The excerpts below–about the fate of France’s Jews during the Nazi occupation–are from Occupation: The Ordeal of France 1940-1944, by Ian Ousby.
Compare the Nazi strategy against French Jews to Trump’s deportation plans for American undocumented workers and his bizarre claims about refugees. Steve Bannon did his awful homework, didn’t he?
Is this what America will become under Trump’s demagoguery?
I’ve bolded a few things. Chilling.
Many [French] people, perhaps even most people, were indifferent [to the fate of France’s Jews]. In the autumn of 1940 they had other things to think about; later they could find little room for fellow-feeling or concern for the public good in their own struggle to survive. What happened to the Jews was a secondary matter; it was beyond their immediate affairs, it belonged to that realm of the ‘political’ which they could no longer control or even bring themselves to follow with much interest. And when they did pay attention, they were inclined to agree with the measures Vichy and the occupiers had taken, even to welcome them, since the measures satisfied the taste for finding scapegoats which the humiliation of defeat had left…
Whatever else people thought about Jews, they believed that there were a lot of them and that their numbers were mostly made up of recently arrived immigrants. Historians now estimate that France in fact had a population of somewhere between 300,000 and 350,000 Jews in 1939…The Reich began by assuming a figure of 800,000, while the Wannsee Conference which committed it to the Final Solution in January 1942, put the surviving number of Jews in France…at a grotesquely exaggerated 865,000.
In particular, the French joined the Reich in a wildly distorted belief that the overwhelming majority of Jews in France were recent arrivals, and they allowed their stereotype of the immigrant to dictate their stereotype of the Jew…
Yet behind most, if not all, of these attacks lay much deeper, traditional suspicions of the immigrant which have always been the obverse face of French national pride…In time of peace, the Juifs usurped jobs and houses from the native French...During the Occupation, they were convenient sacrificial victims to offer up to the occupiers–at least, so long as nobody bothered to ask or to spell out exactly what fate the victims might eventually meet. The Juifs did not belong to the France it was sworn to protect, said Vichy. And good riddance to them, added its supporters.
In such a spirit did France open the door to persecution.