HISTORY OF MODERN FRANCE
The Third French Republic 1870-1940. Part 10
16 February 2022
The Persecution of Jews in Vichy France. Part 1: Prelude, 1939-1942
with Chris Boïcos
About 330 000 Jews, French and foreign, lived in France in 1940. 75 721 were arrested and deported to Poland between 1942 and 1944. Of these only 2 566 survived and made it back from the death camps. Close to 3000 died in various camps in France before they could be deported abroad. The rest fled, as best they could, abroad or into the “zone libre” in the south, or hid within France until the liberation of the country in 1944.
Our first lecture will follow the chronology of this Jewish history in France from the outbreak of war in September 1939, when German and Central European Jews were among those arrested as enemy aliens, to the promulgation of the first anti-Jewish laws under Marshall Petain in October 1940, to the eve of the greatest round-up of the war, the infamous “Rafle du Vel’d’Hiv” which took place in Paris on 16-17 July 1942. In both lectures we will also evoke the individual stories of some of the historical figures of the time, including Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, Marc Bloch, the Rothchild family, Gertrude Stein, Max Jacob, Serge Klarsfeld and more.
Felix Nussbaum, Self-Portrait in the Camp (Saint-Cyprien), 1940