Pétain's role on the status of Jews in France

Pétain's role on the status of Jews in France


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From October 1940, the France of gingham diet adopts on its own initiative a series of laws on the status of Jews. Produced by lawyer Serge Klarsfeld, an original document from the French State establishing a status of the Jewss in October 1940, annotated by the hand of Marshal Pétain, who hardened these measures, has just been discovered. Authenticated, this document puts an end to the myth of an old patriarch, a passive actor in this anti-Semitic policy ...

From the defeat of 1940 to anti-Semitic laws

The defeat of June 1940 allowed many anti-Semites to come to power, leading to the establishment of a genuine state policy against the Jews. In fact, the existence of a strong anti-Semitic current, in particular within the French extreme right, gives the racial policy followed by the Vichy government a specific color. This is not simply a response to pressure from the German authorities, but the establishment of a proper system, based on anti-Semitic theories developed since the end of the 19th century. The anti-Semitism displayed by the men of the National Revolution is, in fact, an anti-Semitism with traditional values, which claims Catholicism and nationalism. In order to restore “France to the French”, he intends to put in place discriminatory measures and encourage the departure of foreign Jews.

Also, on October 4, 1940, even before the Germans requested it, the Vichy government promulgated anti-Semitic legislation. By the law of October 4, prefects have the right to house or intern in camps foreign Jews. Likewise, the Crémieux decree, which granted French nationality to the Jews of Algeria in 1870, was repealed on October 7.

Pétain's role

As far as French Jews are concerned, the statute of October 3 denies them access to most administrative offices. They are thus excluded from the army, except if they were ex-combatants, from the public service, the judiciary, elective functions, as well as from the press, publishing, cinema, theater and radio. . In addition, a numerus clausus limits their ability to access university (3%) and most liberal professions (2%), such as medicine. In addition, this status is based on a definition of a Jew which, unlike Nazi legislation, does not take into account religious criteria, but on the contrary racial criteria. According to Article I, "A person who has three Jewish grandparents or two grandparents of the same race is considered to be a Jew, if his or her spouse is Jewish. "

The role of Marshal Pétain in this anti-Semitic policy has long been the subject of controversy. The discovery of a draft annotated by the hand of the Marshal with the project of establishing a statute for Jews in France leaves little room for doubt. "This document cancels the image of a Pétain who did not participate in anti-Semitism. We knew that he tolerated anti-Semitism in his entourage, that he was" indifferent "to the fate of the Jews ... But this document upsets this interpretation. He passes from the status of the passive actor to the real actor. He would even have gone further than his colleagues ... ".

See as well

- reactions to this discovery on the Mediapart site.


Video: Frances Fighting Jews