Faculty - Other

Hidden Voices

SANDY FLITTERMAN-LEWIS

          

 
“ The basis of Jewish social life is the family, and the Talmud is ever watchful to conserve [its] stability.  Recognizing the all-important place which woman occupies in the life of the family, it accords her a most dignified position.  Especially when her lot among the other contemporary peoples is taken into account, the honor paid to woman by the Talmud offers a striking contrast.  In no way is she looked upon as a being inferior to man.  Her sphere of activity is different from man’s, but of no less significance to the welfare of the community.”

                                                                -- (1949)

“Jakubowicz, speaking for the plaintiffs [in the trial of Frenchman Paul Touvier for crimes against humanity], carefully enumerated the activities a Jew could not fully engage in, the relaxation he could not enjoy, the places he could not go, the things he could not own.  Forbidden were the metros, the cinemas, schools, public functions, the army, sports competitions, camping, [restaurants, cafés, libraries, museums, public parks, even phone booths], and so on.  The lawyer insisted that all the heartaches and humiliations be named and that the jury members and the court learn, or remember, that Jewish children could not play freely in the public squares with other children.  That they were forbidden to get dirty in the same sandpile or laugh at the same puppets.”   

-- 29 March 1994

 

“But if the trials [of Vichy officials] do not take place, research and education will accomplish the task of the courts, especially since so many French historians are now working on the Vichy period.  Thus progress will be made and new questions will be asked.  History is never finished.

                                                                             --Robert Paxton, to Annette Lévy-Willard, 16 July 1992

 

“A few more voices, a few more stories, and this oral history of the Holocaust will end, leaving the world with the memory of all the courageous old men and women who have come to Lyon on an impossible pilgrimage.  They will soon die.  But their memory will remain, and their voices will echo from generation to generation... .”                                                                             

  - Annette Kahn, June 5, 1987, (1991)  

 

                Early one spring morning in 1944--April 6, to be exact--as the mountain streams were beginning their life-affirming thaw, forty-five children sat down to breakfast at  La Maison d’Izieu, their temporary home situated in a tiny village in the hills overlooking the valley of the Rhône.  An important day in the Christian calendar, this Maundy Thursday’s commemoration of Christ’s Last Supper went unnoticed amid the laughter and chatter and clanking of porringers, for these were Jewish children whose families had sought their safe haven in the embracing protection of French provincial life.  That particular morning, the founder and director of the children’s colony, Sabine Zlatin (otherwise known as “la Dame d’Izieu”) was visiting Montpellier in search of less compromised shelter for her little charges, as the local Gestapo had recently turned more threatening.

       Later that day, or more precisely at 8:10 in the evening, Klaus Barbie, chief of the Gestapo in Lyon, telexed the Commander of the Security Police and Security Service for France (to the attention of the Office for Jewish Affairs): ”This morning the Jewish children’s home ‘colonie enfant’ in Izieu, Ain was cleaned out....Neither cash nor other valuables could be secured.  Transport to Drancy to follow on 4/7/44.”  The tiny subjects of this housecleaning ranged in age from five to seventeen, with over half of them between the ages of ten and thirteen.  In one of history’s most ironic little details, the one non-Jewish child in the group was released to his cousin, only to remain in adulthood forever perplexed as to the reason for his freedom.   Of the eight counsellors who were with the children that day (including Miron Zlatin, Sabine’s husband), only one escaped--Léon Reifman, a medical student on staff at Izieu (who, when sought by the forced labor authorities, was succeeded by his sister Judith, a doctor).  A providential leap from a second-story window enabled him to witness the children’s last moments in the home, to become a medical doctor himself, and to testify as an associate plaintiff on behalf of his family at the 1987 trial of Klaus Barbie in Lyon.  Only one person taken in the raid survived; thus it was that twenty-six year-old Léa Feldblum returned to tell the world how the children, who were last seen on the departing trucks singing at the top of their
lungs, “Vous n’aurez pas l’Alsace et la Lorraine,” all perished in Auschwitz. 

                 This event, which has become the notorious symbol of Occupation France’s “War Against Children,” is bracketted by two equally horrific instances of organized infanticide.  The first, a mere six months after Wansee, where the Final Solution was determined and implemented, is referred to simply as the Vel d’Hiv, shorthand for the Winter Cycling Stadium (le Vélodrome d’Hiver) where nearly 13,000 Jewish men, women, and children (the latter two comprising the bulk of the captives) were held for days after having been rounded up from their homes, hiding places, and streets of Paris on July 16 and 17, 1942 in what was referred to by its French coordinators as “Operation Spring Wind,” and later, by historians, as the “Massacre of the Innocents.”  All but a scant 200 perished either on the site, at the French transit camp at Drancy, or in the inevitable deportations to Auschwitz.  The third instance occurred just as Paris was about to be liberated when, between July 21 and 31, 1944, SS Hauptsturmfuhrer Alois Brunner rounded up 250 Jewish children from hospitals, youth homes, and orphanages and sent them to be tortured and murdered in the east; imminent defeat did not diminish a savage lust for annihilation.

                How is it, then, that while 75% of France’s Jews survived the war, a chillingly resounding silence met the daily brutal eradication of almost twelve thousand French children whose only crime was that they were Jewish?  One way to understand this acquiescence is to analyze the formation of public consciousnes, the realm of values and beliefs that historically define a culture.  A look at the popular culture of the time, particularly the cinema, can shed some light on the paradoxes and confusions of national identity that enabled (at the very least) an atmosphere of indifference to the situation of French Jews during the Occupation.  A potent mix of xenophobia, racism, misogyny and antisemitism roiled just beneath the surface of this exemplary modern democracy, waiting for the perfect circumstantial trigger to explode the unifying myth of French citizenship into the complexities and ambiguities that had quietly complicated it for 150 years. Pierre Laborie’s concept of “collective everyday thinking” is useful here;  the ordinary daily experience of individuals combines with deep-rooted forms of unconscious and ideological symbolization to produce the lived relations in which activities are performed, events are responded to, and actions understood.

                Jewish women and children experienced these contradictions the most, often living at odds with the official discourses of French social life while nevertheless attempting to carve out a viable Jewish identity that was compatible with the surrounding culture.   Thus behind the public image of an unproblematic national persona lie the hidden discourses of the domestic, the familial, and the maternal as well as the symbolic systems and representations that form the texture of daily life, culture, history, and collective memory.  In this vein, adding a category to the established chronologies of French Occupation Culture (Socio-political events, Arts & Letters, Cinema), that of Jewish family life, has the inevitable effect of highlighting the largely undocumented world of mothers and children, of family life (the practical world of lived traditions), and of emotional challenges at this point of historical crisis. And this, in turn, will produce a better understanding of one of the dominating and most problematic legacies of World War II France--the creation of a social climate (especially regarding children) which was disturbingly hospitable to the Nazi genocide.

