- 1 Introduction by Carolyn J. Dean, Yale University
- 2 Review by Julian Bourg, Boston College
- 3 Review by Vicki Caron, Cornell University
- 4 Review by Maurice Samuels, Yale University
- 5 Compte-rendu par Lucette Valensi, EHESS, Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales
- 6 Response by Philip Nord, Princeton University
Philip Nord’s After the Deportation is a compelling and ambitious account of ‘deportation memory’ in France. It revises the dominant silence-to-voice story that historians have nuanced and contested, but never fully dislodged. As the story goes, the French imagined deportees as anti-fascist, patriotic victims of the Nazi regime until the 1960s and 70s, when a younger generation questioned French complicity in the Holocaust along with French racism and colonialism. The student rebels of 1968 unearthed long-repressed memories about Jewish persecution and the Vichy regime that had been buried by both Gaullist and Communist accounts of French heroic martyrdom, and the earlier celebration of Resistance gave way to an emphasis on Jewish suffering. Although he does not question the turning points of this narrative, including the Gaullist myth of the Resistance, the 1961 Eichmann trial in Jerusalem, and the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, he treats them as important but insufficient explanations for the ‘repression’ or emergence of Holocaust memory in France.
H-Diplo Roundtable XXII-25
Philip Nord. After the Deportation: Memory Battles in Postwar France. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020. ISBN: 9781108478908 (hardback, $39.99).
8 February 2021 | https://hdiplo.org/to/RT22-25
Editor: Diane Labrosse | Commissioning Editor and Chair: Carolyn J. Dean, Yale University
Production Editor: George Fujii
Philip Nord’s After the Deportation is a compelling and ambitious account of ‘deportation memory’ in France. It revises the dominant silence-to-voice story that historians have nuanced and contested, but never fully dislodged. As the story goes, the French imagined deportees as anti-fascist, patriotic victims of the Nazi regime until the 1960s and 70s, when a younger generation questioned French complicity in the Holocaust along with French racism and colonialism. The student rebels of 1968 unearthed long-repressed memories about Jewish persecution and the Vichy regime that had been buried by both Gaullist and Communist accounts of French heroic martyrdom, and the earlier celebration of Resistance gave way to an emphasis on Jewish suffering. Although he does not question the turning points of this narrative, including the Gaullist myth of the Resistance, the 1961 Eichmann trial in Jerusalem, and the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, he treats them as important but insufficient explanations for the ‘repression’ or emergence of Holocaust memory in France.
In his response, Nord mentions other works that have questioned the silence-to-voice narrative. Among them is Laura Jockusch’s account of surviving Jews’ efforts to document their experiences, and François Azouvi’s The Myth of Silence, which recovers several public discussions touching on Jewish suffering, including coverage of the Eichmann trial and debate about Rolf Hochhuth’s play about Pius XII, The Deputy. Nord builds on such scholarship but moves beyond its tendency to counter silence with speech. He eschews an either-or approach by tracing the emergence of a continuous narrative of deportation that incorporated multiple voices and gave increasing weight to the Jewish fate over time. From the beginning, he shows, Jewish memory was integrated into accounts of deportation: it was on display in memorials and ceremonies, which combined images of Christian martyrdom with the minimal style that was later associated with representations of Holocaust memory; Gaullist monumentalism harmonized with a sober, austere aesthetic of spiritual longing. As the narrative shifted to recognize Jewish death, the martyr-hero increasingly became the isolated and abandoned deportee. Over time, deportation memory itself became a reference for other forms of oppression: in postwar French film and literature, he shows, the concentration camp became a symbol not only of Jewish death, but also of colonial violence and the generic evil represented by totalitarian political regimes. As Maurice Samuels notes, Nord’s account shows just how multivalent the images of the camps had come to be. Claude Lanzmann’s 1986 masterpiece Shoah explicitly rejected the Christianizing term “Holocaust” by representing the genocide of European Jewry as a singular event: the Shoah. The deportation narrative culminates with Lanzmann’s film, and yet the film’s emphasis on singularity also makes it something of an outlier.
By conceptualizing deportation memory as one integral narrative with shifting, multiple, louder and less prominent motifs, Nord reframes the silence to voice narrative not by asking why the memory of the Jewish deportation had been repressed until 1968, but why the 1968 generation believed they had discovered voices that had in fact been there all along. The ‘return of the repressed’ narrative, for all Nord’s indebtedness to Henri Rousso’s pioneering work, is a story that requires historical clarification.
Samuels, Lucette Valensi, and Julian Bourg mostly accept Nord’s revision of the standard narrative, using his redefinition as a point of departure for their own questions. They admire the sweep of his book, which reconstructs plans for memorials, debates between Catholics and Jews, and postwar fiction and filmography, all requiring a conceptual range that most historians do not possess. Bourg sees Nord’s capacious portrayal of deportation as an antidote to segmented and narrow histories that he believes are “disabling to the cultural memory framework” because they portray memory as a political struggle for recognition rather than as a matter of historical decoding and recording. As he writes, “foregrounding certain memories always involves downplaying others.”
Indeed, the main point of contention about After the Deportation in these pages is about whether Nord, in trying to correct the historical record, overemphasizes the importance of Jewish memory in the period before 1968. Vicki Caron, while conceding that there was no silence among Jews regarding the Holocaust in France, argues that Nord’s contention that there was no “myth of silence” is “less convincing.” Caron’s insistence that the French really did not come to terms with Jewish experience until after 1968 raises the difficulty of extricating “historical decoding and recording” from judgments about evidence of human behavior that can be notoriously difficult to interpret. Nord’s account, by demonstrating the multiplicity of memories incorporated into the deportation narrative, stresses a long and shifting dialogue that leads ultimately to a receptive audience for Lanzmann’s Shoah and to President Jacques Chirac’s 1995 apology for Vichy’s role in deporting Jews. Caron emphasis on a widespread French refusal to come to terms with Jewish suffering offers a far more pessimistic assessment, focusing on the limits of French people’s desire to recognize their own complicity until 1968.
Nord’s most recent contribution to this historiography provides an entirely new point of departure from which to consider the power of French antisemitism (Caron), the importance of generational struggle and Sephardic immigration (Bourg), local memorialization (Valensi), and deportation memory in our contemporary moment (Samuels).
Philip Nord is the Rosengarten Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at Princeton University, where he has taught since 1981. He is the author of several books on French history, including most recently France’s New Deal: From the Thirties to the Postwar Era (Princeton University Press, 2010) and France 1940: Defending the Republic (Yale University Press, 2015).
Carolyn J. Dean is Charles J. Stille Professor of History and French at Yale University and the author, most recently, of Aversion and Erasure: The Fate of the Victim after the Holocaust (Cornell University Press, 2010) and The Moral Witness: Trials and Testimony after Genocide (Cornell University Press, 2019).
Julian Bourg is associate professor of history at Boston College. He is author of From Revolution to Ethics: May 1968 and Contemporary French Thought (McGill Queen’s University Press, 2007; rev. ed. 2017) and is currently writing a conceptual history of terror since the eighteenth century.
Vicki Caron is a Professor Emerita at Cornell University. Prior to the end of 2015, she served as the Diann G. and Thomas A. Mann Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at Cornell University, where she held a joint appointment in History and Jewish Studies. Her work focuses on problems of Jewish assimilation and integration as well as the history of modern antisemitism, especially in the French and German contexts. She is author of Between France and Germany: The Jews of Alsace-Lorraine, 1871-1918 (Stanford University Press, 1988), and Uneasy Asylum: France and the Jewish Refugee Crisis, 1933-1942 (Stanford University Press, 1999), which in 1997 won the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History. This book has also appeared in a French translation as L’Asile Incertain: Les Réfugiés Juifs en France, 1933-1942 (Tallandier, 2008). She has also co-edited with Michael Brenner and Uri Kaufman a collection of essays, Jewish Emancipation Reconsidered: The French and German Models (Mohr Siebeck, 2003), and she has served as guest editor of a special issue of French Politics, Culture and Society on the topic of “The Rescue of Jews in France and its Empire during World War II: History and Memory,” which appeared in 2012. She is currently working on a book project titled “The Battle for the Republic: Jewish-Catholic Relations in France, 1870-1918,” forthcoming, 2023.
Maurice Samuels is the Betty Jane Anlyan Professor of French at Yale University, where he founded the Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism. His books include The Right to Difference: French Universalism and the Jews (University of Chicago Press, 2016) and The Betrayal of the Duchess (Basic Books, 2020).
Lucette Valensi is Directrice d’Etudes, EHESS/Paris. Most recently she was a professor of history at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, where she was the Director of the Centre de Recherches Historiques (1992-96), then of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Islamic Societies (IISMM) until her retirement in July 2002. She also serves as a co-director of the French historical journal Annales E.S.C. Professor Valensi has written extensively on North Africa and the Middle East. Among her books that have been translated into English are the following: Tunisian Peasants in the 18th and 19th Century (Cambridge, 1985), The Last Arab Jews (with A.L. Udovitch, New York, 1984, 2016), Jewish Memories (with N. Wachtel, University of California Press, 1991), and The Birth of the Despot: Venice and the Sublime Porte (Cornell University Press, 2009 ). Her works in French include La Fuite en Égypte. Histoires d’Orient et d’Occident (Le Seuil, 2002); L’Islam en dissidence. Genèse d’un affrontement (Le Seuil, 2004 ; 2013), with Gabriel Martinez-Gros; Mardochée Naggiar. Enquête sur un inconnu (Stock, 2008); Ces Etrangers familiers. Musulmans en Europe, XVIe-XIXe siècles (Payot Rivages, 2012); Un siècle de céramique d’art en Tunisie. Les Fils de J. Chemla, Tunis (Editions Déméter/Editions de l’Eclat, 2015, with J. Chemla and M. Goffard). Her most recent work is Histoire partagée. Juifs et musulmans en Algérie (Tallandier, 2015; 2018).
On permanent exhibit at the Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme in Paris are small-scale wooden models of Eastern European synagogues built during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Precise in their balsa-like construction, mostly veneered brown with red and yellow hues, their unfamiliar architectural style is arresting: peaked and “pagoda-like” roofs; side towers; a covered wrap-around balcony; few windows and substantial walls, one imagines against long winters. There are fifteen models in the collection, synagogues from Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine, and especially Poland, from far-away towns the untrained Western tongue pronounces awkwardly, Wysokie Mazowieckie, Sniadowo, Pohrebyszcze, Żółkiew. The names evoke great distance, both across the European continent and across historical time. For as the viewer hardly needs to be told, all of these synagogues were destroyed in the twentieth century. The models were built in Algeria in the late 1940s and 1950s by students at the ORT, originally the Obchestvo Remeslenogo Truda, a Russian philanthropic organization founded in 1880 to promote Jewish artisanal and agricultural education. One imagines Ashkenazi memory and Sephardic craftsmanship combining in bright North Africa immediately after the Shoah in order to construct these fragile, combustible miniatures of a lost world.
And yet, for all the horror that the visitor understandably reads in the synagogue models, they also convey an entirely different set of meanings. They testify to Jewish life, to communities that built and worshiped and thrived, to sturdy creations that sheltered and sustained. Yes, of course, they represent catastrophic loss, but also lifeworlds. The models’ immediate, distinctive capture on the eye results both from their minimal reference to Western European architecture and from their purposeful lack of transparency—dense, largely windowless wood firm under their plexiglass display cases. The miniatures may be fragile, but the solid originals endured for centuries. To be sure, museums are memorials, of course, and the Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme is no exception. Anti-Semitism and Judeocide, mourning and remembrance, are never elided at the Musée, yet its collections, exhibitions, workshops, and library prioritize the manifold global experiences, deep histories, and wide-ranging cultural practices of diasporic Judaism. They also pointedly contrast a commonplace of the scholarly paradigm of cultural memory: its anchoring in death and destruction, trauma and contest, the moral status of victims, the ethics of representation, and restorative justice. Memory as a category of analysis often seems to recall mostly pain while forgetting most of history.
