Vichy France and the Jews


By Dr Julian Jackson, published 1st March 1999

Dr Julian Jackson examines the position and treatment of Jews in Occupied France. When in 1945 France came to try those who had ‘collaborated’ during the war, the fate of the Jews was not central. It was even possible for Xavier Vallat, Vichy’s Commissioner for Jewish Affairs, to defend himself against the accusation of collaboration by arguing that he had not acted at the bidding of the Germans, since his own anti-Semitism was authentically French and ‘inspired by the teaching of the Church’. That it was conceivable to offer anti- Semitism as a defence is striking evidence of the degree to which in 1945 anti-Semitism was viewed as less important than the crime of collaboration.

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