 


 

THE SOCIAL PRODUCTION OF EVERYDAY LIFE: LE VOILE BLEU

 

“Before the Jews could be isolated and exterminated, they had to be divested of the human qualities that emancipation and liberalism proclaimed they shared with other members of modern societies. ...The rights of man, however diffuse the concept, were also the rights of Jews, so long as Jews were recognized as men and women.  This is where the logic of the situation demanded that the Jew be dehumanized. ...And the didactic and exemplary process of isolation and dehumanization was able to draw on [a] whole treasury of prejudice and resentment....But then, if the Jew was less than human--and harmfully so, of course: a microbe or a parasite--it was not enough to expel him from society, from this country or that.  One had to rid the world of him.  The logical conclusion of his dehumanization was his extermination.”      

--Eugen Weber, (1991)

 

“The Catholic church, far from calling for [the Nazi genocide] to be forgotten, knows that conscience is constituted by memory and that no society, no individual, can be at peace with himself if his past is repressed or dishonest...The vast majority of church officials, [in an atmosphere of] deep-rooted antisemitism, adhered to an attitude of excessive conformity, caution, and indifference that permitted France to acquiesce to a murderous process. ...They did not realize that they had considerable power and influence, and that given the silence of other institutions, their statement could, through its echo, have formed a barrier to the irreparable....In the face of the persecution of Jews, especially the multi-faceted antisemitic laws passed by Vichy, silence was the rule, and words in favor of the victims the exception.  Today we confess that silence was a mistake.  We beg for the pardon of God and we ask the Jewish people to hear this word of repentance.”  

-- Archbishop Olivier de Berranger of St-Denis (for the Roman Catholic Church of France),
“Declaration of Repentance,” Drancy, 30 September 1997

 

“[Having a specific homeland] will not resolve the problem of Jewish peoplehood in its multiple aspects: human, economic, political and demographic.  There can never be a national territory for all the Jews in the world.  And yet, we must come to terms with this in time, if we really are concerned with creating a ‘Jewish people’ for whom we can assure a free and normal existence.  It’s right to say that in order to create a State and recreate a nation, we must have an ideal, a belief.  But since when have the ideas of freedom, of country, of the happiness of all people, and of children, when has this not had the force of an ideal, of a belief?...Here we must have the courage to see clearly and to think of the future, of eternity.”    

--Lévy-Coblentz,during a discusscion group at Drancy,
quoted by Georges Wellers in (1973/1991)

 

“In contrast to literature, French theater and fiction film [of the time] did not have anything to do with relaying collaborationist ideas, nor did they have a role in disseminating Pétainist ideology.  Film and theater, in their totality, were purely a means of escape.”

 --HenryRousso, (1992)

 

                Released in November of 1942, at the moment that all of France had finally become occupied by the Nazis, the feature film () by Jean Stelli and François Campaux is relatively unknown outside of its contemporary wartime context.  This makes it what film historian Colin Crisp calls a “forgotten film,” that is, a film whose widespread popularity when it was seen and discussed could not prevent it from dropping out of what Crisp refers to as the “common memory,” the official and unofficial histories (both cinematic and general) of France under the German Occupation.   What makes this film paradigmatic for Crisp is the fact that its commercial and critical failure in urban venues contrasts its overwhelming popularity in the provinces, a popularity that allows the mere mention of its title, even today, to immediately evoke expressions of nostalgic reverie.  One need look no further for a practical definition of the “people’s cinema.”

                Dedicated to “those heroic people who love and care for the children of others,” and who, “when they must leave them, love them as if they were their very own,” traces the lifelong vocation of Louise Jarreau (top boxoffice star and “Pétainist Muse” Gaby Morlay) who, having lost her own infant son (relatively soon after losing her husband in the Great War), dedicates her life to the care and nurturing of other people’s children.  While all of the parents are either too preoccupied, too selfish, or too distant, Louise is a maternal angel whose love and generosity provide the fertile soil from which grow  successful, devoted, ethical adults--which is to say, ideal French citizens of Vichy’s New Moral Order.  Redolent with Catholic symbolism, this paean to true Motherhood provided French audiences with two enduring and unquestioned universals--maternal love and childhood innocence--at a time when the social community and material world were filled with anguish.  Traditional interpretations cast this film as a warning against bad parenting (seen as the cause of the devastating defeat of 1940) or as a mindless sob-fest (right-wing critic Lucien Rebatet cynically called its emotional excesses “du cinéma  lacrymogène”), while other readings focus on the purely ideological or globally archetypal underpinnings of this melodrama with a moral dimension.

                French film scholar Jacques Siclier points to this film as an example of the power of popular cinema, in part because of its great catalyzing effect not only on French wartime audiences, but on the very construction of cultural identity itself: “With Gaby Morlay became a national symbol, the feminine figure par excellence in a moral order where motherhood and its spirit of maternal sacrifice and of devotion to the familial hearth were exalted.  Crowds of weeping viewers were drawn to it, and when its postwar exhibition shifted to television, it had exactly the same effect.  of an era, ...was the greatest commercial success of French Occupation cinema.”   Though some dispute the accuracy of this claim, no one disagrees about the film’s vast popular appeal.  It was an extremely moving and avidly discussed expression of unproblematic truth and unblemished virtue in a world that seemed to offer the very opposite each day.  And certainly on the surface of its simple narrative about beneficence, Christian charity and uncomplicated love, there is nothing about which to be suspicious.

                However, if we look at this unequivocally popular film from the perspective of Occupation culture’s “other,” an alternative meaning emerges.  The Jew, and more specifically, Jewish families (with their seasonal and life-cycle celebrations, their emphasis on children’s lives, and their sanctification of the home as a place of worship) are nowhere to be seen in the film’s many images of maternal love and youthful devotion.  Moreover, this screen invisibility is matched by material invisibility in daily life.  According to the statutes designed to isolate them from the rest of French society, Jews were forbidden from all public spaces (movie theaters included) while, in what was left (such as main thoroughfares), their visibility as different was accomplished by the Mogen David designation.  It is my contention that, far more dangerous than the obvious and easily rejected antisemitic stereotypes of a certain kind of propaganda, these promoted a generalized climate of indifference that led easily to tacit acquiescence to genocide.   Thus the lack of access to representation that produced the symbolic denial of Jewish reality on the screen facilitated actual denial of Jewish lives first in French society and then, to more devastating ends, in the Nazi machine.

                is indeed a witness, but it is also a kind of evidence.  It attests to a  particular ideology of Vichy’s National Revolution, that of   in both its lived relations and in its fantasmatic social representations.  The New Order of Marshal Philippe Pétain had replaced France’s traditional democratic values of Freedom, Equality, and Brotherhood with the nostalgic ideals of a heroic, mythical Gallic past, tied to the land and associated with the enduring simplicity of universal verities: Work, Family, Fatherland.  , therefore, is a kind of matrix for understanding antisemitism in France, serving as an excellent example of the way in which a popular (somewhat “artless”) melodrama can convey the national ideology at the deepest unconscious levels of the self, where personal subjectivity and the sense of (social) belonging intersect in the construction of a nation’s “citizens.“  While there has been significant work by historians on more overt propaganda techniques of the Vichy regime, what interests me here is the subtle and invisible production of social attitudes--public images that shape personal action.  Tragically, in the instance of Occupation France, this enabled a significant portion of a modern country--famous for its sophistication, enlightenment, culture and democratic ideals--to tolerate the intolerable, to think the unthinkable, and then finally, to permit the impossible to happen.  Contrary to Henry Rousso’s rather glib assertion, just about any article of popular culture of the time can be seen to “disseminate Pétainist ideology,” but it often does so in a complex and necessarily oblique manner.

