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Books Year : 2018

The Survival of the Jews in France 1940-44

Jacques Sémelin
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Between the French defeat in 1940 and liberation in 1944, the Nazis killed almost 80,000 of France’s Jews, both French and foreign. Since that time, this tragedy has been well-documented. But there are other stories hidden within it–ones neglected by historians. In fact, 75% of France’s Jews escaped the extermination, while 45% of the Jews of Belgium perished, and in the Netherlands only 20% survived. The Nazis were determined to destroy the Jews across Europe, and the Vichy regime collaborated in their deportation from France. So what is the meaning of this French exception? Jacques Semelin sheds light on this ‘French enigma’, painting a radically unfamiliar view of occupied France. His is a rich, even-handed portrait of a complex and changing society, one where helping and informing on one’s neighbours went hand in hand; and where small gestures of solidarity sat comfortably with anti-Semitism. Without shying away from the horror of the Holocaust’s crimes, this seminal work adds a fresh perspective to our history of the Second World War.
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Dates and versions

hal-01947764 , version 1 (07-12-2018)



Jacques Sémelin (Dir.). The Survival of the Jews in France 1940-44. Hurst & Company, pp.356, 2018, 9781787380141. ⟨hal-01947764⟩
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