In his sweeping, magisterial study of late-twentieth-century French memory battles over wartime deportation, Philip Nord notes in passing the occasional pushback against the obligation to tie historical memory to unspeakable tragedy. Even as writers and filmmakers such as Elie Wiesel, André Schwarz-Bart, Anna Langfus, Piotr Rawicz, and Frédéric Rossif sought against considerable cultural headwinds to recall the “lost world in the East” (393), others came to ask more critically if there was not “more to Jewish life than the Holocaust” (5). Nord’s main task, though, is not to explicitly problematize the memory paradigm. Instead, he grippingly recounts the detailed processes by which the German deportation of French citizens was represented and recalled in the decades after the war, specifically how the multifaceted experience of deportation in general gradually came to be identified with the destruction of French Jewry in particular. Exhaustively researched and admirably synthesizing a vast scholarly literature, After the Deportation marks a culminating, late-if-not-last word on the scholarly debates on French memory that have been underway since the 1980s. His simple conclusion that historical memory has no telos, that it has and will be constantly rewritten, offers his readers promising ways forward, including the prospect of treating memory itself with healthy suspicion. We are deeply grateful to Nord, a prolific and gracious senior dean among English-language historians of France, for writing this long-overdue tour de force. The historian is better suited than the memorialist to grasp the lives of the past.
Alongside defeat and occupation, deportation reflected a source of humiliating national shame. It signified the martyrdom of the largely mythologized Resistance, and marked the beginning of the fateful journey East for French Jews—most of whom did not return. Multiple communities were at odds on how to understand and memorialize deportation: Communists, Gaullists, non-Communist leftists, Catholics, Jews, members of the generation of 1968, artists, filmmakers, writers, and so forth. No review can do justice to the multitudinous cast of characters on display. Nord broadly accepts but significantly qualifies an established narrative about the Second World War, deportation, and the Shoah: that an initial concentrationary and antifascist “regime of memory” during the 1940s and 1950s was gradually replaced by a second cultural model in the late 1960s and 1970s that newly foregrounded distinctive Jewish experience. He revises the silence-to-voice story by convincingly demonstrating that, beginning with the Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation, founded in 1943, the unique destruction of European Jewry had always been known in France. By the same token, the concentrationary paradigm had never been as unified as previously supposed.
This reassessment dismantles the 1968-era assumption that Jewish experiences, which were actually integral to cultural memory debates throughout the postwar period, had been repressed and disregarded. True, the silence-to-voice account still makes sense, since Jewish memory often spoke in a minor key, especially when it was hemmed in by the “memory wall” that Charles de Gaulle and the Gaullists erected after 1958 (389). It is also true that by the last decades of the twentieth century, the Shoah did come to stand in more generally for deportation and even the war. Yet Nord also reveals that such interplay between memory and forgetting has yielded other losses: Communist deportees, who were pivotal to the early concentrationary framework, are almost entirely elided today; so too have tense and ultimately productive Jewish-Catholic exchanges during the 1950s and early 1960s over anti-Semitism and ‘the Holocaust’ been similarly neglected in recent years. Foregrounding certain memories always involves downplaying others. Nord brings this point home in the book’s coda. When in the 1990s and early 2000s President Jacques Chirac belatedly acknowledged the French state’s complicity in Judeocide, he revived something of a Gaullist vision, infusing it with the moment’s dominant Republican spirit: ordinary French people, Jews and non-Jews, had righteously resisted and suffered the machinery of death. The Shoah, yes, but not only. Indeed, the Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme, which opened in 1998, reflected this Chiracean moment.
Nord approaches these large historical questions through rigorous close readings of books, films, and memorials—cultural products that reveal the positions, conflicts, alterations, and stakes of deportation memory. The range of sources is staggering, and one is rightly tempted to think of After the Deportation as a definitive book on the topic. Following the “ebb and flow of public memory” (389) and attending to the “‘how’ of such storytelling” (3) enables Nord to foreground the ethics of representation. His finely tuned art critical skills, honed through his earlier work on Impressionism, unfold the immanent logics of, say, statues while evaluating the possibilities and shortcomings of varying realist and abstract forms. The process pays off in showing that, although memories of the deportation and the Holocaust differed, they often relied on a shared “common stock of images” (10). Its impressively detailed results notwithstanding, to some extent the book revisits methodological debates of the 1990s, when “probing the limits of representation” of the Holocaust stirred passionate inquiry and when Hayden White could advance the wacky argument that only modernist aesthetics might adequately depict the unprecedented events of the twentieth century. Still, the intractable enigma of representing the unrepresentable persists.
Two of Nord’s specific arguments stand out for their consequential originality: Jewish-Catholic dialogue decisively transformed the terrain of deportation memory, and the 1968 generation poorly grasped Jewish memory that had been articulated since the 1940s. For starters, religious dialogue was not easy. Many French Catholics were apt to Christianize Jewish suffering, assimilating it to a schema of sacrifice/expiation/redemption while avoiding their own historical anti-Semitism. Indeed, Christians were among the first to refer to ‘the Holocaust.’ Still, some notable voices, including the surprising, if limited novelist François Mauriac, proved able to rethink basic categories and evolve. In part, this development was aided by Jewish writers and artists such as Marc Chagall who sometimes turned to Christian tropes in order to appeal to otherwise unreceptive eyes and ears. Others, like Jules Isaac and Léon Poliakov, were unsparing in their criticisms of Christian complicity. Interfaith exchange in France was thus challenging, complicated, and tense. Yet this dialogue led directly to profound changes, epitomized by the epochal 1965 statement at the Second Vatican Council on the Catholic Church’s relationship to non-Christians, Nostra aetate. Nord details the French cultural politics of the broader sea change in Catholic-Jewish relations traced by John Connelly. For historians of France, Nord’s reintegration of Catholicism into postwar French cultural debates is noteworthy. The extended “Republican moment” of the past four decades has involved values such as secularization (laïcité), which is trumpeted by French politicians and intellectuals, as well as a scholarly horizon that often seems to be reinforced even when criticized. Extensive debates have taken place in recent years on France, empire, Islam, and Judaism, but late-twentieth-century and early twenty-first century French Catholicism is understood less well. In filling this lacuna, Nord’s book joins an emergent scholarship.
A second notable interpretation relates to 1968. With good reason and to great effect, After the Deportation focuses largely on the two decades after the war. Developments during the pivotal 1970s are treated with less detail, although they are essential to the overall argument. As elsewhere in Europe, notably Germany, baby boomers in France questioned the previous generation’s wartime and postwar experiences. The contestatory spirit of the Sixties inspired the unmasking of former Nazis and collaborators, the revival of the language of fascism to denounce contemporaneous state policies, and the accusation that Judeocide had been disregarded since the war. This last dynamic undergirds the aforementioned second “regime of memory.” Some 68ers in France saw themselves as newly uncovering a stifled truth: Communist and Gaullist hagiography of the resistance had covered up national complicity in the murder of French Jews. Since Nord has already shown that Jewish memory had been continuously present since the 1940s, the narrow partiality of the 1970s return-of-the-repressed narrative is easily exposed. It turns out that 68ers themselves repressed aspects of postwar memory politics.
There are rewards to Nord’s subtle reconstruction. While the two-regimes-of-memory explanation still makes sense, it also reflected the very cultural politics it purported to explain. In other words, the return-of-the-repressed narrative was as much an expression of memory battles as an attempt to conclude them. That said, the story of the post-1968 transformation is a little thin. Nord looks to the Adolf Eichmann trial in 1961 and the Six-Day War in 1967 as eventful turning points in the emergence of Jewish memory of the Shoah. The relationship of France and French Jews to Israel is central here. There are a host of other factors to consider, including: the near doubling of the French Jewish population through postcolonial Sephardic emigration during the 1950s and 1960s; the prominence of Jews among the youthful leaders in 1968; anti-colonial and Third Worldist politics leading some French Jews to reaffirm diasporic identity; the assertion of Jewish identity in the context of other particularist social movements (women, sexuality, migrants, environmentalism, etc.); a related assertion of Jews and ‘Jewish thought’ in French intellectual life (the influence of Benny Lévy, who moved to Israel, on Jean-Paul Sartre, the New Philosophers, belated appreciation for Emmanuel Lévinas and Vladimir Jankélévtich, etc.); the convergence of Holocaust negationism with anti-Semitic bombings on the rue Copernic in 1980 and Chez Jo Goldenberg in 1982. All of these dynamics contributed to the development of distinctive memory politics on the Shoah. The considerable advantages of Nord’s largely thematic and spatial approach to historical writing notwithstanding, he tends to underrepresent middle-term chronological developments and broader contexts and convergences.
Partial, self-interested, and unstable, memory lends itself to battle. Political contest, though, can often undermine the ethics of representation and restoration. Not surprisingly, states are always dominant forces in memory wars. By the same token, lighting flames may rescue history’s victims from the double indignity of oblivion, but it cannot prevent future tragedies. Today, the memories of victims are often understood better than those of perpetrators, and as After the Deportation so powerfully shows, even victim memory is shot through with competition and struggle. Nord concludes with a sharp provocation: while the Holocaust was incontrovertibly unique, deportation remains a preferable concept for grasping the multiplicity of French experiences. To form such a judgment, one needs to stand outside the melee and separate doxa from historical decoding, understanding, and explanation. The 68ers’ battlefield incursion made for powerful commemoration but poor history. In contrast, the Communist-informed solidarity and the interreligious dialogue evoked by Nord recall mislaid possibilities. Indeed, everywhere today projects of cooperative communication seem more inchoate and fragile than the clamor of countless identities shouting cacophonously for recognition: My memory! No, mine! Altogether, the simple, compelling takeaway is potentially disabling to the cultural memory framework: remembering always involves forgetting. Finally, one of the great virtues of that framework—pain and trauma are the sufficient conditions for victim morality—may also be a great failing, since it minimizes vast expanses of history. The synagogues at the Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme endure. They remain irreducible to storylines about victims, perpetrators, and heroes.
The reigning memory paradigm arose during the 1980s and 1990s. Notable high points included Pierre Nora’s three-volume collection on “the realms of memory” (1984–1992), the founding of the journal History and Memory in 1989, and Jay Winter revisiting in 1995 the memorialization of the First World War that had first been mapped by Paul Fussell two decades earlier. Memory as method intersected profitably with cultural history from below and helped push other approaches, such as Marxisant social history or state-centric political history, further on the defensive. Such welcome and creative studies furthermore filled spaces opened by the fragmentation of big-picture philosophies of history. Since then, though, memory has gradually become a familiar category of historical analysis with all the inevitably staid repetitions of an established orthodoxy. Paradoxically, the predictability of memory studies reinforces pervasive cacophonous fragmentation, when it does not lead to other hackneyed gestures such as human rights. Stepping outside the fray, Nord’s fresh battlefield assessment of France’s deportation memory wars is compelling precisely because he illustrates the costs of multiple standpoints endlessly vying for particular versions of memory-history to prevail. He enables us to see more clearly the contingent convergence in the 1980s and 1990s between memory as a culturally salient historical experience and memory as a scholarly paradigm and historiographical method. Historians are often no more adept than others at grasping the historical conditions of their own knowledge. By the same token, historians are not simply wartime correspondents. After the Deportation succeeds because it proves that, when the battles can no longer be remembered, their histories can be written. To go much further than Nord himself, one might consider the merits of another program. Following others’ suggestions that we productively “forget Michel Foucault” or “forget 1968,” what would it mean to forget memory?
This is a big sprawling book—some 405 pages of text—that traces the way diverse groups within the French population thought about the deportation of political prisoners and Jews to Nazi concentration and death camps during the Second World War, and ultimately how they thought about the Holocaust. This book is organized chronologically, although it revolves around several themes: debates between Gaullists and Communist résistants regarding the relative importance of deportation as opposed to armed resistance; debates among leftists over whether the camps were specific to the World War II experience, or whether they had a more universal significance; the role of interfaith dialogue in highlighting the specific fate of Jews; and the role of generational change among Jews in the wake of both the 1967 Arab-Israeli Six-Day War and the May 1968 student protests that brought to the fore Jewish student militants, such as Serge Klarsfeld and Pierre Vidal-Naquet, who were determined to uncover the truth about the role of the Vichy regime in abetting the Final Solution.