                Thus beneath its veil of innocent entertainment, provides a fascinating Rosetta Stone of Occupation culture.  In the guise of purveying the unquestioned universals of unconditional maternal love and childhood affection, the film masks the sinister betrayal of these values by the legislated marginalization, isolation, vilification and eventual annihilation of life.  Therefore, an interpretation of this film through the prism of Jewish children’s experience of the Holocaust, for example, (from novel-memoirs such as Sarah Kofman’s or Renée Roth-Hano’s to fictional reconstructions as in Louis Malle’s or Claude Berri’s to documentaries such as Aviva Slesin’s or Lisa Gossels and Dean Wetherell’s , and testimonies such as Odette Meyers’s or Vivette Samuel’s )  yields a history that counters the official discourses of the French family under the Occupation or Vichy with the truths of lived experience, amplifying the picture of family life in France with the traces of a cultural language almost totally banished by racial hatred.  Central to this complex duality of the family is the opposition between the official Vichy ideal of “authentic” Frenchness and the debased and suspect otherness of the Jew.  Considered, as well, in light of the situation of hidden children (the uniquely horrible and highly specific tragedy experienced by thousands of Jewish families trying to protect their most vulnerable members from certain death), unwittingly highlights the fluid and ambiguous definitions of “self,” “childhood,” “mother,” “family,” and “home,” putting into question--as did the Holocaust itself--the very certainty of identity that these fundamental and sustaining human notions imply.

                The production and release dates of provide crucial support for my reading of the film.  Work on the film began in April of 1942, a scant three months after Wannsee had determined the procedures for eliminating Jews in the occupied territories of the West.  Vichy, apparently anticipating the Nazi strategy of allowing indigenous antisemitism to do the dirty work, had already enacted its first Statutes of the Jews in October of 1940.  This meant, in a very material way, that the audience for the film would be devoid of Jews, as they were forbidden from attending the cinema.  It also explains why the film could be so antisemitic in its message without ever referencing Jewish life on the screen.  And, as previously noted, the film’s release coincided with Germany’s invasion of Pétain’s France, thereby placing the entire country under Nazi rule.  The Nazi’s sense of irony is not absent: the date of the Occupation of the Southern Zone by the Germans and the Italians was November 11, the date of the World War I Armistice, and henceforth a day of remembrance throughout France.  That opens as war-widow Louise gives birth can only be read as a sign of the Great War’s hovering shadow, as unfolding events are bathed in nostalgia for France’s former glory while precise references to the war itself are nonexistent.

                However, the most important date occurs in the middle of the film’s production, for between the start of filming in April and the film’s release in November, the event that marks the turning point in both the assault on Jewish children and the desire to protect them takes place--the Vel d’Hiv raid of July 1942.  This is the first  time that Jewish women and children, instead of their more immediately suspicious counterparts, foreign Jewish men, were rounded up for deportation.  In some cases, men who were forewarned had already hidden and the French police simply took their families.  In other cases the sweep was general enough to include all Jewish persons, regardless of age.  Tiny infants, terrified toddlers and teenagers alike were herded into the living hell of the winter cycling stadium, only to be shoved into trucks and boxcars at a later date.       Thus it is at the exact midpoint of ’s production history that a profound change in French attitudes toward the Jews occurs. Pierre Laborie notes that when people were confronted with the material reality of antisemitism, “[t]he population was shocked.  The sight of convoys, the separations, and especially the fate of the children provoked considerable emotion....This changed significantly the image of the Jew in its dominant representations:  from a guilty and responsible abstraction, the Jew was transformed into a real human being, persecuted and victimized--a victim, among others, of a collaboration hated a little more for this as well.”  Therefore, from this point on, the logic of racial hatred required that the ideological production of French antisemitism become more covert.  And, from our perspective, a film like was forced to adopt strategies of indirection in order to hide its antisemitic implications under a veil of universality and received truths.  In the film, everything is done to neutralize the particularity of each child; they are simply representations of childhood itself, while Louise is the protective maternal arm of Vichy’s La Douce France and its moral authority. 

                The reality, however, for, Jewish  children, did not conform to such lofty abstractions, and it was important that this truth be masked in the film.  Hidden from the popular audience of , therefore, was the fate of virtually thousands of children.  After the Vel d’Hiv raid, every Jewish child, French or foreign, was in danger; beyond the arrest of entire families, random separations of children from their parents became commonplace.    In a chillingly prescient pamphlet in Yiddish, published and distributed in early July, the activist group Solidarité warned of imminent massive detentions: “Do not wait passively in your homes for the arrival of the bandits...Hide, and above all, hide your children, with the help of the non-Jewish population.    From another perspective, and from the distance of history, Judith Elbaz writes a moving preface to her grandmother’s memoir about working with the OSE (Oeuvre de secours aux enfants /Society for Assitance to Children), “I often ask my grandmother whether it was courage or lack of awareness that led her to voluntary internment in the camp of Rivesaltes in 1941 as a nondeclared Jew,...and to the cruel but saving certainty of a single command--at any price separate the children from their parents so that the former might live.” 

                She goes on to consider the fate of these hidden children:  “These were children who had been removed from their families, then collected, then again separated from one another and hidden all over France, and once more separated from their new families.  How did they get accustomed to changing circumstances?  How did they remake themselves with new identities, always, everywhere?”   To make matters even worse, protection and rescue of Jewish children by non-Jews was not always done for the purest motives; there is substantial documentation to support the claim that, in many cases, Jewish children were seen as ideal Vichy subjects, once they had been properly “adopted” or “converted.”  This is borne out in a striking comparison of two book covers for texts written half a century after the war.   Lucien Lazare’s (translated, interestingly, as ) documents specifically Jewish resistance in France, from sheltering children to blowing up trains, in order to show how their task was different--they were concerned with saving as many Jews as possible from annihilation by the Nazis.  The book’s premise, that rescue--a category that includes such activities as smuggling Jews across borders, fabricating false papers, or hiding children--was a genuinely significant way of fighting back, is powerfully illustrated by its cover.  The image is of a group of bundled children, each with belongings in a bag slung over their shoulders, addressing the camera with expressions of youthful bravado that barely hide the apprehension across their faces.  These are the children from the orphanage Beiss Yessoinim in La Varenne Saint-Hilaire, near Paris, leaving in secret in the early hours of March 4, 1943, to be placed with non-Jewish families in the countryside.   

