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!
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • 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.