Montreal mayor pledges to rename street, park honoring Nazi sympathizer

Marcy Oster

MONTREAL (JTA)— Montreal’s mayor pledged to rename a street and a park that honor a Nazi sympathizer who won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1912.

Alexis Carrel, a French biologist and surgeon who died in 1944, earned fame for pioneering a new technique in vascular surgery.

But he was also an avowed eugenicist who in 1936 praised Adolf Hitler’s racial policies, supported the Nazi-controlled Vichy regime in France and advocated for the state’s elimination of “undesirables.” Eugenics is a social philosophy that aims to “improve” human genetic traits.

Mayor Denis Coderre’s promise to act came after Quebec legislator David Birnbaum called on the province’s municipalities to eliminate street signs or other spaces bearing Carrel’s name before Holocaust Memorial Day on May 4.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs has supported the initiative.

Two other Quebec municipalities have streets named for Carrel.

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