As Nord illustrates, following the lead of François Azouvi, the notion that silence prevailed with regard to both the camp experience in general and especially the fate of Jews during the war is a complete myth. Rather, as he shows, there was a flurry of memorials, commemorations, novels, plays, historical works, memoirs, artwork, etc. that touched on this topic, even during the immediate post-war period. Most of these endeavors, however, highlighted the role of résistants and political deportees, of whom according to recent estimates there were over 65,000, while the specific fate of the 76,000 Jewish deportees was marginalized. In fact, during these early years, the fate of the Jewish deportees was melded into the broader discourse on political deportation.
A series of events, however, beginning in the 1950’s, but especially during the 1960’s, led to the growing emergence of the Holocaust as a distinct theme. Here Nord deemphasizes the usual signposts—the 1961 trial in Israel of SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel) Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi official who had orchestrated the deportation of Jews throughout Europe, and the impact of the 1967 Six-Day War, which raised the prospect of the destruction of the state of Israel as well as the possibility of a new wave of government sponsored antisemitism in France, especially in the aftermath of President Charles de Gaulle’s notorious comment that the Jews were “an elite people, sure of themselves, and domineering.” Rather, Nord suggests that other factors were more salient in bringing the plight of Jews during the war to the forefront. These include the role of interfaith dialogue, especially between Jews and Catholics, culminating in Nostra Aetate (“In These Times”), the Vatican II declaration on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions, and especially Judaism, which was issued in 1965, as well as the coming of age of a new generation of French Jewish militants in the aftermath of the Six-Day War and the student protests of May ‘68.
The decades of the 1970’s and 80’s witnessed even more attention being paid to the specific fate of Jews. Here a spate of political trials of Nazi perpetrators who operated in France, such as Klaus Barbie, the chief of the Gestapo in the Lyon region, and French collaborators, such as Paul Touvier, the head of the Milice in Chambéry who worked under Barbie, and René Bousquet, the secretary general of the police under Vichy who organized the roundups of Jews and their deportation to the camp of Drancy, prior to their deportation to Poland, drew new attention to the plight of Jews. These trials also shed light on the complicity of the post-war French state, since several of the indicted war criminals, such as Maurice Papon, who served as secretary general of the Bordeaux prefecture, and Jean Leguay, Bousquet’s second in command, had never been prosecuted at all. Even those who had been prosecuted, such as Paul Touvier and René Bousquet, who were sentenced in 1946 and 1949 respectively, had successfully evaded punishment for decades due to their ties to high-ranking government officials, including Presidents de Gaulle, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, Georges Pompidou, who in 1971 issued a pardon to Touvier, igniting a firestorm of controversy that resulted in the revocation of the pardon, and François Mitterrand, whose close ties to Bousquet led to a reappraisal of his own career. Some of these war criminals, such as Papon, even held high-level government posts.
Moreover, the work of filmmakers such as Marcel Ophuls and Louis Malle (who oddly is not discussed here), as well as the seminal books by the North American historians Robert O. Paxton and Michael R. Marrus, inaugurated a reexamination of the role of the Vichy regime in helping the Germans execute the Final Solution. Ultimately, even more than Ophuls’s two films—The Sorrow and the Pity (1969) and The Memory of Justice (1976)—Nord sees Claude Lanzmann’s film Shoah (1986) as the most paradigmatic work with respect to our current understanding of the uniqueness of the Jewish fate. This film, which is over nine hours long and was shown on French TV in 1987, highlights the huge chasm between the fate of Jews and that of others persecuted by the Nazis.
As Nord shows, Lanzmann did not focus, at least in this film, on resistance. Rather, the director’s aim was to show that the Jewish people collectively had been slated for the gas chambers, and in this sense their fate was unique among the victims of Nazism. (There is no discussion here of the fate of the Roma). The perspective offered by Lanzmann, Nord argues, holds so much sway today that it has eclipsed the prior focus on the role of the résistants and political deportees who were sent to camps inside the German Reich. Whereas discussions during the immediate post-war years focused primarily on these two groups, the focus today has shifted almost entirely toward the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Indeed, Nord goes so far as to embrace Lanzmann’s view that the Holocaust constituted a “stand-alone catastrophe” that transcends time (193).
This book is packed with information, much of which will be unfamiliar to many readers, including even specialists on questions relating to the memory of Vichy and the Jews. To date, much of the previous work on this subject has focused on the political trials and the difficulty of bringing these cases to court after the expiration of the statute of limitations. This topic, however, constitutes only a small portion of the Nord’s book. Nord examines a wide range of additional sources, including films, memoirs, novels, including Elie Wiesel’s La Nuit [Night] (1957), Anna Langfus’s, Le Sel et le soufre [Whole Land Brimstone] (1960), André Schwarz-Bart’s, Le Dernier des justes [The Last of the Just] (1959), and George Perec’s La Disparition [A Void] (1969). He also examines the scholarship of historians associated with the Centre de documentation juive contemporaine (CDJC), which was established in 1943 in an effort to collect documentation on the fate of the Jews under the Nazis. Nord also looks at art work by Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso, and he examines the impact of plays such as “The Diary of Anne Frank,” and Rolf Hochhuth’s “The Deputy,” which were staged in Paris in 1957 and 1963 respectively.
In addition, he spends a good deal of time examining the role of Catholic intellectuals, including Jacques Maritain, François Mauriac, and Paul Claudel, in lobbying the Church to reconsider its traditional attitude toward Jews. Above all, Nord analyzes the many monuments erected to honor the deportees, as well as the commemorative ceremonies associated with these sites. As he persuasively shows, these monuments and ceremonies during the 1950’s and 60’s highlighted the plight of political deportees and résistants, a focus that was shared by both Communists and Gaullists. Today, however, the focus has shifted decisively toward the Jewish victims, eclipsing the role of these other groups. A poignant symbol of this transformation is that in 1995 a plaque was added to the Auschwitz memorial at Père Lachaise cemetery dedicated to the “victims of antisemitic persecution,” and stones were laid at the base of this memorial in accordance with Jewish funerary practices. This site had formerly commemorated the Communist victims of Nazi persecution.
Moreover, the sites of Drancy and the Vel d’Hiv, which had previously served to commemorate political deportees, are today dedicated exclusively to the commemoration of Jewish deportees. Indeed, the inscription at the the Vel d’Hiv monument goes so far as to state, “The French Republic honors the victims of the racist and antisemitic persecutions together with the victims of the crimes against mankind perpetrated under the de facto authority known as the ‘Government of the French State’.”
While the book’s thesis emerges clearly by the end of the text, I must admit that I was not always sure where the book was heading, especially in the early chapters that focused on debates between Gaullists and Communist resistors on questions of whether the concentration camps should be remembered as a specifically Nazi phenomenon, or whether they were emblematic of a more universal phenomenon, including camps in the Soviet gulag; the French army’s use of torture in Algeria; or even the exploitation of labor under capitalism. As Alain Resnais, director of the documentary film Night and Fog (1956), which did draw such analogies, commented in a 1984 interview, from his perspective the main point of the film was “Algeria” (97).
The fate of Jews, however, was only marginally relevant to these debates, which is in fact Nord’s point. The author delves so deeply into the intricacies of these early debates between Communists and Gaullists, which are important in and of themselves, but do not seem very germane to the material presented in later chapters, that there seems to be a disconnect between these disparate parts of the book. Moreover, the fact that the respective responses of Jews, Catholics, Communists and Gaullists is scattered among diverse chapters and not dealt with thematically, makes it difficult to wrap one’s head around this material. Indeed, I would recommend that readers read the epilogue first so as to obtain an overview of the book’s thesis and to impose a semblance of order on this huge body of information.
With regard to the substance of the book, I am entirely persuaded by Nord’s argument that there was no “silence” regarding the Holocaust, even during the immediate post-war period and throughout the 1950’s. Associations representing deportees, the historical scholarship of CDJC historians, such as Léon Poliakov, and the role of Jewish activists such as Henry Bulawko, who presided over several associations of Jewish deportees, as well as Jews who identified primarily as Communists or Gaullists but still pushed for recognition of the Jewish fate, helped draw attention to this issue. On the other hand, it is important to understand, as Nord explains, that it took time for the French to comprehend that the Jewish deportation experience was distinct from that of political deportees, and that the camps located inside the German Reich were significantly different from the extermination camps located in Poland. According to Nord, it was through works such as Olga Wormser-Migot’s Le Système concentrationnaire nazi (1933-1945) and Charlotte Delbo’s Auschwitz, et après that people began to comprehend the distinctiveness of the Jewish fate.
The question of whether Nord’s thesis regarding “the myth of silence” applies to the French case is, however, less convincing. While there was considerable discussion of the Holocaust in the 1950’s and 60’s, in part due to the impact of plays such as “The Diary of Anne Frank,” and “The Deputy,” as well as films such as Night and Fog (1956), and the many novels discussed here, some of which won the nation’s most prestigious national prizes, almost none of these works dealt with the fate of Jews in wartime France. Several notable exceptions here are the books by two CDJC scholars, Georges Wellers, De Drancy à Auschwitz, and Joseph Billig, Le Commissariat général aux questions juives, as well as the film Night and Fog, which included a shot of a French policeman guarding the internment camp of Pithiviers.
Nevertheless, what emerges clearly here is that the immense silence regarding the collaboration of the Vichy regime in helping the Nazis execute the Final Solution was not a myth. Rather, as Henry Rousso claimed in his pathbreaking book, The Vichy Syndrome, the critical appraisal of France’s role offered by Ophuls in his film, The Sorrow and the Pity, as well as the historical writings of Paxton and Marrus, served as a shattering ‘mirror’ on the French past, and this was true for both the general public and for French Jewry. In this regard there is a significant tension in Nord’s book between how the French understood the Holocaust in general, and how they came to understand France’s specific role in helping the Nazis carry out the Final Solution.
Indeed, it is only in chapter 10 of Nord’s text that we come to a discussion of the French case. Also, although a number of Jews in France spoke about the Holocaust in the 1950’s and 60’s, most of these were East European immigrants who had come to France only after the war. One notable exception here is the writer André Schwarz-Bart, who was born in Metz in 1928, but whose family had come to France from Poland in 1924. His novel, Le Dernier des justes [The Last of the Just], which won the Prix Goncourt in 1959, does deal with France in that its hero, Ernie Levy, was sent to Drancy and was subsequently deported, just as Schwarz-Bart ‘s own parents were. Nevertheless, the French theme is not the focal point of the novel.
In part this silence can be explained by the fact that only 2,500 Jewish deportees returned after the war, in contrast to the 47,500 political deportees who returned. But one also has to wonder why those French Jews who were not deported proved so reluctant to talk about their experiences of being stripped of their jobs, their property, and even their citizenship under Vichy, and who lived in constant fear of being hunted down by the Nazis and the Vichy Milice. It is possible, as a number of historians have pointed out, that the Jewish survivors were simply too preoccupied with rebuilding their lives in the wake of the catastrophe that had befallen them.
But it is also possible that it was simply too difficult for most of them, especially the Jews ‘of old stock,’ to talk honestly about the fact that the French government, together with a huge swath of the French population, including their friends and work colleagues, had proved either indifferent or even hostile to their fate. Moreover, the fact that there was considerable antisemitism after the war, including protests over Jews trying to reclaim their property, made honest discussions all the more difficult. Hence, the traditional picture we have held for decades that suggested the existence of a gaping silence about these issues up through the 1970’s, when a new generation of Jewish militants came to age and drove the narrative in a different direction, turns out to be an accurate one.