                Maurice Rajsfus’ discusses the role of the Catholic church in the protection of Jewish children, revealing how in many cases the right wing ideology of Pétain’s National Revolution guided the “soul-saving” operations of many of its rescuers: The June 8, 1940 issue of could triumphantly proclaim “We will come to recognize that our victory is that of Jesus’s heart, and that he reigns over every household.”   The cover photograph shows a ragged bunch of children looking up toward the authoritative figure of the priest, hands clasped in prayer, while to the right of the group sits a grandmotherly-looking nun, whose ample lap promises the comfort that these tiny children seem to crave.  It is in this context of the disturbingly powerful contradictions experienced by Jewish children in France that Louise Jarreau’s efforts to nurture neglected children in take on a much more sinister meaning and earn the film its status as cinematic prop not only of Vichy ideology, but of its antisemitic underpinnings as well.  

                The basic plot of this very popular melodrama is fairly simple.  Since the film is not easily available and no subtitled version exists, a short breakdown of the action is necessary.   Louise Jarreau gives birth to a baby boy who dies almost immediately; because her husband has been killed in the Great War, she is left to her own resources.  Since she loves children, work as a governess seems logical.  Her pathway to redemption and canonization leads her to ever more intense relationships with the children in her care until she “adopts” a young boy and has difficulty returning him to his parents (who have found work in Indochina and remained there for a long time).  Her life crumbles, and just when one thinks she can suffer no longer--she has a bad fall and is “saved” by the now adult doctor who had been one of her early charges.  The film’s key moments are those of Catholic rituals, so it is fitting that Louise receive some “new” little ones to care for as the Christmas decorations leave no doubt that she is truly the Madonna of Vichy. 

                Gaby Morlay occupies nearly every frame of the film, making the blue veil that she wears as governess synonymous with a certain conception of Vichy’s eternal feminine.  As Noel Burch and Geneviève Sellier point out, “Nun or ‘lay sister’...this female type renounces all personal happiness in order to restore order to a society marked, according to Catholic traditionalism, by all of the shortcomings of the Third Republic: hedonism, parental irresponsibility, adultery, greed, selfishness, personal ambition, etc. ...More avenging than charitable, the figure of Gaby Morlay fights to restore the values of a temporarily failed patriarchy (due to the Defeat), and brings every one into line by a kind of inflexible meekness.  Incarnation of Judeo-Christian guilt, she arrives at her goal by camouflaging indomitable authority with a deceptive submissiveness.  The nurse’s blue veil or the nun’s white-winged cap, like the cape of the standard-bearer, all render her untouchable: universal mother, having renounced the baseness of an earthly maternity, she corresponds to the Marshall himself, childless, who draws from Verdun his paternal dignity which he extends over all of France.”  Such a powerful figure of moral regeneration most surely stands alone, but for purposes of the narrative she is flanked by two foils, an impetuous diva (Elvire Popesco) who has no time for her adorable young daughter and a pathetically heartsick and ineffectual toystore owner (character actor Larquey), whose efforts to woo Louise must forever remain in the ether of fantasy. A brief outline of the sequencing is as follows: 

1.  Louise delivers then loses her infant.  Despondant and without purpose, she is advised to seek work by the hospital’s counselor.

2.  Baby #1: Frederic Perrette.  At a toy store run by Antoine Lancelot, Louise has the first of several, increasingly friendly encounters with the man who will become the imaginary father in a “family” consisting of Louise and a child...

3.  Child #2: Gerard Volnard-Bussel.  This nouveau-riche couple and their nasty older kids make Louise cling to the child with whom she develops a bond.  The kids plot.  Louise leaves with a broken heart, forced to abandon the first little boy whom she has grown to love as her own.

4.  Child #3.  A young girl, Charlotte, is the daughter of famous choreographer Mona Lorenzo.  At Charlotte’s first communion, Louise realizes the girl is closer to her than to her own mother.  She leaves, firmly telling Charlotte that she can never take the place of her own mother.

5.  Child #4.  Daniel Forneret.  This boy’s parents must leave him in France (for health reasons) while the father seeks work in Incochina.  After telling the mother that she could never leave her own son, were she to have one, she volunteers to keep Daniel and ends up raising him for a period of years.  When she learns of his parents’ return with their claim of their son, Louise takes him to England, where she is pursued by the police.  Family friend Lancelot dies of a broken heart and Louise must give the boy back to his parents.  The French police assure Louise that she has the moral authority to keep the boy, but the law says he must be returned.  The police deal contemptuously with Daniel’s parents, who are pained to see their own son’s rejection of them.

6.  Child #5.  Philippe Breuilly.  A demoralized Louise finds work at a wealthy household where the imperious grandmother torments her.  Louise tames the unruly boy who then leaves for boarding school.  Louise falls down the stairs and lands in the hospital.

7.  At the hospital, Louise tells her kind young doctor (the now adult and quickly recognized) Gerard Volnard-Bussel, about her love of children and the photo album she keeps.  She leaves the hospital, sits alone in a park, is shooed away from the little girl she stoops to attend, returns to her excruciatingly modest home.  Gerard invites her over, telling her he has a surprise for her.  When she arrives, Louise finds all her little charges now grown and she is presented with the next generation of little children to care for.  Louise is thereby redeemed in a ceremony that restores her blue veil just as it restores dignity to the Fatherland....And it’s Christmas!!!   Burch and Sellier describe as follows:  “The last shot of , reuniting the new ranks of a regenerated society around a Christmas tree in order to honor their old governess, evokes the Vichyist posters that portray young people gathered around the Marshall, and further suggests the religious iconography of Christ and of the Virgin presiding over the blissful community of the blessed.”  

                Two examples from the film, one diachronic and the other synchronic, illustrate to what extent the denial of a child-centered universe lends support to the film’s dual message of ideological regeneration and antisemitic exclusion.  In children are commodities to be exchanged and bartered by adults, the vehicles by which the superior mothering skills of Louise are demonstrated.  Mona Lorenzo must prove she has the emotional currency to “win” her child back, while little Daniel Forneret is the coveted object whose “repossession” by his parents triggers the film’s climax.  Family discourse involves terms of ownership, and within the National Revolution, responsible or neglectful parenting determines the success or failure of the State.    In this context, the varied examples of parental deficiency that Louise must address constitute a veritable lesson in Vichy subject-formation at the same time that they represent those qualities attributed to France’s enemies, namely “foreign” Jews who are always considered “inassimilable” to the hegemonic social body.  Four of the five unworthy parents conform to some version of antisemitic stereotypes--the businessman, the nouveau-riche, the show-business performer, and the couple forced to leave France.  Yet their offspring, nourished by Louise’s care, mature into those professions also considered to be dominated by Jews (until the antisemitic laws prohibited their participation)--doctors, lawyers, soldiers, artists, entertainers, teachers, engineers.  In other words, the film can be seen as a melodrama of Aryanization in which “Jewish” children are turned into authentic French citizens whose assumption of professional status hinges on the absolute negation of any trace of otherness.  Maternal care is thus the lynchpin of Vichy social production.

