Review: The Survival of the Jews in France, 1940-1944

The Survival of the Jews in France, 1940-44 (Oxford Press)In his new book The Survival of the Jews in France, 1940-44 (Oxford Press), Jacques Semelin, professor emeritus of history and political science at the Paris Institute of Political Science, focuses on a frequently overlooked statistic: 240,000 of the 320,000 Jews living in France in 1940 survived the war within that nation’s borders. After the French armed forces and national government quickly collapsed when Nazi Germany invaded in May 1940, the conquerors divided France into a German-occupied area in the north and a pro-Nazi Vichy regime, the “Free Zone,” in the south. In both regions, French police and gendarmes were zealous in rounding up Jews for deportation “to the East,” a euphemism for German death camps.

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