Before concluding I would be remiss not to discuss Nord’s focus on Jewish-Catholic relations, since this is one of the book’s central arguments. I wonder, however, if the story is quite as straightforward as Nord suggests. According to Nord, the major story line of the post-war period is how “conscience stricken” Christians (339), especially Catholics, worked together with Jews such as Jules Isaac, whose book Jésus et Israel helped shape Christian-Jewish dialogue in the post-war period, to encourage the Vatican to adopt a new understanding of Jews and Judaism, which culminated in the Vatican II declaration Nostra Aetate. In recounting this story, Nord focuses primarily on the role of lay intellectuals, such as Maritain, Mauriac, and Claudel, in addition to the central role of Isaac, a historian and educator, who served as Inspector general for public instruction under the Popular Front, and who played a pivotal role in founding the committee, Amitié judéo-chrétien de France in 1948. While Nord is correct to focus on these lay intellectuals, several clerics, including above all Henri de Lubac also played a critical role, although he is not mentioned here.
More importantly, it is not clear how individuals like Mauriac and Claudel, and even Maritain to a degree, moved from a pre-World War II stance of embracing antisemitism, or at least expressing deeply ambivalent views about Jews, to a pro-Jewish position in the aftermath of the Holocaust. In 1900, just as the Dreyfus Affair was winding down, a friend of Claudel’s recounted the writer’s “horror of Jews.” And in 1910, Claudel wrote to his friend Charles Péguy, expressing dismay at Péguy’s Dreyfusard stance. As he declared, “What a shame to find a true Frenchman, a soldier of Saint-Louis…fighting alongside people who aren’t of his race against his own [race], alongside people who are…imbued with the curse of God….” Nor had the author’s views changed significantly by 1940, when in his diary he hailed the defeat and Maréchal Philippe Pétain’s coming to power as a deliverance from the 60-year-old “yoke of the anti-Catholic Radical Party (teachers, lawyers, Jews, Freemasons).”
As for Mauriac, his attitude toward Jews during the 1930s was deeply ambivalent, if not openly hostile. After the election of the Popular Front in 1936, which resulted in the premiership of Léon Blum, he issued a statement that in theory was meant to convey his adherence to the patronage committee of a philosemitic journal, but that in actuality was deeply antisemitic. While condemning antisemitism as “a sin against charity,” Mauriac nevertheless felt compelled to admit
“that Israel is at times partly responsible for the instinct of defense it evokes among certain nations in certain historical epochs….
The Jews cannot perpetuate themselves, marry amongst themselves, jealously isolate themselves from Christians, without evoking a reaction of defense and hostility.
They cannot monopolize international finance without making others feel they are being dominated by them. They cannot sprout up wherever one of their own has been successful (Minister Blum), without evoking hatred because they themselves have indulged in [anti-Christian] reprisals.”
Whether the views of these Catholic intellectuals changed during the course of the Occupation is discussed only briefly here, but it is germane to understanding this issue. As for Claudel, we have documentary evidence that his views did change quite dramatically. On Christmas eve of 1941 he wrote a personal note to the Chief Rabbi of France expressing his shock and indignation in the aftermath of a spate of synagogue bombings carried out by Jacques Doriot’s extreme right-wing league, as well as the execution of 70 men including 53 Jewish hostages in retaliation for an attack on Nazi soldiers in the occupied zone. As he declared, “Monsieur, I am compelled to write to you to express to you the disgust, the horror, the indignation that all good Frenchmen, and especially Catholics, feel toward the spoliations and the terrible treatment which our Jewish compatriots are currently the victims.”
As for Mauriac, all we know, as far as I am aware, is what he wrote in the foreword to Elie Wiesel’s book Night, which was first published in France in 1958 with Mauriac’s help. Here Mauriac recounted his horror upon learning from his wife of the deportation of trainloads of Jewish children from the Gare d’Austerlitz. But whether Mauriac had really changed his views regarding the “Jewish Question” is called into question by the prominent role he played in the Finaly Affair, which exploded in 1953. This affair concerned the kidnapping of two Jewish boys, Robert and Gérald Finaly, who had been born on 14 April 1941 and 3 July 1942 respectively to Austrian Jewish parents who had sought asylum in France in the late 1930s. When the parents were deported in February 1944, the two boys were entrusted to the care of Antoinette Brun, the director of a municipal orphanage in Grenoble. In 1948, Brun baptized the two boys, and when the boys’ relatives who were living in New Zealand and Israel tried to gain custody, she refused to turn them over, and she ferreted them off to a monastery in Spain.
In January 1953 the French court in Grenoble ordered that the boys be returned to their family, but Brun refused and was ultimately arrested. Mother Antonine of the order Notre Dame de Sion, who had encouraged Brun, was also arrested. Throughout this time, Pope Pius XII encouraged Brun and Mother Antonine not to back down, and the Church did everything within its power to ensure that the boys be raised in the Catholic faith. After a fierce debate erupted in the French press, igniting another wave of anticlericalism, Cardinal Pierre-Marie Gerlier, the archbishop of Lyon, helped secure the boys’ return, and the Church ultimately backed down.
Throughout this debate, Mauriac, who had just won the Nobel prize in literature in 1952, emerged as the chief defender of the Church’s position that the boys, once baptized, needed to remain within the Catholic faith. In editorials that appeared in Le Figaro in February of 1953, Mauriac insisted that Antoinette Brun was a “saint,” and that the two boys, now 11 and 10 years of age, were old enough to decide on their own which faith they preferred, regardless of their parents’ wishes. As he stated in one of these editorials:
“Which of their two allegiances will win out in these children’s hearts? The allegiance to their fathers, to the ashes of martyrs, or the allegiance to that Son of David who was crucified for them, too, who has marked them with his sign, and who, since their baptism, knows them by their first names? Perhaps they themselves will know how to effect a synthesis between these two allegiances. Is not Christianity, for a baptized Jew, the fulfillment of the word given to Abraham our father?”
Nor was Mauriac alone in expressing such views. As the Catholic paper La Croix wrote on March 21, 1953, “The Church has, through legitimate baptism, spiritually engendered a Christian: this spiritual maternity imposes obligations upon it. The Church is a perfect society that has authority over people who have become its members through baptism.” Indeed, the historian André Kaspi has noted, “Rare, very rare, were those Catholics who…condemned the attitude of Mlle Brun and even more that of Notre-Dame de Sion.”
The Finaly Affair drove a deep wedge between Jews and Protestants, on the one side, and Catholics on the other. The members of Amitié judéo-chrétienne were deeply divided, and the organization nearly split apart. One of the Catholic members, Henri Irenée Marrou, even resigned. Although Mauriac ultimately retracted the position he had argued in February 1953, the damage was done. Rabbi Jacob Kaplan, who had exercised significant restraint in not speaking out during the negotiations with the Church to secure the boys’ return, ultimately condemned the Church for reenacting “ritual kidnappings,” such as the infamous Mortara Affair of the mid-19th century. The Finaly affair was especially painful to Jews since their top priority since the end of the war had been to recover each and every Jewish child who had been sheltered by the Church. While the Jewish community was immensely grateful to the Church for its help in having hidden Jewish children, it had no intention of leaving those children in Christian hands. As Vivette Samuel, a social worker affiliated with the Oeuvre des secours aux enfants (OSE), declared, “there are few children that remain to us, and this is our entire future.” To lose these children through forced conversion was, in their eyes, tantamount to perpetuating Hitler’s genocide.
Although Nord deals with the Finaly Affair at considerable length, he significantly downplays Mauriac’s role as the chief public spokesman against the Jewish community, even though Mauriac is the Catholic intellectual to whom he devotes the most attention. Moreover, it is difficult to see the Finaly Affair as a step forward on the road toward Catholic-Jewish reconciliation, as Nord seems to suggest. Rather, this affair constituted a huge setback, especially since some of the Catholics who defended the Church’s position, such as Père Joseph Foliett, Père Michel Riquet, SJ, and even the nuns affiliated with Notre-Dame de Sion, had helped rescue Jews during the war. As for the role of Cardinal Pierre-Marie Gerlier, the archbishop of Lyon, Nord argues that he tried to play both sides and that he ultimately supported the Vatican position that the boys should not be returned; indeed, he even describes the Cardinal’s motives as “duplicitous” (278). However, the documents located at the archives of the archbishop of Lyon paint Cardinal Gerlier’s role in a more favorable light, showing that he sympathized with the Jewish relatives’ point of view, but was hemmed in by the Vatican’s hardline position.
In a sense this story confirms Nord’s view that Catholics, even the most sympathetic, understood the Holocaust largely in Christian terms and tended to identify the genocide of the Jews with the Passion of Christ. As a result, the Finaly Affair did little to foster mutual understanding. Aside from Maritain, who, as French ambassador to the Vatican, did lobby the Vatican to take steps to tone down Christian antisemitism, it is not clear how influential these French Catholic lay intellectuals were in bringing about Catholic-Jewish rapprochement. Rather, it was the coming to power of Pope John XII in 1958 that created a wholly new atmosphere, since Pius XII’s attitude toward the Finaly Affair, as well as toward the reemergence of antisemitism in post-war Poland (157, 233-234), suggests he had personally learned nothing from the Holocaust.
By contrast, Pope John XXIII had spent the war years serving as an apostolic delegate to both Greece and Turkey, and he had personally interceded on numerous occasions on behalf of Jews. He had also served as papal nuncio to France from December 1944 until January 1953, just before the Finaly Affair broke, and it appears that he ignored Vatican directives not to return converted Jewish children to their families or to Jewish institutions. As a result of the new pope’s extraordinary sensibility, the Latin term “perfidis,” commonly translated as “perfidious,” was dropped from the Good Friday prayer (pro perfidis judaeis) already in 1959, even before the commencement of the Second Vatican Council. Moreover, even though Nostra aetate did not eliminate all liturgical references to the term “deicide” with regard to the Jews, it did make clear that Jews and Christians shared a common “spiritual patrimony,” and that Jews, both at the time of Jesus’s crucifixion, and subsequently, were not to be collectively blamed for Christ’s death.
In the epilogue, Nord shows that even though there had been a recognition of the Holocaust in the immediate postwar years, Jewish deportees still tended to be amalgamated into the larger group of political deportees and résistants, especially when it came to commemorative ceremonies. In recent years, however, Nord shows that the memory of the Jewish fate has “eclipsed” the memory of the experiences of political deportees and even résistants. Yet, one wonders whether everyone is as accepting of this transformation as Nord suggests. It was not all that long ago that Eric Conan and Henri Rousso complained that the study of Vichy France had become too “judeocentric.” Nor were all members of the resistance thrilled when the documentary film director, Pierre Sauvage, in his film Weapons of the Spirit, which dealt with the rescue of Jews, and especially Jewish children, in the largely Protestant village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, speculated that the Nazi commander in the region, Major Julius Schmähling, might have been influenced by the “conspiracy of goodness” that had taken root in the region because he had not pursued Jews, even though he had ruthlessly pursued the resistance.
Moreover, in the epilogue Nord also discusses the growing recognition accorded to “Les Justes de France,” those who helped rescue Jews and have now received the highest government honor by having been inducted into the Pantheon. One has to wonder, however, whether this new trend marks a return to the Gaullist myth that prevailed in the 1950’s and 60’s with a new twist. France has now become a nation of rescuers, if not a nation of résistants.
Finally, I wonder whether our understanding of deportation and the ‘concentrationary universe,’ to use David Rousset’s term, is as binary as Nord suggests. In order to comprehend the Holocaust, do we really need to see it as a “stand-alone catastrophe” that transcends time, as Lanzmann as well as Wiesel argue? Can we instead examine the fate of diverse victims of the Nazis and recognize that there were different sorts of suffering and different sorts of camps? Must the focus on Jews necessarily “eclipse” the earlier focus on résistants and deportees? Or can there be a way these diverse groups of victims receive recognition simultaneously? While not all of these questions are answered by the end of the text, Nord’s book undeniably achieves its major aim: to inspire readers “to revisit or visit for the first time the art, books, monuments and movies that have been encountered” here (403). By opening our eyes to these diverse sources, and especially by offering a perceptive analysis of the pertinent monuments and commemorative ceremonies, Nord succeeds admirably in recasting the memory of the deportation and the Holocaust.
