was re-elected as a Socialist Deputy.

Mr. Le Pen denounced the trial as a political-judicial plot against him and the Front National. In viewing the videos taken of the fray, the judges were more of the opinion that his provocative and aggressive behavior was incompatible with his position as an elected representative and a party leader.

According to a biography, 'Le Pen,' by Gilles Bresson and Christian Lionet, Mr. Le Pen has a rap sheet going back to 29. April 1948. Street brawls in the '50's, '60's, plus 'insulting the President of the République' in 1963, and more brawls in '69 added up an ever-growing score.

With the founding of the Front National in 1972, he needed to clean up his act and this he did by suing journalists for slander, with some successes. Numerous instances of convictions for provoking hate, discrimination or racial violence followed. He got a 10,000 franc fine in 1991 for the anti-semitic 'Durafour, Crématoire.' For this, the European Parliament lifted his immunity.

Despite this sorry record, he claims to have 'won' all his cases, but now seems getting ready to pose as a martyr.

Meanwhile in Munich, a court there has gone beyond ways of studying how to get Mr. Le Pen's parliamentary immunity lifted so he can be charged with hate-mongering and denying Nazi history.

At a meeting of Nazi-sympathizers in the Bavarian capital last December, he said - again - "...le chambres à gaz ne sont qu'un détail de l'Histoire."

And just to be sure everybody got the message loud and clearly, he repeated it for Radio France microphones, "If you take a book with a thousand pages about the Second World War, concentration camps occupy two pages and gas chambers ten or 15 lines. This is called a detail."

The 'detail' the Munich prosecutor will be seeking is a five-year jail term. He has a copy of the Radio France tape and the request to lift parliamentary immunity so that Le Pen can be extradited has gone to Germany's foreign office, for transmission to the European Parliament.

Sports But Non-World Cup News

Saturday Night Football in Saint-Denis

Paris sportsfans went gaga tonight when the home team, Paris-Saint-Germain, known as PSG, crushed Bordeaux in the new Stade de France in front of 77,700 spectators, some of whom were Bordeaux fans; by a score of two to two.

That this can be called a 'stupendous' victory is only due to the very arcane rules of football. As seen on TV-news, PSG stars scored at least a dozen goals, or two goals from six different camera angles. Bordeaux playersapres le bal seemed to score none, so being credited with two was in itself a considerable feat.

The PSG victory came only three days after the capital's only football club made its final decision to make the antique and tiny Parc des Princes its home turf; rejecting the prestige and seating capacity of the brand-new World Cup stadium.

From what I can understand, PSG is only in 5th place in the French national league standings, but through some ultra complicated scheme of goal scoring, has managed to advance itself to the UEFA European Cup competition - by beating Bordeaux on points.

In one paragraph, out of a two-page report, Le Parisien admits that Bordeaux was 'trés performant' at the beginning of the match. A following page has a bit more from Bordeaux - but - PSG faces Olympic Marseille on Wednesday.

Sunday Afternoon At Wembly Stadium

France's other football team, this time playing rugby in the Five Nations Tournament, wiped out Wales with a score of 51 to zero, in front of 75,000 spectators - few of whom were rooting for the home team as it was not playing.

This victory amounted to a 'Grand Chelem' - plural: Grands Chelems - pronounced, Grand Slam; for the second year running for the French team. They would rather have won it in the Parc des Princes, but they are happy enough.

Now all they have to do is beat Australia, South Africa and New Zealand - before they can call it a year.

Sunday Morning Marathon in Paris

It was cold and windy when 22,000 runners left the starting on the Champs-Elysées and two hours, nine minutes and thirty-seven seconds later Kenyan Jackson Kabiga crossed the finish line, to beat the old record for the 42.195-metre course.

Nicole Caroll, an Australian, was the first lady to cross the line and she did so after 2 hours, 27 minutes and six seconds. If ranked with the men, she would have come in 46th overall. As far as I can make out, Metropole's runner was not one of the top 100 finishers, and it is not exactly certain he took part in the race.

With only one page devoted to this event, Le Parisien's coverage verges on the skimpy. Many of the participants came from afar for the 22nd running of the annual event, and the highest 'French' finisher was Guennani of Morocco, who trains with Créteil. He came in 4th. The top French-French runner, Monciaux, captured the 14th place.

The World Cup SportsBar Now Open Forever

Seven mornings a week real SportsFans gather at the SportsBar, known as the Football Café to discuss the any points of the previous evening's game of foots and balls, without getting too 'Brazil-Brazil' about it. If the game was cancelled on account of rain, SportsFans do not talk about anything; not even the weather.

Less uplifting are the 'official' Web sites: represented by the FIFA - which stands for Federation International - and the French Organizing Committee, known to all far and wide as the CFO. I don't what the initials stand for, just like RATP does not sound like métro to me.

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