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Yehuda Bauer: My Brother's Keeper

A History of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 1929-1939

[Holocaust preparations in Europe and resistance without solution of the situation]

The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia 1974

Transcription with subtitles by Michael Palomino (2007)



Chapter 6. The Beginning of the End
[H. Reactions abroad to the Reichskristallnacht / crystal night and to the split of CSSR]

[6.20. France's harsh anti-Semitic policy after Reichskristallnacht 1938-1939 with prison and concentration camps]

[France: Central Refugee Committee set up (Comité Central de Réfugiés)]

In France the shock of November produced a much greater readiness among local Jewry to come to the aid of refugees. A new central coordinating committee (Comité Central de Réfugiés) was set up under Robert de Rothschild. They approached the government and demanded the acceptance of 10,000 Jewish children (as in England);

[Anti-semitic France: The law against refugees from May 1938 is not abolished]

the committee also asked, in vain, for the abolition of the May 1938 decree against refugees. Although they were not crowned with much success, in these actions French Jewry at last was showing "greater energy and devotion than before".

(End note 107:
-- Hyman at Executive Committee, 3/22/39; see also:
-- Executive Committee, 1/26/39 [26 January 1939])

[Anti-semitic France: Jewish Refugees are handed over to Switzerland - and CH hands them over to the Gestapo]

Government reaction was not favorable. Refugees crossing illegally from Germany into Alsace were pushed over the border to Switzerland and then deported to Germany.

OSE, with its three homes for 185 children (there was no money for more homes), was saddled with 100s of refugee children "without their parents or with parents imprisoned for failing to obey expulsion orders. ... Most of them were between the ages of five and ten."

(End note 108: R59, Troper letter, 5/16/39 [16 May 1939])

[End 1939: Anti-semitic France: 25,000 Jewish refugees - with 2,000 from Ex-CSSR]
The number of refugees at the end of 1938 was 25,000, including 2,000 who came from Czechoslovakia in March 1939.

[Help by the Comité d'Assistance aux Réfugiés (CAR)]

The main burden of supporting these desperate people fell to the (p.264)

Comité d'Assistance aux Réfugiés (CAR) - founded in 1936 - under Albert Levy and Robert de Rothschild. In early 1939 it supported 10,378 persons.

[Anti-semitic France: Prison up to one year for Jewish refugees - only little vocational training]

Persecution - there is no other word for it - by the French authorities reached new heights; refugees were arrested for periods up to one year, and "many who have undergone this punishment have been expelled."

(End note 109: R46, January 1939 report)

Work permits were almost impossible to get, and vocational retraining did not touch more than a fraction of the people: in January 1939 the Reclassement Professionel, a French Jewish agency, was training 224 persons, and ORT was training 476.

(End note 110: Ibid. [R46, January 1939 report])

In 1939, 13,500 Jews are estimated to have emigrated into France.

(End note 111: R21, draft 1939 report)

With the growing hostility of the French government to Jewish refugees, there was a meeting in June 1939 between the main agencies dealing with the problem - JDC, the Alliance Israélite Universelle, other French committees, and the World Jewish Congress. The main problem that was discussed was whether to start a public campaign in France to air the issue. The majority of those present, including Troper for JDC, were against such a course; it was still felt that the best way to approach the problem would be through quiet diplomacy. Dr. Goldmann for WJC and Marc Jarblum for the Fédération des Sociétés Juives, who demanded a public campaign, were in the minority.

(End note 112: 15-2, meeting in Paris, 6/4/39 [4 June 1939])

JDC rejected the notion that the issue of Jewish suffering should be aired in public so as to make it a political issue. On the other hand, JDC continued to aid French organizations, and especially CAR [Comité d'Assistance aux Réfugiés], to an ever-increasing degree. France was, after all, the main land of immigration on the European continent. And despite the fact that JDC was highly critical of French Jewry for the small sums being collected in France, it poured as much money as it could into France in order to be of as much help as possible. In 1938, $ 130,884 was spent in France, and in 1939, $ 589,000.

(End note 113:
-- R12;
-- R21, report for 1938 and 1939)

[Supplement: The French Jewry with it's Rothschild bank was one of the richest of the whole world. It's a scandal that the rich French Jewry practically did not help to the refugees, neither with shelter nor with financing any further emigration. This ist the proof for harsh racism within worldwide Jewry].