As I read Philip Nord’s eye-opening After the Deportation, while sheltering from the coronavirus, I started to think about the course I would teach in the fall on “Representing the Holocaust in Literature and Film.” This is a course for undergraduates that I have co-taught several times with a colleague in film studies. We usually assign a mix of literary texts and films, ranging from Elie Wiesel’s Night to Alain Resnais’s “Night and Fog” to Charlotte Delbo’s Auschwitz and After to Claude Lanzmann’s “Shoah”—works that have come to form a kind of canon in the field of Holocaust studies in French. And while I have always been deeply aware of the differences in the way these authors approach their subject, I have tended to explain these differences as a series of aesthetic choices. Thanks to After the Deportation, I now see them as manifestations of a political struggle over the legacy of the Deportation that played out over the course of five decades following World War II. But After the Deportation has not only caused me to question the way I teach these texts. It has also caused me to question whether these texts should be taught together in a class on “Representing the Holocaust” at all.
When I was a graduate student in French in the 1990s, I took a similar class. I remember learning that Jewish survivors had been reluctant to speak of their experiences after the War, and had a difficult time finding sympathetic listeners, until a paradigm shift occurred in the late 1960s. Thanks to events like the Eichmann Trial (1961), films like Marcel Ophuls’s The Sorrow and the Pity (1969), and works of historical scholarship like Robert O. Paxton’s Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order, 1940-1944 (1972), the Holocaust suddenly came into focus as a specifically Jewish tragedy and France’s complicity in the genocide abruptly became a topic of intense interest both for professional historians and the French public at large. So total was the change that by the late 1980s, the historian of memory Henry Rousso would refer to a “Vichy syndrome,” and call the obsession with France’s complicity in the Jewish genocide a “past that will not pass away” (un passé qui ne passe pas).
Recently, scholars have begun to call this narrative of a sudden shift into question. Works such as the essays collected in David Cesarini and Erik J. Sundquist’s volume After the Holocaust: Challenging the Myth of Silence (2012) have pointed to the way that Jewish survivors in France did in fact tell their stories after the War—through memoirs, monuments, and historical research sponsored by organizations such as the Centre de documentation juive contemporaine (CDJC). While following in the wake of this new scholarship, and concurring with its main argument that Jewish silence after the War is a “myth,” Nord adds an important dimension to our understanding by revealing the extent of the struggle over the legacy of the Deportation that eventually resulted in the near exclusive focus on the Jewish dimension of the tragedy. In the process, he offers a fascinating explanation of how the ‘myth’ of Jewish silence took shape—why it was that a new generation of French Jews, beginning in the late 1960s, felt like they were discovering the history of the Holocaust for the first time.
Nord begins his story immediately after the War, when different groups of survivors began to advance competing narratives of what had taken place after their Deportation from France. Foremost among these were the Communists, who had been deported for resisting the Nazi occupation and whose understanding of the concentration camp experience centered on the struggle against fascism. With the notable exceptions of Robert Antelme and Pablo Picasso, Communist writers and visual artists favored socialist realist forms of representation. The Parti communiste français (PCF) did not exclude Jewish memory—its survivor organizations were open to Jews—but it did advance a vision of the Deportation that accorded little place to Jewish suffering. Jews were simply one more group—along with résistants—who had been victims of the fascist menace.
Focused on heroic acts of resistance and survival, Communist narratives of the Deportation tended to see the concentration camp as the logical extension of capitalist modes of production. David Rousset advanced the notion of the “concentrationary universe” to describe a world focused on maximizing the exploitation of human labor. Although it was clear that Rousset had based his understanding on labor camps—where the majority of French non-Jewish deportees were sent—rather than on the extermination camps that were reserved for Jews, his model influenced early Jewish researchers in the field, such as Olga Wormser-Migot and Michel Borwicz, whose understanding of what had become known as the Deportation combined economic and ideological explanations. Rousset would eventually fall afoul of the PCF when he extended his inquiry into the concentrationary universe to include the Soviet gulags in 1949.
As France’s war of decolonization in Algeria escalated in the late 1950s, the question of the portability of the camp phenomenon grew more heated. Writers and filmmakers on what Nord calls the “independent left,” who departed from the orthodoxies of the PCF, inflected their representations of the concentration camp with subtle (or not so subtle) allusions to the Algerian war in a phenomenon that Michael Rothberg has called “multidirectional memory.” Nord shows how “Night and Fog,” the landmark film directed by Alain Resnais with screenplay by Jean Cayrol, as well as in the searing, quasi-poetic accounts of Charlotte Delbo, see the Deportation through this anti-imperialist lens. Jewish memory is not excluded in these works—“Night and Fog” contains images of the Vel d’hiv, the cycling stadium where thousands of Jews were held in appalling conditions after being rounded up in 1942—but it is subsumed in a larger, universalizing vision of the camp experience. Although these formally experimental works include images and tropes that would become familiar in later works by Jewish writers—the train tracks leading to Auschwitz, for example—their focus is not on “the Holocaust” as a sui generis event, but on the concentration camp as a perpetual evil lurking at the heart of modern civilization.
Alongside accounts by Communists and those on the independent left, Nord presents a number of different narratives of the Deportation that vied for primacy in the decades immediately following the War. Foremost among these were the Gaullists, who rejected the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist messages of the Communists and leftists in favor of a triumphant celebration of the heroism of the French resistance. Charles de Gaulle himself was instrumental in advancing this vision through his active orchestration of commemoratory events, especially at Mont-Valérien, a fort outside Paris where the Nazis had executed numerous résistants. Like their Communist rivals, the Gaullists accorded little attention to the particular suffering of Jews. But Nord is also careful to show that there were other competing voices in the post-War years who did. These included philosemitic religious Catholics—such as Father Riquet and Edmond Michelet—who saw Jewish victims as Christ-like martyr figures.
Nord also describes numerous accounts of the Deportation by Jews themselves. Contrary to the “myth of silence,” which took shape in the 1970s and 1980s as a new generation “discovered” the Holocaust, the post-War years saw the publication of many works of a historical and commemorative nature by Jews who had survived the camps or gone into hiding. These included some of the first document-based histories of the genocide, written by scholars associated with the CDJC, as well as a spate of survivor memoirs. Under the energetic leadership of Isaac Schneersohn, the CDJC built a large memorial to Jewish victims in the 1950s, which later evolved into the Mémorial de la Shoah. As Nord shows, this memorial site did not shy away from focusing on the specifically Jewish dimension of the tragedy or from holding Jewish religious ceremonies at the site.
Given the existence of this forceful Jewish voice in the first decade after the War, Nord asks how the “myth of silence” nevertheless took hold in the 1970s and 80s. His main answer is the return to power in 1958 of de Gaulle, and the subsequent triumph of the Gaullist narrative of the Deportation. According to Nord, Gaullist memory simply won the battle over memory in the early 1960s, erasing the competition. Throughout this period, however, Jews continued to talk about their experience. Several fictional works about the Holocaust by Jews, such as André Schwarz-Bart’s novel The Last of the Just (1959) and Anna Langfus’s The Lost Shore (1962), gained critical and popular acclaim.
Nor were Jews silent during the period of Gaullist triumph. Notably, they were unafraid to enter into dialogue with Christians in order to criticize the Church’s role during and after the War, including its effort to prevent baptized Jewish children, whose parents had been murdered, from being raised Jewish. As Nord shows, Jewish advocacy over the legacy of the Deportation spurred the Church to the reforms of Vatican II, which attempted to purge the Catholic liturgy of antisemitism. In one of the more fascinating chapters of the book, Nord details how a new understanding of the specifically Jewish dimension of the Deportation emerged from these inter-faith dialogues, such as the one between Wiesel and the prominent Catholic novelist François Mauriac, which led to the publication of Wiesel’s bestselling novelized memoir Night (1958). Nord argues that the notion of the Holocaust, freighted as it is with Christian religious overtones, took shape as an attempt by Jews to explain the tragedy in terms familiar to the Christian world.
Other scholars have recounted how the events surrounding the Six-Day War in 1967 caused a sea-change in the consciousness of French Jews. The perceived threat to Israel’s existence, coupled with de Gaulle’s infamous 1967 speech referring to the Jews as a “dominating” people, caused many French Jews to reject the universalizing pressures of French republicanism in favor of a more open affirmation of their “right to difference” (Chapter 10). Nord nuances this argument by laying emphasis on the concept of “generation” (Chapter 10), by which he means not only that it was the cohort that took part in the May 1968 revolt that pioneered a more forthright approach to the Jewish story of the Deportation, but also that a whole wave of Jews who had survived the War as young people—many of whom, like Pierre Vidal-Naquet, were older than the ‘68ers—came to understand their Jewish identity as part of a generation that had lost parents in the War. For both the ‘68ers and the survivors, the departure of de Gaulle from power in 1969 led to a rejection of the Gaullist narrative of the Deportation, along with the “discovery” of the specifically Jewish tragedy that had come to be known as the Holocaust.
I have already referred to some of Nord’s persuasive explanations for why those who began to write about the Holocaust after the late 1960s felt that they had discovered something new when Jewish survivors had been speaking and writing about their experience all along. But if one of these explanations is political—the Gaullist domination of the memory landscape, which drowned out competing voices—the other we might label theoretical. Nord describes how the notion of trauma, popularized by Bruno Bettelheim and others, began to shape the way that the new generation viewed the Deportation in France and elsewhere by the 1970s and 80s. Predicated on the assumption that the horror of the Holocaust had been repressed on both an individual and national level, the trauma paradigm not only depoliticized memory of the Deportation but also erased the very real memory work that had gone before. Nord is not the first to critique trauma theory’s hold on critical writing about the Holocaust—Dominick LaCapra, among others, had already done so quite powerfully—but his account allows us to see it as a historically specific phenomenon.
Nord chooses to end his story with Claude Lanzmann’s documentary “Shoah” (1985), which helped popularize a new term for referring to the Jewish genocide. Lanzmann’s film famously eschewed archival footage, preferring instead to focus exclusively on the voices of witnesses, especially Jewish survivors. Nord plausibly argues that in its focus on the Jewish dimension of the tragedy, “Shoah” marked a definitive break with prior narratives of the Deportation, as well as with the Christianizing logic of the Holocaust paradigm. But while “Shoah” is undeniably a masterpiece, and deserves the place of honor Nord accords it, one might have wished for a more open-ended conclusion to the book, one that surveys other possibilities for representing the Deportation that have emerged since the 1980s. To what extent does the representation of the Deportation remain a subject of controversy in France? How has the return of antisemitism in the new millennium caused us to see this history, and the battle over its memory, in a new way? It’s a sign of how impressive the book is that the only real criticism I had is that I wanted more of it. Despite the fact that it ends in the 1980s, After the Deportation is so comprehensive, so carefully argued and clearly written, that I have no doubt it will become the definitive reference work on France’s battles over the memory of WWII.
As I reflect on my class on “Representing the Holocaust” in light of After the Deportation, I now understand that the books I regularly assign—for instance, Wiesel’s Night and Delbo’s Auschwitz and After—differ not just in their style, but in their understanding of what it is they are representing. Wiesel sought to give voice to a Jewish tragedy in terms that would be legible to Christian readers. Although Delbo was also writing about Auschwitz, she was not writing about the Holocaust: her object was the Deportation, and the spirit of solidarity that enabled some (mostly non-Jews) to survive it. Likewise, more separates Resnais and Lanzmann than a willingness to use archival footage. Although seemingly similar, the subject of their films was in fact entirely different: Resnais was interested in a perpetual phenomenon of evil that manifested itself in the Nazi concentration camp; Lanzmann probed the singularity of the genocide. Delbo and Resnais arguably do not belong in a class on the Holocaust at all, although the repertoire of images they created resonate powerfully in later works about the Jewish tragedy. Lanzmann arguably does not belong in a class on the “Holocaust” either, since he rejected the Christianizing paradigm contained within that term. And yet, all of these works are crucial for understanding the narrative and cinematic possibilities for representing the unimaginable destruction of six million Jews. I will continue to teach these works, and to teach them together, but I will now do so with a new understanding of the complexities involved in such an enterprise. Nord’s masterful history allows us to understand these varied representations as part of a conversation, one that preoccupied generations of French people in the half-century following WWII, and shows no signs of abating.
