Volume 1
Issue #2
Sept. 1997
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ONLINE MAGAZINE FOR POST-HOLOCAUST ISSUES
ALEXANDER KIMEL - HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR
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GENERAL - INDEX

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WHAT'S NEW?
REMEMBRANCE
Remebr. Day
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Inferno
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The Shtejtl
World Collapses
The Russians.
Shtejtl survives
First Kaddish.
Out of the Grave
Yom Kippur Action
The Baby
Bunker Building
Bunker Collapses
I Almost Killed ...
Ghetto Escape
In Hiding
The Liberation.
UNDERSTANDING
The Killings
Why Jews?
Organizers
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War against Jews
Anti-Semitism
Victims of Antisem
The Worst Camp
HLC. EDUCATION
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Nazi Methods
Hitler - Syphilitic
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Hitler & Jews
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Himmler
Heydrich
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Jewish Resistance
Church Silence
Nazi Revolution
Jews Abandoned
HLC PREVENTION
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Jews & Germans
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Other Victims
Schindler.
Courageous Christians
Other Genocides
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The Last Sermon
The Jumper
Lovers and Enemies
Shlojme the Balagule
The Fall of Sevastopol
MISCELLANEOUS
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The Verdict MAGAZINE
Vol.1 - Issue #1
   

BYSTANDERS - FRANCE

by ALEXANDER KIMEL

France fell to the Germans in 1940, the Germans occupied part of France and in the un-occupied part the Germans installed a puppet government, the Vichy Government, with the hero of France Marshal Petain as its president. In order to gain favor with the Germans the Vichy Government adopted voluntarily indigenous anti-Semitic policies; it set up concentration camps for the "foreign" Jews, it proceeded with the "aryanization" of Jewish properties, dismissed Jews from government service, excluding them from professional life, etc. The conditions in the French concentration camps were not better than in the German Concentration camps.

The Vichy regime, enjoying popular support, adopted anti-Semitic policies, to use Jews as scapegoats for the saving of the French national honor - they were blamed for the defeat of the 1940. The Vichy regime linked national revival with anti-Semitism; Jews were officially blamed for all ills of the society, from high prices to food shortages. When the Final Solution began, the Vichy government volunteered to round up and hand over to the Germans all the foreign Jews from the Un-occupied Zone of France. The anti-Semitic policies of the Vichy government, the identification of the Jews, stamping of the ID and the ration cards with the word Juife (Jew), the internment of Jews, the extensive use of French police in roundups, helped the Nazis in the Final Solution.

As the atrocities of the Germans became known, the scenes from the deportations moved the conscience of the French people, limiting the vigor of the French help. This change was brought about by the openly condemnation of the German bestialities by the French clergy.

First to raise his voice in the defense of the Jews was Monsingnor Jules-Gerard Saliege, the partly paralysed arch-bishop of Tolouse:

That children, that women, fathers and mothers be treated like cattle, that memebers of a family be separated from one another and dispatched to an unknown destiantion, it has been reserved for our own times to see such a sad spectacle. ....the Jews are real men and women. Foreigners are real men and women. . . Theyt are a part of the human species. Theyare our brothers like so many others.

The pastoral letter issued by the bishop of Montauban was no less resounding:

I give voice to the outraged protest of Christian conscience, and I proclaim that all men, Aryans or no-Aryans, are brothers,because created by the same God; tha all men, whever their race or religion, have the right to be respected by individuals and by states.

France was one of the countries controlled by the Germans at the early stages of war, but it had a high level of democratic tradition of Liberte, Fraternity and Egalite. In France about 75000 Jews perished out of a population of 350,000, about 70% survived. Many factors contributed to the relatively high survival rate, the most important factor was the attitude of the silent majority, who made it difficult of the Germans to identify and catch the Jews. Even the local police cooperated only reluctantly with the Germans, Jews were provided with false identification papers, given shelter and moral support. Jews also participated massively in the resistance and at the beginning stages about 33% of the resistance fighters were Jewish.


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