‘Nobody is Protected from Deportation’: The Free French in London on the Persecution of the Jews

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The various shades of propaganda broadcast over the BBC by the Free French–silence, discretion, revelations, denunciations–do not fully reflect policy, but they do lay bare the dominant cultural codes of a society, inasmuch as they constituted a bridge between those who represented themselves as the legitimate government of occupied France and the French people who listened to the voice of France broadcasting from London. Throughout the war the representatives of Free France, in total harmony with the directives they were receiving from the Political War Executive, systematically avoided singling out the fate of the Jews. The fear of appearing to be the agents of a ‘Jewish war’ certainly played a key role in this strategy, but everyone was well aware in London that for the vast majority of the French population, France had a ‘Jewish problem’. Such had been the consensus on the eve of the war, and the onset of hostilities had not dispelled the idea that the Jews were too powerful and played a disproportionate role in French society. This consensus explains why the Free French broadcasting from London were so discreet on the persecution of Jews and why their deportation from France was always presented as a prelude to the deportation of French workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-188
Number of pages26
JournalHolocaust Studies
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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