Avec After the Deportation: Memory Battles in Postwar France, Philip Nord réalise un ouvrage d’une grande ambition que le lecteur/la lectrice lira avec le plus vif intérêt et le plus grand profit.
La déportation vers les camps de concentration ou d’extermination de l’Europe centrale et orientale d’environ 160 000 victimes, le système concentrationnaire, forment, pour la France, le chapitre le plus sombre de l’histoire de la seconde guerre mondiale. Comment ceux qui l’ont subi et ont survécu, ceux qui en ont été témoins, en ont-ils élaboré le souvenir et l’ont-ils transmis ? C’est l’interrogation première de Nord qui se donne donc pour objet l’étude de la mémoire de la déportation en France dans le demi-siècle qui a suivi la fin de la seconde guerre mondiale, soit entre 1945 et les années 1990. Si, à première vue, le sujet n’est pas neuf, l’auteur l’aborde sous un nouveau jour en soumettant à son analyse l’ensemble des œuvres littéraires ou plastiques par lesquelles les survivants de la déportation, écrivains ou artistes, ont mis en forme et ont donné sens à leur expérience et l’ont communiquée. Or il ne s’en tient pas au « répertoire d’images et de techniques narratives » (3) déployé par les acteurs, mais ouvre largement son compas et évoque toutes les forces en présence —-partis et mouvements politiques, associations, individus, institutions —, leur action, leur discours, leurs relations, comme leurs intérêts partagés ou conflictuels. L’ensemble est replacé dans le contexte politique changeant, qui ne manque pas d’infléchir les actions des protagonistes : tant la politique intérieure en France que la guerre froide, la guerre d’Algérie, les guerres du Vietnam, la guerre des Six jours au Moyen-Orient, etc. Vaste programme qui a exigé de l’auteur le dépouillement et l’analyse d’un immense volume d’archives et d’ouvrages, la visite de nombreux sites, l’étude de la genèse et de la réalisation de nombreux films. De ce travail colossal, Nord réussit à présenter les résultats dans un texte alerte et limpide qui fait entrer le lecteur dans le vif du sujet et le familiarise avec chaque acteur pris dans son ou ses réseaux de relations.
A une première partie intitulée « Héros et martyrs » – six chapitres, 357 pages-, fait suite une seconde partie qui, sous le titre « Shoah, » introduit le cas des juifs déportés et assassinés, qui n’occupaient qu’une place discrète dans les premiers temps de la commémoration, et donc dans la première partie de l’ouvrage. C’est leur tragédie que devient désormais centrale dans les productions littéraires ou filmiques mais aussi dans des débats qui ont fait date : l’affaire Finaly, les relations judéo-chrétiennes, et l’émergence du négationnisme notamment. C’est alors toute une bibliothèque que l’auteur présente aux lecteurs, des premiers témoins à une nouvelle génération, d’Elie Wiesel ou de Shaul Friedländer à Romain Gary, Georges Perec ou Patric Modiano; toute une filmographie aussi : le dernier chapitre est légitimement consacré à l’œuvre de Claude Lanzman Shoah. Cette partie est tout à fait remarquable par l’abondance de la documentation, la finesse de l’analyse, et la clarté de l’exposé.
L’auteur ayant pris le parti de couvrir toutes les expressions de la mémoire, on voudrait s’interroger ici sur des volets qu’il a passés sous silence.
C’est d’abord la pratique publique précoce d’apposition de plaques commémoratives sur la façade d’immeubles et d’écoles d’où ont été emmenées les victimes juives ; et la pratique plus spontanée, venue de la base, de la pose de plaques sur les immeubles populaires des quartiers où des juifs résidaient avant la guerre, à Paris comme en province.
C’est aussi la production de lieux de mémoire locaux : ceux des camps de concentration et des lieux de refuge d’enfants juifs : le camp des Mille (Bouches-du-Rhône) et son comité de coordination pour la sauvegarde du camp, fondé en 1985 ; Gurs, Rivesaltes, Isieux, Le Chambon sur Lignon reconnu par Israël comme Juste parmi les nations, Drancy, etc. Autant de lieux de commémoration, de visites scolaires, d’événements culturels qui prolongent et renouvellent la transmission de la mémoire des déportations et des camps. Autant de formes de ritualisation et de routinisation du souvenir par un marquage de tout l’espace national.
A ce titre, il semble que le travail pédagogique des historiens, notamment en direction du public scolaire, méritait aussi une pause.
Dans l’inventaire iconographique, on aurait aimé voir évoqué le personnage de Zoran Music, survivant des camps, dont l’œuvre graphique porte directement sur le monde concentrationnaire et a fait l’objet de plusieurs expositions à Paris –il était au surplus un ami très proche du président François Mitterrand.
La télévision n’étant entrée dans les foyers français qu’assez lentement, on peut s’interroger sur ce qu’aurait révélé l’exploration de la presse écrite, encore largement distribuée, qui rendait compte des œuvres comme des débats qui font l’objet de cette étude. Par exemple, quel écho le procès de Nuremberg a-t-il eu dans les médias français et auprès du public ? De même, les ouvrages littéraires ont-ils eu un impact dans le grand public qui ne les lisait sans doute pas ? Et s’il en a eu, comment l’évaluer ?
Ces différents points pouvaient être brièvement développés. Reste que Philip Nord a réussi, avec ce livre passionnant, à offrir un tableau très neuf et très riche des protagonistes et de leurs actions.
I am grateful to Professors Bourg, Caron, Samuels, and Valensi for the time and critical attention they have devoted to my book. I would be remiss were I not to add to their number the names of Diane Labrosse and Carolyn Dean. It was Labrosse who hatched the idea for this forum and who, in partnership with Dean, turned the idea into the present exchange. They have my thanks.
The subject of my book is the Deportation and how it was remembered and memorialized in France from the end of the Second World War down to the final decades of the twentieth century. Among the deported were many categories of people, with résistants and Jews making up the preponderance. I wanted to write about Deportation memory in its multiple manifestations, according all due attention to the Jewish side of the story, but without eliding other expressions of memory. So, this is not a book about Holocaust memory alone, however much Holocaust memory looms in what I have to say. The virtue of this approach, in my view, is twofold. I don’t want to say that Resistance sacrifice has been ignored in today’s world, but it does take a backseat to the Jewish tragedy, enough so that forms of commemoration associated with the Resistance have been sidelined, if not forgotten. I wanted to recover that past, but even as I did, I wanted to underline the singularity of the Holocaust, which a comparative approach with other experiences of Deportation enabled me to do.
It didn’t take me long to discover three things. First, that Deportation memory, right from the Liberation, was a bone of contention, hence my choice of title, “memory battles,” a phrase borrowed from French colleagues. Communists and Gaullists were among the principal combatants, but others soon entered the lists: non-Communist leftists, Cold Warriors, Catholics, and Jews. The presence of Jews in the debate was, for me, something of a surprise. I shared in the general assumption, which is still prevalent among publics both here and in France, that Jews had been silent on the matter of the Holocaust in the war’s immediate aftermath, not finding a voice until much later. A little reading made clear that my surprising finding was not mine alone but that others had already come to the same realization—François Azouvi and Simon Perego in France and Laura Jockusch here in the United States. A third discovery touched on the matter of narrative. The various currents or familles d’esprit that I identified were not content to remember the dead but had stories to tell about them that gave meaning to tragedy and that instructed those who had survived it what values to live by in the present. These narratives, moreover, took more than one form. They might be etched in stone and bronze, and in fact, when I settled down to archival research, it was with deportee monuments that I began. But they might also take the form of films, memoirs, novels, paintings, and so on. What struck me right away was how large the corpus was and how imaginative. But then again, didn’t that make sense? Representation is never adequate to its subject, all the more so when the subject—the Deportation—is so out of the norm. Survivors and artists were bound to push the “limits of representation.” I wanted to know how so and with what results. It was crucial, then, to engage with the work in question, to formulate readings and interpretations, and in this, I was aided by a substantial and illuminating secondary literature. It is not a revelation to say that the postwar decades were a moment of exceptional creativity in French culture, but less obvious is the role that Deportation-themed material played in this burst of invention.
These initial findings raised a series of questions. It is often the practice, and I have done it myself, to teach literature and movies by and about Resistance deportees alongside material having to do with the Holocaust. Yet, does it make sense to do so, if the experiences of Resistance and Jewish deportees, even though similar in some respects, were not identical? Maurice Samuels’s commentary lays out the terms of this pedagogical dilemma, working its way toward a solution, which I for one am disposed to endorse.
A second problem has to with the emergence over time of Holocaust memory. For sure, the diversity of Deportation narratives simplified. Some of the change I attributed to Charles de Gaulle’s return to power in 1958 and the Gaullist state’s capacity to rally competitors under its own, unifying banner. But eventually even the Gaullist version of events came to fade. The commemoration of Resistance sacrifice was eclipsed by a new memory regime, centered on the Shoah. In the book, I do not pronounce on whether or not this was a good thing. I do note, however, that the “experience of eclipse” was one “that not all Resistance deportees accepted with equanimity” (4) and that there are commentators today who find the current preoccupation with the Jewish tragedy excessive, enough so that they mull the possibility of a “surfeit of memory” (5). Whatever protestations, then and now, that the amplification of Holocaust memory generated, the fact of it was real, and it was an epochal shift that required an explanation.
Others have addressed this issue, focusing on turning points such as the 1961 Eichmann trial or the Arab-Israeli War of 1967. I don’t ignore these events, but turn my attention elsewhere, first to Catholic-Jewish dialogue. That dialogue might be amicable, with Catholic editors and intellectuals extending to Jewish voices patronage and platforms from which they might be heard. It might also be polemical and hard-hitting. The point, though, was that the exchange helped to place the Jewish story in the public eye. In pursuing this line of inquiry, I was following in the footsteps of Samuel Moyn.
I also took a page from Henry Rousso. After the war, the French public tried its best to minimize the complicities of the Vichy era and found reassurance in Gaullist and Communist stories of Resistance derring-do. But then, as Rousso tells it, a generation of mirror-breakers, the generation of ’68, rose up to unsettle the conscience of their elders. Vichy had been a collaborationist regime and the French nation itself all too willing to play along. I too, following Rousso, was moved to write about the importance of generational change, although what I wanted to pin down was that change’s impact on Holocaust memory. Jewish militants of memory, in my account, were many of them ex-sixty-eighters, and they brought a sixty-eighter’s insolence and iconoclasm to the cause of Holocaust remembrance. In pursuit of that cause, moreover, they brought to bear the full repertoire of sixty-eighter methods, from sit-ins, to courtroom antics, to street protests. They made the French public sit up and take notice.
My commentators have been generous in their summing up of my arguments, doing a better, more fulsome job in fact than the sketch I just provided. They add words of praise, which are always welcome, but they also raise issues and, in doing so, point the way to further inquiry. As I see it, three lines of criticism have been proposed. The first and most telling one has to do with my accounting of how Holocaust memory, always a presence, emerged from the pack and, in the concluding decades of the last century, came to occupy center stage. The second touches on lacunae. And the last has to do with the way I end the book and the yet larger issue, raised by Julian Bourg, of the relationship between memory and history.
