The Shmooze

Document Shows Philippe Petain's Influence on Anti-Semitic Policies

By Josh Tapper

  • Print
  • Share Share

Little had been known about French collaborationist leader Philippe Pétain’s influence on anti-Semitic policies in Vichy France, where he governed from 1940 to 1944.

But according to The Guardian, a draft of a memo, recently revealed to the Holocaust Memorial in Paris, shows Pétain went to great efforts to extend the brutal treatment of French Jews already imposed by the Nazis.

The statute on Jews, passed in October 1940 shortly after Nazi occupation, eliminated foreign Jewish investment in France and generally excluded them from society. At the time, the statute did not extend to French-born Jews, who were nominally protected as citizens.

The memo shows this proviso was crossed out and handwriting on the document, which experts claim belongs to Pétain, calls for an extension of the statute, prohibiting Jewish participation in public sector jobs.

“The statue on Jews was a statute that was adopted without pressure from the Germans, without the request of the Germans: an indigenous statute,” said Serge Klarsfeld, a French lawyer and Holocaust historian. “And now we have decisive evidence that it was desire of Marshal Pétain himself.”

The document all but debunks the long-standing argument that Pétain was a friend to French Jews, in spite of the fact Vichy helped deport nearly 80,000 Jews to concentration camps until 1944.

“When you see documents like this showing Pétain and his colleagues had already adopted a clear and harsh anti-Semitic outlook beforehand,” Klarsfeld told TIME, “it isn’t surprising that Vichy provided the police that were needed to round up and deport French Jews when the Nazis requested them.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Philippe Petain, Nazi, Memo, France, Jews, Document, Vichy

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.