The Jews of France and the Statutes on Jews, 1940-1941
This research article investigates the reactions of French Jewish communal leaders after the promulgation of the first statute on Jews (October 1940) by the Vichy government and the emergence of the antisemitic campaign in the press. The strategy of the Central Consistory was based on the conviction that the Germans imposed the statute on the French authorities. This assertion was that the misconception was sustained in order to safeguard the idea of the integration of the Jews in French society. Jewish leaders maintained cordial personal relations with French officials. They sent frequent protests against discrimination while adopting a legalistic position of obedience and loyalty. Consistory authorities made great efforts to refute antisemitic allegations in the press and to amend the anti-Jewish legislation by emphasizing the wrong done to France by the terms of the statute. It is noted that concern for legality and the need to adapt to the new situation typified not only the Jewish leaders but a large proportion of Jewish public opinion in 1940/41.