                The synchronic textual manifestation of this process involves a five-minute sequence in  the police-magistrate’s office where, in the presence of Louise, Daniel’s parents retrieve their son.

The scene opens with a file marked “Affaire Louise Jarreau,” and ends with a screaming boy (“Je ne veux pas, JE NE VEUX PAS!”) being led away while the despondent governess sinks into the arms of the caring magistrate, then is gently coaxed out the door and into a universe of isolation.  There is a telling dynamic to this scene--an antisemitic subtext to this drama without Jews--giving a chillingly prescient foretaste of a scenario repeated ceaselessly in the ensuing postwar years, as countless relatives returning from Auschwitz or other infernos sought to be reunited with those surviving children hidden for safekeeping, only to find their claims to these family-members overturned by French courts in favor of the adoptive custodians with whom, sadly, the children preferred to remain.  The principles occupy the symbolic positions of Vichy authority, the debased and exiled Jew, la Mère chrétienne, and the “battleground” of imperilled youth.  The Fornerets have come back from Indochina to claim the three-year-old (now Bar Mitzvah age) whom they’ve left in Louise’s care.  As mentioned, Louise’s reaction to the news is to abscond with the boy, her surrogate son, until the police track her down.  Daniel thus becomes a youthful pawn, defined only as a “son” rather than part of a family (of brothers and sisters, mother and father), “belonging” to Louise and now being “returned” to a strange and distant couple. 

                There is something unsettling in the way that the magistrate treats the Fornerets, a disturbing contrast to the kind indulgence with which he addresses Louise.  (The viewer has already been primed for this condemnatory attitude by Lancelot’s passionate defense to the police inspector before his collapse: “The boy had been abandoned by unworthy, shameful parents and Louise took it upon herself to take his mother’s place.  She treated him like a son, and for this she deserves to keep him!”)  Here in his office the magistrate now refers dismissively to “this unhappy little business” while angrily scolding Monsieur Forneret:  “Enough!” (He suddenly bangs the desk.) “You have the law on your side, as monstrous as that might seem, and I deplore it.”  As the camera moves to frame his righteously indignant face, the parents seen only from the back, he shouts:  “I don’t even know if an abduction has been involved.  Rather, I would say it is child abandonment.”  Madame Forneret says timidly, “There are reasons for our actions,” to which the judge responds, “I have no time for your excuses.”  He raises his punitive pencil, addressing the father, “Don’t you use that tone with me!”  And, after gently apologizing to Louise that he is powerless to intervene, he shouts at the Fornerets, “Leave!  Get out!  Quick!”  And this they do, as they usher the crying boy away.  All of this is punctuated by beatific soft-focus large closeups of Louise (the only ones until the very end of the film) as she explains how her love for Daniel entitles her to continue her maternal role.  Audience identification thus successfully mobilized for Vichyist values, the delinquent parties expunged, we can only await the restoration of moral order at the film’s end, when the adult Daniel is “returned” to Louise, a successful engineer amid his equally successful compatriots, ready to bless her with the return of her beloved blue veil and new French citizens to cherish and mold.    


SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN: THE VICHY CHILD, JEWISH BOYS AND GIRLS, LA DAME D’IZIEU

By a play of words the thought is expressed that children () are builders (); they not only build the future of the family but likewise of the community....[C]hildren were thought of as a precious loan from God to be guarded with loving and faithful care.” 

--

 

Between August 17 and 31 [1942], seven trains left Drancy for Auschwitz carrying about 1,000 people each.  Between one-third and one-half of the passengers in each train were unaccompanied children....The scene inside those overcrowded cars can scarcely be imagined.  The lack of light alone was enough to cause panic among toddlers still afraid of the dark....Brothers and sisters were often separated, and babies as young as two or three found themselves totally alone.  In theory, each car contained from one to ten adults, usually women, to reassure forty, sixty, and in some cases, over ninety terrified youngsters.  In such circumstances, reassurance was not possible.”

                                                                - Susan Zuccotti, (1993)

 

Buses arrive.  We remove children in unimaginable condition.  A cloud of insects surrounds them, and a terrible stench....We will never forget the faces of those children; endlessly they pass before my eyes.  They are serious, profound, and, what is extraordinary: in these little faces, the horror of the days which they are living is branded....They show us their most precious belongings: the pictures of their mothers and fathers which their mothers gave them when they parted.  Hastily the mothers wrote a tender inscription.  We all have tears in our eyes; we imagine that tragic instant, the immense pain of the mothers.”  

                                - Memoir of Odette Daltroff-Baticle, adult internee at Drancy in 1942
(Written in 1943, given to Serge Klarsfeld in 1977, published in books by
different authors in 1983, 1985, 1991, 1993, 1996)

 

Rachel’s mother lit the candles and said the special prayer. ...’The soul is the Lord’s candle,’ Papa would always say, then smiling, ‘That’s in the Talmud.’ Rachel loved the holy feeling of this moment. ...She would always carry this picture in her heart, no matter what happened when she was grown up.” [And later, as she and Papa contemplate the night sky...] “Something made him pause.  He looked down at his daughter and stroked her hair.  ‘God is like a star inside you,’ he said softly.  ‘A still, small flame.  When you are afraid, or cold, or lonely, remember that you have a secret star inside, and you will know that God is there.’ You must remember, Rachel.  It is a place that no one else can touch.’ And then he added with a smile,’You are the little Ruchella that God made.  The only one.’”                                                          

- Sharon Flitterman-King, (1987)  

 

      In his twenty-year labor of love and conscience entitled , Serge Klarsfeld offers disturbing yet detailed documentation of France’s war against children.  While other countries such as England and Denmark were arranging to transport their little ones to safety, France efficiently deported no fewer than 11,402 Jewish boys and girls under the age of eighteen to the east, where all but 300 were murdered.  As noted, Jewish children who managed to escape arrest and deportation often did so at the expense of their very identities or at the loss of all family ties.  The fact that countless ordinary French people demonstrated remarkable resourcefulness and courage in order to protect these endangered children does not diminish the horror of the situation in which these actions became necessary .  In Klarsfeld’s book virtually every single Jewish child who was deported from France and (for the most part) murdered, is given a name, a date and place of birth, a last known address, the transit camp to which s/he was sent, and the convoy number and date.  In the case of several thousand of these children, photos have been found, and the visual documentation of these tiny souls is ongoing.  The situation of hidden children is different, even more complex.  As late as 1996, the average French citizen, intelligentsia included (films like notwithstanding), continued to maintain that there were very few hidden children in France during the war.  And, as can be expected, documentation of any ordinary sort is virtually impossible, a situation exacerbated by the fact that this generation, whose memoirs might provide the key to some of these identities, is quickly disappearing.  What is certain, however, is that the vanished world of Jewish family life known by all of these children in one form or another must be recovered from the ashes of their annihilation..