I devote two chapters of the book to Christian-Jewish relations, the first one dealing with Catholics and Jews in conversation about the Holocaust, the second one with polemics: the historian Jules Isaac’s polemics against the Church’s millennial “teaching of contempt” (Isaac’s phrase), the bruising confrontations engendered by the Finaly Affair, and the disputatious gestation of the papal declaration Nostra Aetate. In the book’s introduction, I write of “lingering postwar anti-Semitism” (3), and such sentiments are very much on display in these chapters. Bourg’s commentary characterizes the tone of the interfaith exchange as “challenging, complicated, and tense,” which I believe is a fair assessment of the atmosphere I was trying to convey. I do not mean to play down the era’s bigotry. Even well-meaning Catholic interlocutors, François Mauriac being a prime example, let fly with slurs. What I wanted to suggest, however, was that Catholic writers like Mauriac and publishers like Paul Flamand (who was André Schwarz-Bart’s and Saul Friedländer’s editor as well Elie Wiesel’s after publication of La Nuit) were making a serious effort to come to grips with their own, vexed feelings about Jews, which were rooted not just in prejudice but also in genuine theological differences, and that they learned in the process to alter the way they thought. The catastrophe that had befallen European Jewry in the war had something to do with this sea-change, but the actual experience of exchanging views with Jews in print or face-to-face was also transformative. Jews spoke up for themselves, often in acerbic and at times accusatory tones, and there were Catholics who were willing to listen and to take stock.
I do want to claim that the Finaly Affair played a part in this aggiornamento. The fact of the Affair is significant in itself, an indication that what happened to France’s Jews during the war, as exemplified by what happened to Robert and Gérald Finaly, was not altogether hushed up in the supposedly silent fifties. Vicki Caron is right to stress the bitter feelings that the controversy engendered. The clash, as she notes, resuscitated awful memories of another affair from a century earlier, the Mortara Affair, when Church authorities in the Papal States sanctioned what amounted to the kidnapping of a Jewish child, Edgardo Mortara, whom an all too zealous nurse had arranged to have baptized. That said, I would make a number of additional observations. The Finaly Affair changed minds, Mauriac’s among them. Edgardo Mortara died a Catholic priest. The Finaly brothers were in the end turned over to surviving family members, and they live today in Israel. In this measure, the Finaly Affair, unlike its predecessor, had a positive resolution. Rabbi Jacob Kaplan, a leading protagonist on the Jewish side, acknowledged as much. The Affair’s denouement, he wrote to a co-religionist, was of “great importance for the relations between Church and Synagogue” (282). And these relations began to improve, even under Pius XII’s papacy. It made a difference that the Pope’s confessor, Father Augustin Bea, favored a rapprochement, and he came to Paris looking for interlocutors, developing working relations not just with Rabbi Kaplan but also with Jules Isaac. I don’t want to minimize how important to the warming of interfaith relations was John XXIII’s elevation to the throne of Saint Peter in 1958, but he didn’t act alone. It was, of course, his idea to convene Vatican II. It was Isaac, however, who persuaded the Holy Father during a celebrated 1960 audience to include the Church’s teachings on the Jews on the conclave’s agenda, and it was Bea, now a Cardinal, who shepherded Nostra Aetate into being in the face of sometime stiff opposition. He was assisted in this enterprise by a cohort of laymen and clerics, whose contribution to the fashioning of Nostra Aetate John Connelly has admirably described elsewhere.
My readers have also proposed refinements in the way I handle the generational shift of the 1960s and 1970s and how that worked to boost Holocaust memory. I talk about the crystallization to a new consciousness of particularity in the wake of ‘68’s failures and the receding of the era’s Marxist wave. That is fine, so far as it goes, but Bourg lays out ways in which the analysis might have been elaborated further, and I think he is correct to do so. I had wanted to make the case that France’s Jewish world, decimated as it was by wartime persecution, still remained vital in the postwar era. It did not cower in silence but reconstructed itself and made known to itself, as to others, its pain, and this prior to the arrival in large number of Sephardic refugees from France’s crumbling North African empire. But that wave of new arrivals did indeed come crashing upon France’s shores, which reconfigured Jewish life in ways that I don’t address. How did the Sephardic turn in Jewish life shape the emergence of Holocaust memory in France? This is a question well worth further consideration.
Second of all, sixty-eighter élan fractured in the face of a Gaullist counter-attack, sending splinters this way and that, which found concrete expression in a welter of new social movements. This development too formed part of the back-drop to an emergent politics of Jewish identity. I might add, now that Bourg has gotten the discussion going, that the seventies witnessed a back-to-the-land movement that was paralleled by an explosion of public interest in memoirs and histories about village life and the rural ‘World We Have Lost.’ The petering out of the postwar modernization drive and the retreat of Gaullist and Communist narratives about the Occupation era cleared the way for identitarian politics of more than one kind. Jews were part of this story, but it was a story that impacted other groups and in fact consumed the nation as a whole. Bourg himself has written evocatively about these questions, and it is to be hoped that he will write more.
Bourg’s criticism is that I have not cast the generational net wide enough; Caron’s is that I do not credit how enduring the silence about Vichy’s complicity in the Final Solution was, a silence that was not broken until the 1970s “when,” as she writes, “a new generation of Jewish militants came to age and drove the narrative in a different direction.” I would say three things in my defense. This is grosso modo the very position staked out in the book. In chapter 10, titled “Generation,” I talk about the determined and imaginative efforts of Jewish militants to bring the Holocaust back home, to establish, that is, that the Holocaust happened, not just in the faraway East, but in France itself. These efforts entailed a concerted campaign to make sure that the Frenchmen who were implicated in the deportation of France’s Jews were brought to trial but also and not least of all the mapping of a new memorial landscape, a “topography of grief,” that was centered on sites specific to Jewish memory like the Vél d’hiv, the transit camp at Drancy, and the Izieu children’s home.
Does this mean that Vichy’s complicities were not spoken about previously? Not altogether, for as important a watershed as the 1970s were, Jews and not just Jews had brought up the subject before on many occasions. Caron mentions some of the examples that I cite, but there are more. On one subject, however, there was a real silence. Some people were willing to point an accusing finger at Vichy, but it was a rare bird who was prepared to contemplate the implication of ordinary French men and women in the implementation of the Final Solution. Such exonerating indulgence ceased to be the order of the day in the last century’s concluding decades. So, the subject of complicity has its complexities, more so than the blunt instrument of a silence-to-voice interpretive framework makes allowance for.
As for lacunae, there are plenty. I do mention Louis Malle in the text (316) and in the notes (418, n11), but I do not accord his filmography the attention that it deserves. Zoran Music, however, is nowhere to be found, and this is a missed opportunity. He was a favorite of François Mitterrand’s, as Lucette Valensi notes. Mitterrand’s own problematic relations with France’s wartime past are well known and weave their way en filigrane through my text, but a treatment of Music’s work and Mitterrand’s appreciation of it might have provided a point of departure for dealing with the issue in a more thoroughgoing fashion. Valensi also remarks on the absence of any discussion of local or neighborhood commemorative activity. This, in my view, is an important criticism.
When I set to work, I was focused on the ‘high places’ of Deportation memory: the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp in Alsace, the Gaullist Memorial to Fighting France in the Paris suburb of Suresnes, the Mémorial aux Martyrs de la Déportation on the Île de la Cité, the Mémorial de la Shoah in the Marais, and the Communist corner of Père-Lachaise Cemetery. James Young’s magisterial The Texture of Memory analyzed Holocaust memorials in Germany, Poland, Israel, and America. France was not included, however, and I felt this was a gap I could help to fill in, complicating the subject along the way by including in the discussion monuments consecrated to the memory, not just of Jews murdered because they were Jews, but of résistants who died for a cause. The memorials themselves and how they were used on ritual occasions revealed just how varied those causes were. Communists were fighting fascism and its postwar heirs. Gaullists were fighting to defend France and its empire against an age-old German foe. Catholics fought to protect the spirit against the bloodlust of Nazi neo-paganism. And so on.
But the local figures nowhere in any of this, and it is not as though neighborhood memorials don’t exist. They do, for sure, in Paris where unsuspecting strollers will stumble upon a plaque here or a stele there, marking a site where Jews had been rounded up in preparation for deportation. A number of German municipalities have indeed inserted “stumble stones” (Stolpersteine) into the pavement to memorialize deported Jews who had once lived in homes or apartments nearby. Local memorials are not, of course, a new phenomenon. Think of Daniel Sherman’s work on Great War monuments aux morts, which proliferated across provincial France’s towns and villages in the interwar decades. I would like to make the claim, however, that local memory has come to take on even greater importance in recent decades. Think now of Sarah Gensburger’s work on the XIe arrondissement neighborhood where she lives. It is the site of the Bataclan theatre where a terrorist mass shooting took place in 2015. Local residents have created a multiplicity of impromptu memorials— a hodge-podge mix of flowers, candles, notes, and memorabilia of all kinds—to remember the victims. Nor is it just in France where this kind of grassroots memorialization has sprung up. The practice is a worldwide phenomenon. Neighborhoods and localities have stories of their own to tell, and, insofar as they’re doing so now more than ever, the why of it all has become that much more urgent.
Now let me turn to the final set of issues raised by my readers. The book’s last substantive chapter deals with Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah. I made that choice for several reasons. A monument, literal or figurative, stands at the center of most chapters, and Lanzmann’s oeuvre, in my view and in the view of others, is just that, a monument. The film, need it be said, had an impact on vocabulary. What Americans call the Holocaust, the French as often as not call the Shoah, and that’s thanks to Lanzmann. In addition, the film represents a powerful statement as to what the Shoah was. It was not the story of lucky survivors who contrived to cheat death and go on to build new lives. Rather, it was a film about death itself, the murder of two thirds of European Jewry, men, women, and children, who perished in the most poignant of solitudes, abandoned to a terrible fate by a world that looked the other way. Martyrdom, heroism, and resistance, these are powerful and redemptive themes, and they frame the narratives dealt with in my book’s first section, but they are not Lanzmann’s themes. So, yes, the Shoah was a singular catastrophe, unprecedented in its scale and means of execution. That is Lanzmann’s view, as it is my own. But was it an event “that transcends time”? Lanzmann seems to believe so, but on this point I part company with him. Here’s what I wrote about the matter: “…Lanzmann does indeed ring the Holocaust about with flame, like an island cut off from the flow of history. For an historian wedded to comparison and explanation, this is a step too far” (398).
Samuels wishes I had said more about Holocaust memory post-Shoah, and he is right to find fault. I will say a couple of things by way of a reply. The outpouring of Holocaust-related material in France in the last thirty years has been enormous, and I found the prospect of taking it on with the sustained attention it deserves too daunting. I know one line of inquiry I would have pursued: taking a close look at the literature crafted by the grandchildren of survivors, the efforts they made in memoir and imagination to recover a receding past through an inventory of objects left behind, conversations with aged relatives, and trips back to the scene of the crime in Eastern Europe. What I did do in my book’s epilogue is to sketch some of the ways the Holocaust story, whatever Lanzmann’s views about it as a stand-alone phenomenon, became once again entangled with other narratives. I zeroed in on two in particular, the first one homegrown, the second one spilling beyond France’s borders.
De Gaulle, it seems, is back in vogue. The translation of Julian Jackson’s splendid 2018 biography of the general (reviewed on this site) has been welcomed with open arms in France. A sympathetic biopic, as much focused on de Gaulle the family man as on de Gaulle the leader of Free France, was released earlier this year. And the keepers of the flame at Mont-Valérien have assembled a handsome coffee-table book on the monument and its history that will soon be published. De Gaulle, it is well known, styled himself the bearer of “a certain idea of France.” In President Jacques Chirac’s celebrated 1995 speech, acknowledging France’s implication in the Final Solution, he saluted the London-based de Gaulle as the incarnation of true France but also all those families back home whose “fraternal and heroic action” had saved “three quarters of the Jewish community” (385). Is France now being recast as a “nation of rescuers,” in Caron’s pithy phrase? I believe that is just what is happening, like it or not.
