Wednesday, March 16, 2016

It can't happen here

Speaking out against the “Jewish threat” to France was not new, nor was it the preserve of extremists of the Far Right.  In 1939, shortly before he took over as head of the CI,the French state news and information service, Jean Giraudoux wrote: “Hundreds of thousands of Ashkenazi Jews who have escaped from the ghettos of Poland and Romania have arrived here.”  He went on to accuse “those hordes” of undercutting the wages of French workers, of not integrating, of being involved in illegal and corrupt dealings and, because of their poor health, of filling up the hospitals. [footnote omitted]  This widespread perception that France had been “invaded” by poor, desperate, Yiddish-speaking immigrants who would “swamp French culture” says more about the power of the media to play on people's fears than it does about the reality.  It has been estimated that between 1933 and 1939 only about 55,000 Jews of all nationalities arrived in France; . . .

– D. Drake, Paris at War at 130.

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