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Oral history interview with David Douvette

Oral History | Accession Number: 2014.542.29 | RG Number: RG-50.812.0029

David Douvette, who was born in May 1944 and is a historian with a focus on World War II, discusses antisemitism in France; the Jewish population before the war; the differences between the French-born and foreign-born Jews; the rise of Philippe Pétain as a leader of the Vichy government; the initial belief by the French-born Jews that the emerging Vichy anti-Jewish decrees and rhetoric were aimed at the immigrant Jews and not at them; the draconian restrictions; the Vichy government decision to deport Jewish children under age 15; the Vel d'Hiv roundup in July 1942, after which organizations began to mobilize to save the children from being deported by putting them in children’s homes and other institutions; the OSE (OEuvre de secours aux enfants), including its origins, internal politics, and work to save the Jewish children; how the OSE picked the Creuse department as one of several to remove the endangered Jewish children out of Paris and into children’s homes; the legal framework of these institutions and the legal status of the children who were registered as Jews at the local government office; how Creuse was a region with republican, humanist, democratic foundations and the people there were committed to their neighbors and their country; the role and character of Félix Chevrier, director of the Château de Chabannes; Douvette’s historical perspective which leads him to believe that the French government did very little to help the Jews and a minimal number of French civilians courageously intervened at the local level; how the Catholic Church converted many of the Jewish children they saved and others demanded money to seek escape routes; and his thoughts on the French school system, which he believes failed to adequately program discussions on the French role in the war for many years following the war.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
David Douvette
Lisa Gossels
Dean Wetherell
Documentary films.
4 videocasettes (Betacam SP) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Lisa Gossels and Dean Wetherell
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:38:06
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