            We know from Judaic liturgy, as well as several millenia of tradition and prayer, that the sanctity of the Jewish home is established by its status as the site of joyful weekly celebrations of the Sabbath.  According to one modern account, “In a very real sense, the table becomes an altar around which family and friends gather to recite or sing the blessings over the candles, wine and challah.  In this way, everyone present joins the rhythm of Jewish life that has linked Jews from generation to generation through the centuries and around the Jewish world.”  Practiced or not, however tenuous that celebration might have been for Jewish children in France during the War, something of that sacred sense of shared identity, bound up in the child’s experience of family, was continually jeopardized.  Because survival itself meant repression or denial of this heritage, while for hidden children conversion (or fidelity to the host family) meant absolute negation, Jewish children of every age were made to consider complex questions of adult identity, when they were not preoccupied with actually staying alive.  Accordingly, often one project of those charged with rescuing or protecting Jewish children was to find ways of preserving that tradition in their hearts.  Jewish ethical values, the respect for human dignity, and an optimistic belief in healing the world became the symbolic hearth and dinner-table secretly held close within every Jewish child, while in the official culture of France the institution of the family, flanked by work and nation, provided the cornerstone of the Vichy edifice. 

                Nowhere is this contradiction more profound than in the discourses of the domestic arena which provided Vichy France with some of its most powerful propaganda images.  At the heart of the Vichy ideology of a renewed (not to say racially pure) France is the familial foyer, crucible for the production of obedient subjects.  A brochure published by the office of the Commissariat General for Families makes this clear: “The family is the basic cell; it is the very foundation of the social edifice; it is on the family that we must build; if it gives way, all is lost; as long as it holds, all can be saved.”    But this edifice is a building without inhabitants, a solid structure without a soul.  Vichy sought not the vitality of family life, but the stability of an allegiant entity.  Francine Muel-Dreyfus brilliantly explains the connection between this family-formation and the ideology of racial homogeneity.  It is worth citing the entire passage that she quotes from the May 17, 1943 radio broadcast for La Fête des Mères to illustrate her point:  “[T]he call for women’s participation in the recovery of health went hand in hand with the affirmation of the principle of exclusion.  Natalist propaganda, the state construction of femininity based on maternity and legitimately feminine social and sanitary activities, functioned like therapeutic agents that aimed to restore the internal balance of the social body that had to be reborn to purity.  And the best protection against this ‘dangerous’ ‘border’ formed by ‘crossbreeds’ was national feminine sacrifice.  ‘Long live the race, and as a consequence, long live Mothers’ was the slogan by which the French Union for the Defense of the Race celebrated Mother’s Day 1943:

                ‘Today, we will draw from among the great collective forces, and we will speak to you of Mother’s Day.  We will exalt this Mother’s Day, we will acclaim Mothers themselves, and we will thank the generous, tireless organizers who prepare the annual tribute to mothers that is due them....Your task, young mothers, is not limited to doling out their ration of grape sugar to your young ones....You must also give them the ration for the soul, the nourishment that will make them women and men worthy of this name.  Your children, in a healthy body, must have a virile soul, a soul ready for any trial, the soul France, the soul of the race.  And you mothers who have already formed and delivered your child who is already a man to society for the collective good, be thanked for your sacrifice.  This multiple sacrifice will undoubtedly be the salvation of our country that so many countryless scoundrels without honor wish to see perish.’”

                It is interesting, in this light, that Vichy France used the image of two contrasting homes to convey its message of restored moral order.  In a poster published by the Avignon propaganda center of the National Revolution, a crumbling house, graced by a Mogen David above its tattered flag, is placed next to a sturdy, upright building whose tricolor is presided over by the seven stars of the Marshal.  The foundation of the first house, “laziness, demagogery, internationalism,” supports a jumble of other concepts, “radicalism, greed, corruption, speculation, drunkenness, parliament, democracy, Jews, capitalism.”  Its ideal other, strong and forthright, involves a solid foundation of the ubiquitous “work, family, and fatherland;” its four sturdy columns, “school, artisanry, peasantry, and Legion,” are supported by an additional foundation of “discipline, order, thrift, courage.” The Vichy foyer is graced by sunlight and a flowering tree, mère de famille  at the window and hearth-smoke rising from the chimney.  The teetering “bad” house is characterized by hatred, free-floating rage directed toward everything associated with what Vichy and the Nazis wanted to destroy.  In other words, the symbolic force of the familial image provides an exclusionary fantasy to mask a reality too horrible to contemplate: the wanton dismemberment and destruction of a centuries-old, enduring family unit, the Jewish home.

                It is appropriate, then, that the ideology of racial purification should be articulated in terms of a vast national housecleaning.  “Il faut aussi balayer les JUIFS pour que notre maison soit propre” [Jews must be swept away to make our house clean], exhorts a Pétainist poster of 1941, while Klaus Barbie’s choice of words to announce his liquidation of the Jewish children’s home at Izieu--”Cleaned out the house”--is far from arbitrary.  A racial policy of expulsion and removal was thus linked to the cleanliness and health of the national home whose collapse (as in the broken and abandoned dollhouse pictured at the site of Lancelot’s demise in ) is provoked by the presence of Jews in the social community.  On the other hand, a brilliantly sustaining counter-example of domestic imagery is provided by one Marie Chotel through the words of Odette Meyers, the seven year-old Jewish girl who was hidden by this Catholic seamstress and sent to safety in a remote village, thus surviving the War.  “Madame Marie had a very simple philosophy.  We were Jewish and she did not want to impose her religion on us, but she told me a story.  ‘The heart is like an apartment,’ she said, ‘and if it’s messy and there is nothing to offer, no food or drink to offer guests, nobody will want to come.  But if it’s clean and dusted every day, and if it’s pretty and there are flowers and food and drink for guests, people will want to come and they will want to stay for dinner.  And if it’s super nice, God himself will want to come.’  That was it.”

                Meyers’s astoundingly beautiful memoir, , ends with a sort of memorial chapel that she verbally constructs for the Melczak Family, her aunt, uncle and little cousins who were rounded up in the Vel d’Hiv (some are listed in Klarsfeld’s book) and deported from France to their deaths.  In order to prepare herself for the task (an appendix to her book), she writes an epilogue recounting her visit to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., where to her delight she finds the names of Marie Chotel and Henri Briard inscribed on the Wall of the Righteous.  “I shatter the reverent silence of the crowd by saying the names out loud...’Those are my rescuers,’ I proudly explain....”  And Meyers concludes her book with a tribute to the woman who saved both her physical and spiritual life:  “As always when I am given to doubt, Madame Marie appears to me--and I hope to you now as well.  I feel that if we petition her politely, she’ll put her signature on our passports and let us through the doors of the new apartment house of the next century, telling us how to be good tenants: ‘Just be courteous, considerate, helpful, and enjoy yourselves!  And don’t forget to keep your own apartments tidy--dust and neaten every day, have food and drink to offer guests, and keep a vase of flowers on your tables.’”   Here in the light of lovingkindness we find the welcoming warmth of the Sabbath home, articulated in the words of a Christian woman.  Its source is the human heart, its spirit religious, in the deepest sense of the word, and this is the house that outlasts the exclusionary, forbidding Vichy edifice of wartime France.

