In This Review

Vichy France and the Jews

Vichy France and the Jews
By Michael R. Marrus and Robert O. Paxton
432 pp, Basic Books, 1981
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The most thorough, judicious, and disturbing account of French initiatives, indigenous and voluntary, in the anti-Semitic measures of the war years, beginning in 1940. In a climate of defeat and hardship, French public opinion at first supported autonomous xenophobia and anti-Semitism, in part because of antecedent resentment against foreign, many of them Jewish, refugees in the 1930s: "Wide segments of opinion and a good part of the bureaucracy went along, covered by deeply ingrained habits of antipathy, by obsession with private griefs and woes, or by administrative routine." Vichy's later, partial complicity with the German policy of deportation and extermination encountered some resistance. Two uniquely qualified historians have written a definitive work.