Vichy and the Jews : the example of Marseille, 1939-1944 / by Donna F. Ryan.
The recent work of Michael Marrus and Robert Paxton concerning high level Vichy policy towards Jews has sparked an important historical controversy about French culpability in the Final Solution. This dissertation is a regional study of the enforcement of antisemitic and xenophobic Vichy legislation in Marseille, emphasizing the years 1940-1942, when departmental authorities were essentially free from German coercion in matters of internal policy. It utilizes important departmental archives that have been closed until now, as well as French, German, Jewish, and American documents which have been available in Europe and the United States. Local police records, the declarations for the Jewish census of 1941, the archives of the regional office of the Commissariat-General aux Questions Juives, and the dossiers of inmates detained at the Les Milles internment camp all point to a single conclusion: Vichy anti-Jewish laws were enforced in Marseille. Although French officials did not intend to kill Jews, they consented to identify all Jews, intern foreign Jews, and impoverish French Jews by excluding them from their professions and seizing their property. Local police and other municipal authorities rounded Jews up and handed them over to the Nazis in 1942 and 1943. Without French assistance, German manpower in Marseille would never have been able to deport more than 6,000 Jews from the city to the death camps of Eastern Europe. The picture is not totally bleak, however. There were courageous Marseillais and foreign-based relief organizations that tried to protect Jews or help them leave France. Often their efforts were thwarted by departmental officials and foreign government unwilling to admit Jewish refugees. From no quarter was there any systematic opposition to early Vichy policy. By the time the significance of Vichy measures was understood, following the deportations of 1942, Jews had already been identified and incapacitated by departmental personnel. In Marseille, French policy facilitated rather than obstructed the courses of the Final Solution.
- Variant Title
- Vichy France and the Jews : the example of Marseille, 1940-45
Record last modified: 2018-05-22 11:46:00
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