                Finally, we return to another house, La Maison d’Izieu, in April of 1994, half a century after that fateful children’s breakfast whose description opened this essay.  A long-held dream of Sabine Zlatin’s (who will die two years later, on September 21, 1996, at the age of 89) has been accomplished and the children’s home has opened as a memorial museum.  It is a chilly early spring day, but sunlight punctuates the crisp air as dignitaries, citizens, and survivors pay hommage to the boys and girls whose young lives virtually ended on this site.  Madame Zlatin, unlike her fictional antithesis, Louise Jarreau, was forced by circumstance to care for her little charges beyond the grave.  Powerless to save them from extermination, she devoted herself to their memories, and to the ongoing struggle for human rights.  “I would like to explain the idea I had, right from the start, about what Izieu ought to become.  A place that would symbolize the denunciation of crimes against humanity.  The fate of these forty-four children of Izieu must move visitors, young and old alike.  But many other crimes against humanity were committed in the world before this, and many will follow.  Resistance to fanatical ideologies is the sole mode of struggle against regimes which commit such crimes.  Vigilance is the responsibility of everyone charged with protecting the rights of children, the rights of all human beings.  More than a simple memorial or a museum, this house must be a vibrant center for all those who struggle in the mode expressed by John Donne: ‘No man is an Island, entire of itself,/ Every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.// Any man’s death diminishes me,/ because I am involved in Mankind.’”         

                Sabine Zlatin testified eloquently against Klaus Barbie when he was tried in Lyon and convicted of crimes against humanity.  Soon after the trial, she (and Prefect Wiltzer) formed an association to perpetuate the memory of the Izieu tragedy by purchasing the house and turning it into a memorial.  Thus it was at the inauguration of the Musée-Mémorial des Enfants d’Izieu (whose name was changed in April of 2000 to La Maison d’Izieu, Mémorial des enfants juifs exterminés) that François Mitterand, President of the French Republic, could proclaim, in the spirit of Sabine’s vision:  “This house will always be alive, in spite of what took place within its walls.  Throughout the whole year, school parties and various groups of people will find here a lively place to meet, work, and carry out projects.  These people will come from diverse backgrounds, origins, trainings and religions.”  And it was Mitterand who wrote the preface to Sabine Zlatin’s 1992 book, ,  “Memory is the first justice....The children of Izieu are the very symbol of massacred innocence, the symbol of all the Jews of France exterminated under the Vichy regime....It is up to us to keep the truth alive.          

                But it is Sabine Zlatin herself, almost singlehandedly, who has enabled the survival of this legacy from the tragedy of extinguished young lives, again in sharp contrast to the ideological visions of both mothering and childhood proffered by Louise Jarreau in .  Both women, real and fictive, childless, were made to assume a maternal role to numerous children who, for one reason or another, were without parents.  But while Louise is the active symbol of the patriarchal myth of an idealized maternity, Sabine, in the direst of material circumstances, embodies the compassionate care associated with memories of the “Yiddishe Mama,” the Jewish mother of the vanished world (though Zlatin’s Bundist background would certainly make her cringe at the hint of sentimentality).  Gabrielle Perrier, a teacher at Izieu whose journal is printed as an appendix to Sabine’s book, describes:   “She directed this little world with a natural authority allied with a great kindness.  When she said, ‘Mon petit!’ in her warm voice with her particular accent [born Sabine Chwast in Warsaw, she met and married Miron in France, where they both became citizens in 1939], each child felt special, as if he or she were her very own, well protected and loved, such that no one dreamed of disobeying...As for myself, a young beginning teacher, I realized how great was her concern to guide me, to encourage me, and occasionally to steer me in the right direction without ever making me feel uncomfortable.”

                Through another one of those tricks of fate, there exists a photo of Sabine Zlatin, taken in 1942, in which she wears the blue veil of the Red Cross nurse.  In fact Sabine registered to train as a military nurse when the war broke out; when she and Miron moved to Montpellier she was posted at the military hospital in Lauwe.  Forced to leave because of Vichy’s racial laws, she began work with the OSE, rescuing interned children from the French detention camps of Agde and Rivesaltes.  With the aforementioned German Occupation of the French zone, the Zlatins moved to the sub-prefect of Belley, where they founded the children’s home at Izieu (“Quel paradis!”  exclaimed Léon Reifman upon arrival).   What is striking about this photo is the absolute honesty of Zlatin’s straightforward expression, something unchanged from that time to her testimony in Lyon forty-five years later.  Kindness and intensity characterize even the last photos of Sabine as she talks to the schoolchildren who surround her.  This is quite a contrast to the gauzy close-ups that convey Louise Jarreau’s plea of “ownership” and her beatific assumption of her new charges at Christmastime.  A poster for reinforces its ideological message as well; a drawing of Louise in profile, blue veil as background for her photo album of saved souls, conveys an idealized vision of womanhood in the style of Vichy propaganda art.

                A text from the Maison d’Izieu-Mémorial des Enfants Juifs Exterminés reminds us, “These hidden children represented hope: the hope of staying alive, the hope of their parents, the hope of beginning a new life again like any other child.  In order to honor their memories, we must promise to always let the flame of hope live, and to never forget them.”  In that spirit, I’ll conclude with a few of the voices of these children of Izieu, a shining testament to the fact that , with its message of normalized complicity in genocide through the persistent invisibility of everything surrounding Jewish life, has, in fact, utterly failed to accomplish its ideological project.   Ten year-old Alice-Jacqueline Luzgart writes to her sister Fanny just days before the raid: “I chose accountant, but, you know, my girlfriend chose a nicer profession than I did, she wants to be a student-midwife in the maternity ward when she grows up.  She told me she’d like to operate on the mothers to bring little children into the world because she likes little babies.  Don’t you think that’s a fine profession?  Maybe I’ll change my mind and copy her.  Tell me what you wanted to do when you were little, Fanny.”

                Jacques Benguigui, one of three sons of the heroic Fortunée, was deported on April 13, 1944, the day of his thirteenth birthday.  This is what Jacques wrote to his mother on May 30, 1943 from Izieu: “O Maman, my dear Maman, I know how much you’ve suffered on my account and on this happy occasion of Mother’s Day I send you from afar my best wishes from the bottom of my little heart.  So far from you, darling Maman, I’ve done everything I could to make you happy: when you’ve sent packages, I’ve shared them with the children who have no parents.  Maman, my dear Maman, I leave you with hugs and kisses.  Your son who adores you.”

