Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said the city must remove the names of Nazi collaborators Henri Philippe Pétain and Pierre Laval from the Canyon of Heroes — almost 100 years after they were honored with a ticker-tape parade.
“There are difficult calls here on the Canyon of Heroes and the question of reconsidering modern monuments in general, but all of us should agree that Nazi collaborators are simply beyond the pale,” Levine, who is Jewish, told The Post.
Pétain and Laval fell into international disgrace after they collaborated with the Third Reich in sending thousands of Jews to their deaths while respectively serving as the top leader and prime minister of Vichy France following the 1941 German conquest.
Laval, the French prime minister at the time of his Oct. 22, 1931 parade, was executed for his crimes in 1945 while Pétain died in prison in 1951 twenty years after his own ticker tape held just four days after that given to his future fellow fascist-loving Frenchman.
Their ignominious falls were particularly rough for Pétain, a man admired worldwide as “The Lion of Verdun” who stopped the Germans from overpowering allied forces in a key 1916 battle of the First World War.
Despite their roles in one of the biggest crimes in human history, New York City enshrined their names into the Broadway sidewalk two decades ago alongside a long list of military heroes, politicians, sports idols and others honored with parades declared by mayors.
“You might assume that names were added throughout the last century,” Levine said of the names etched onto the Broadway sidewalk. “This is a fairly recent development.”
History has hardly been kind to some of the people once honored by New Yorkers such as former South Vietnam strongman Ngo Dinh Diem, who was honored on Broadway six years before dying in a 1963 military coup backed by the United States.
But the crimes of Pétain and Laval are on a whole other level, according to Levine, who will champion their removal at a Friday press conference in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
He said he will formally detail his objections to their continued presence in a letter to the City Design Commission, which has the ultimate say on whether the disgraced Frenchmen will become the first people to ever have their names removed from the sidewalk.
While former Mayor Bill de Blasio tried and failed to remove their names, Levine expressed confidence that he can succeed given the role Pétain and Laval played in helping the Nazi regime in killing roughly 6 million Jews during WWII alongside millions of other groups victimized in the Holocaust like disabled people, the Roma, Slavs, prisoners of war and others.
Discussions can be held in the future on potentially removing other controversial figures from the Canyon of Heroes, but why not start with two Nazi collaborators tried and convicted by their own country long ago, Levine argues, though French pols have struggled at times with the Pétain legacy considering his WWI heroics.
“They were active participants in a Nazi regime, in Europe in a country that persecuted and caused the deaths of countless students,” he said.