                And finally, the voice of eleven year-old Liliane Gerenstein, through a letter found in a drawer at Izieu, expresses the ineffable faith that transcends representation.  “God?  How good You are, how kind, and if one had to count the number of goodnesses and kindnesses You have done us he would never finish.   God?  It is You who command.  It is You who are justice, it is You who reward the good and punish the evil.  God?  It is thanks to You that I had a beautiful life before, that I was spoiled, that I had lovely things that others do not have.  God?  After that, I ask You one thing only: MAKE MY PARENTS COME BACK.  MY POOR PARENTS, PROTECT THEM (even more than You protect me) SO THAT I SEE THEM AGAIN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.  MAKE THEM COME BACK AGAIN.  Ah!  I could say that I had such a good mother and such a good father!  I have such faith in You that I thank You in advance.”

*      *     *     *    

1. Abraham Cohen, .  Schocken Books.  New York.  1949.  p. 159. 

This article is an expanded version of my introductory remarks for a symposium I organized at Columbia University in April of 1998, called “Hidden Voices: Childhood, the Family and Antisemitism in Occupation France,” which dealt with material culture and daily life during World War II in France, with an emphasis on women’s and children’s experience.  Part of this article was also delivered as a paper at the Second Annual Tel-Aviv Colloquium on Cinema Studies in June of 1998.  I wish to acknowledge the guidance of the late Aaron Warner, Dean of the Columbia University Seminars, and to thank my husband, Joel Lewis, for his companionship, insight, and humor.  This article is dedicated to the nameless children whose history it will become.

2.  Cited in Richard J. Golsan, ed., .  University Press of New England.  Dartmouth and London.  1996.  Pp.135-136.

3.  Ibid., p.59.

4.   Annette Kahn, .  Summit Books.  New York and London.  1991. p. 230.

 

5.  The two primary figures in this war against children, Klaus Barbie and Alois Brunner, survived well beyond the years of these specific atrocities.  With the aid of American intelligence, Klaus Barbie fled prosecution in France and installed his family and himself (as businessman Klaus Altmann) in Bolivia.  He was extradited to France in February 1983, due in no small part to the efforts of two Izieu mothers, one Sephardic (Fortunée Benguigui) and one Ashkenazi (Ita-Rosa Halaunbrenner), who protested along with Beate Klarsfeld in La Paz until the Bolivian government handed him over.  Finally sentenced to life in prison, Barbie died in his cell in 1991, a month before his seventy-eighth birthday.  Brunner, on the other hand, may still be alive.  Also aided by the American CIA, Brunner settled in Damascus, where he became an advisor to the Syrian government.  Although there have been rumors of his demise, there have been no confirmations.  When he was interviewed less than 18 years ago for the Austrian news magazine, , he regretted that he had not been able to murder more Jews.  In a 1987 telephone interview with the he declared, “The Jews deserved to die...I would do it again.”  Two documentary films provide more than enough information on these two: Marcel Ophuls’ (1988) and Monika Koplow’s (1997).

6.  Pierre Laborie, “Was the France of 1940-42 Anti-Semitic?” in Golsan, pp.91-95.

7.  Eugen Weber.   .  Harvard University Press.  Cambridge.  1991.  p.296.

8.  New York Times, October 1997.

9.  Cited in Georges Wellers, .  Editions Tiresias.  Paris.  1991. p.179.

10.  Henry Rousso, .  Decouvertes/Gallimard.  Paris.  1992.  p.78.

11.  Colin Crisp, paper given at October 1996 conference at Rutgers University, organized by Alan Williams, entitled “French Cinema Under the German Occupation.  Among the many interesting papers given by a variety of experts on Occupation France, there was no mention of Jews, and very little about women.  This is what prompted me to organize my own conference, to “fill in the gaps.”

12.  Jacques Siclier, .  Editions Henri Veyrier.  Paris.  1981.  p.99.

13.  Pierre Laborie, “Was the France of 1940-42 Anti-Semitic?” in Golsan, op.cit. p.95.

14.  Cited by Lucien Lazare in , Columbia University Press, New York, 1996, p.145.

15.  Judith Elbaz, “A Reminiscence,” in Vivette Samuel, , University of Wisconsin Press, 2002, p xv-xvi.

16.  See especially Maurice Rajsfus, , Editions Manya, Levallois-Perret, 1994; Lucien Lazare, , Stock, Paris, 1987; Deborah Dwork, , Yale University Press, New Haven, 1991; and Susan Zuccotti, , Basic Books, New York, 1993.

17.  Rajsfus, p. 69.

18.  This is partly based on an outline of sequences provided by Mara Littman, Alan Williams’s graduate assistant for his conference.

19.  Noel Burch and Genevieve Sellier, , Editions Nathan, Paris, 1996, p 100.

20.  Burch and Sellier,

21.  This is the situation described by hidden child Sarah Kofman of her own experience in her memoir, , Éditions Galilée, Paris, 1994.

22.  Abraham Cohen, op cit., p.170.

23.  Susan Zuccotti.  .  Basic Books.   New York. 1993. p. 116.

24.  Cited in Zuccotti, , p.115.

25.  Sharon Flitterman-King.  .  New Light(s).  Hillsdale NY.  1996.  pp. 25, 39.

26.  This is Serge Klarsfeld’s figure in , New York University Press, New York, 1996.  In (University of Wisconsin Press, 2002), Vivette Samuel puts the figure at 11,600, noting that of the 75% of French Jews who survived, 86.2% were children, “who were better protected than adults.” (p. 195).  This means that, for the most part, the generation of their parents did not survive.

27.  This was the position of several scholars at the conference on French Cinema under the German Occupation mentioned above.  They refused to consider as a veiled reference to hidden children on the basis that “there just weren’t that many hidden children then.”

28.  Women’s League of Adat Ari El, , Wimmer Bros., North Hollywood, 1991, p. 10.

29.  Cited in Francine Muel-Dreyfus, , Duke University Press, Durham NC, 2001 [Editions du Seuil, 1996], p. 173.

30.  Francine Muel-Dreyfus, , p. 309.

31.  Odette Meyers, in Carol Ritner, ed., , New York University, New York, 1986, p. 20.

32.  Odette Meyers, , University of Washington Press, Seattle, 1997, pp. 448-9.

33. Sabine Zlatin, , Editions Gallimard (Collection Témoins), Paris, 1992, p.95.

34.  François Mitterand, Preface to , p. 11.  The excruciating irony, of course, is the fairly recent discovery of Mitterand’s own dubious relations with the Vichy regime, which just goes to emphasize the extremely painful contradictions of French historical memory.

35.  , pp. 134-5.

36.  Sabine Zlatin, , p. 44.

37.  These letters can all be found in Serge Klarsfeld, , Abrams, New York, 1985.