Also happening, like it or not, is the appropriation of Holocaust memory for more universalizing ends. The European Union created a Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2002, and three years later the United Nations grasped the relay baton and turned the day into a world event. Such moves reimagine the genocide, not as a singular catastrophe visited on Europe’s Jews, but as an emblem of pure evil. In this guise, the Holocaust may now travel the world (and back in time for that matter) to describe horrific experience wherever and whenever it happens, tapping into the emotional charge the word Holocaust has accreted to itself consequent on the kind of memory work I track in my book. I admit to more than a little ambivalence about such developments. The well-intentioned reconfigure the Holocaust as a negative memory, a foil against which to imagine a better world where human rights are acknowledged and safeguarded. Policy-makers do the same, invoking the memory of a genocide past to legitimize humanitarian interventions intended to forestall genocides impending. It’s not at all clear, however, that anyone asked Jews how they feel about this, whether or not they want their losses mobilized in the service of someone else’s cause, however noble and grand. I say just this in my book’s epilogue (385).
What should be clear from the preceding is that memory studies are not about to drop off the scholarly agenda. History is pockmarked with instances of mass murder and genocide. People may lump them together, but it is worth reflecting on whether all catastrophes are the same. A verse from Lamentations (1:12) adorns the crypt wall of the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris. It reads: “Behold, and see if there be any pain like unto my pain.” It’s not hard to dwell on one’s own pain to the neglect of that of one’s neighbor, and sometimes that cannot be helped, because one’s own loss is so overwhelming. Thus, multiple memories of loss take form, standing alone, but also competing and intersecting. And multiple forms of commemoration rise up alongside. It is the historian’s task to reflect on how that ebb and flow of memory unfolds. The fact of that ebb and flow, however, is undeniable. Indeed, the preoccupation with memory seems to be greater than ever in today’s world. States, neighborhoods, and activist bodies of all kinds have gotten involved. This fact too calls out for historical explanation.
 Laura Jockusch, Collect and Record! Jewish Documentation in Early Postwar Europe (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012); François Azouvi, Le mythe du grand silence: Auschwitz, les Français, la mémoire (Paris: Fayard, 2012).
 Henry Rousso, The Vichy Syndrome: History and Memory in France since 1944 trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994).
 See the links at “Model of the synagogue in Zabłudów (Poland),” https://www.mahj.org/en/discover-collections-key-works/model-of-the-synagogue-in-zabludow-poland.
 Elie Wiesel, Night  (New York: Bantam Books, 1960). André Schwarz-Bart, The Last of the Just  (New York: Atheneum, 1960). Anna Langfus, The Whole Land Brimstone  (New York: Pantheon, 1962). Piotr Rawicz, Blood from the Sky  (New York: Harcourt, 1964). Frédéric Rossif , dir., Le temps du ghetto (1961; Paris: Les films de la Pléiade, 35 mm.).
 Philip Nord, Impressionists and Politics: Art and Democracy in the Nineteenth Century (New York: Routledge, 2000).
 Saul Friedlander, ed., Probing the Limits of Representation: Nazism and the “Final Solution” (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992); Hayden White, “The Modernist Event,” in The Persistence of History: Cinema, Television, and the Modern Event, ed. Vivian Sobchak (New York: Routledge, 1996).
 John Connelly, From Enemy to Brother: The Revolution in Catholic Teaching on the Jews (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012).
 See Nord’s pioneering The Republican Moment: Struggles for Democracy in Nineteenth-Century France (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992). Nord tracks Catholicism as a political “subculture” (22) in his France’s New Deal: From the Thirties to the Postwar Era (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012).
 Camille Robcis, “Catholics, the ‘Theory of Gender,’ and the Turn to the Human in France: A New Dreyfus Affair?” The Journal of Modern History 87:4 (December 2015): 892–923. DOI: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/683599 James Chappel, Catholic Modern: The Challenge of Totalitarianism and the Remaking of the Church (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018); Piotr Kosicki, Catholics on the Barricades: Poland, France, and “Revolution,” 1939–1956 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018).
 Yaïr Auron, Les Juifs d’extrême-gauche en mai 68: une génération révolutionnaire marquée par la Shoah (Paris: Albin Michel, 1998); Alain Finkielkraut, The Imaginary Jew , intro. David Suchoff, tr. Kevin O’Neill and David Suchoff (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994); Judith Friedlander, Vilna on the Seine: Jewish Intellectuals in France since 1968 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990); Sarah Hammerschlag, The Figural Jew: Politics and Identity in Postwar French Thought (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2010).
 Pierre Nora, ed., Les lieux de mémoire, 3 vols. (Paris: Gallimard, 1984–1992); Jay Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995); Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975).
 Jean Baudrillard, Forget Foucault , 2nd ed. (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2007); Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Forget 68 (Paris: Éditions de l’aube, 2008).
 François Azouvi, Le Mythe du grand silence. Auschwitz, les Français, la mémoire (Paris: Fayard, 2012), 2nd ed. (Paris: Folio-Gallimard, 2015). For an excellent review essay on the subject of memory and the Holocaust, see Simon Perego, “La Mémoire avant la mémoire? Retour sur l’historiographie du souvenir de la Shoah dans la France de l’après-guerre,” Revue d’histoire 145 (January-March 2020): 77-90.
 Nord claims that the total number of deportees to camps in Central and Eastern Europe during World War II was 160,000, of whom 76,000 were Jews and 41,000 were résistants (1, 406 n1). The figure of 66,645 non-Jewish deportees from German occupied zones is given on the website of the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Déportation Livre Mémorial (partie I : Les départs des zones occupées), http://www.bddm.org/liv/index_liv.php. I thank Emma Kuby for her help in locating this information.
 Cited in Paula E. Hyman, The Jews of Modern France (Berkeley: University of Calif. Press, 1998), 201.
 Papon served in the cabinet of Prime Minister Raymond Barre under President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing from 1978-1981. On Touvier, see Ted Morgan, “L’Affaire Touvier: Opening Old Wounds,” New York Times Magazine, 1 October 1989.
 Robert O. Paxton, Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order, 1940-1944 (New York: Knopf, 1972) and Michael R. Marrus and Robert O. Paxton, Vichy France and the Jews (New York: Basic Books, 1981).
 Nord does not discuss Ophuls’s film, Hôtel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie (1988), which dealt in part with the important role played by Serge Klarsfeld and his wife Beate in bringing the war criminals to trial.
 In his film Sobibór 14 octobre 1943, 16 heures (2001) Lanzmann focused on the prisoner uprising in the extermination camp of Sobibór in eastern Poland.
 On this subject see Emma Kuby, Political Survivors: The Resistance, the Cold War, and the Fight against Concentration Camps after 1945 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2019).
 Olga Wormser-Migot, Le Système concentrationnaire nazi (1933-1945) (Paris: PUF, 1968); Charlotte Delbo, Auschwitz, et après (Paris: Éditions Minuit, 1970-71). For the English edition, see Delbo, Auschwitz and After, trans. Rosette C. Lamont (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995).
 Georges Wellers, De Drancy à Auschwitz (Paris: Éditions du centre, 1946); Joseph Billig, Le Commissariat général aux questions juives, 3 vols. (Paris: Éditions du centre, 1955-1960).
 Henry Rousso, The Vichy Syndrome: History and Memory in France since 1944 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991).
 This is a point made by Azouvi as well when he differentiates between a “Vichy syndrome,” that actually existed, and an “Auschwitz syndrome” that did not. Azouvi (2012), 284. See also Paul Bernard-Nouraud, “François Azouvi, Le Mythe du grand silence. Auschwitz, les Français, la mémoire,” Revue pluridisciplinaire de la Fondation Auschwitz 115 (2013): 180-185, esp. 181.
 André Schwarz-Bart, Le Dernier des justes (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1959). For the English edition, see André Schwarz-Bart, The Last of the Just, trans. Stephen Becker (New York: Atheneum Publishers, 1960).
 Nord claims that there was little antisemitism in post-war France (393). There is, however, considerable evidence to the contrary. See for example Maud Mandel, In the Aftermath of Genocide: Armenians and Jews in Twentieth-Century France (Durham: Duke University Press, 2003), 58.
 Jésus et Israel (Paris: Albin Michel, 1948). For the abridged English edition, see Jules Isaac, Jesus and Israel, trans. Sally Gran (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1971).
 For a brief summary of de Lubac’s role, see Richard Crane and Brenna Moore, “Cracks in the Theology of Contempt: The French Roots of Nostra Aetate,” Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations 8 (2013), 1-28, esp. 18-24.
 Jules Renard, Journal, 1887-1910 (Paris: Robert Laffont, 1935), 386, cited in Richard Griffiths, The Use of Abuse: The Polemics of the Dreyfus Affair and its Aftermath (New York: Berg, 1991), 27.
 Letter from Claudel to Péguy, 10 Aug. 1910, in Henri de Lubac and Jean Bastaire, Claudel et Péguy (Paris: Aubier, 1974), 31-31, cited in Richard Griffiths, The Use of Abuse, 28.
 W.D. Halls, Politics, Society and Christianity in Vichy France (Oxford and Providence: Berg, 1995), 37-38; Michèle Cointet, L’Église sous Vichy, 1940-1945: La Repentance en question (Paris: Perrin, 1995), 9-10.
 Cited in Vicki Caron, Uneasy Asylum: France and the Jewish Refugee Crisis, 1933-1942 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999), 283. See also Pierre Birnbaum, Un Mythe politique: La République juive de Léon Blum à Pierre Mendès France (Paris: Fayard, 1988), 245-246.
 Claudel to the Grand Rabbi, 24 Dec. 1941, Centre de documentation juive contemporaine, archives (CDJC) XXVC-222; also CDJC CCXX-112; Alliance israélite universelle, archives, Consistoire central (AIU-CC) Boîte 5. See also M. Cointet, L’Église sous Vichy, 199; Halls, Politics, Society and Christianity, 107; Jacques Duquesne, Les Catholiques français sous l’occupation (Paris: Bernard Grasset, 1966), 262-263; H.R. Kedward, Resistance in Vichy France: A Study of Ideas and Motivation in the Southern Zone, 1940-1942 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978), 183. According to Kedward, this letter was published in the Resistance press in March 1942.
 Elie Wiesel, La Nuit (Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1958). For the first English edition, see Elie Wiesel, Night, trans. Marion Wiesel (New York: Hill and Wang, 1960). For a more recent edition, see Elie Wiesel, Night, trans. Stella Rodway (New York: Bantam Books, 1982).
 On the Finaly Affair, see the recent article by David I. Kertzer, “The Pope, the Jews, and the Secrets in the Archives,” The Atlantic, 27 August 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/08/the-popes-jews/615736/, accessed 28 August 2020.
 Le Figaro, 11 Feb. 1953, cited in Nicolas Baudy, “The Affair of the Finaly Children: France Debates a Drama of Faith and the Family,” Commentary 15 (June 1953), 547-558. See also Joyce Block Lazarus, In the Shadow of Vichy: The Finaly Affair (New York: Peter Lang, 2008), 81; P. Hyman, The Jews of Modern France, 188-189.
 Cited in André Kaspi, “L’Affaire des enfants Finaly,” l’Histoire 76 (March 1985), https://www.l’histoire.fr/laffaire-des-enfants-finaly, accessed 20 Oct. 2020.
 Kaspi, “L’Affaire des enfants Finaly.”
 See H. I. Marrou, letter either to Maurice Vanikoff or Jacques Maudale, 24 Mar. 1953, Archives nationales (AN) 73 AJ 595.
 P. Hyman, The Jews of Modern France,149. The Mortara Affair of 1858 was ignited when Vatican agents kidnapped a six-year-old Jewish child, Edgardo Mortara, in Bologna, which at the time was a Vatican territory. His nurse had baptized him after he had fallen ill, and she feared for his life. Edgardo Mortara was never returned to his parents. This event ignited an international controversy over the legitimacy of forced conversions of Jewish children, especially since the French government came to the defense of the Jewish family. See David I. Kertzer, The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara (New York: Knopf, 1997).
 Daniella Doron, Jewish Youth and Identity in Postwar France: Rebuilding Family and Nation (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015), 130.
 Celia Deutsch, “Personal Relationship, Rescue, and Resistance,” paper delivered at panel: “French Catholics during World War II,” American Catholic Historical Association Session 17, American Historical Association Conference, New York City, 5 January 2020.
 Arch. Archbishop Lyon, Fonds Gerlier, Box 211 (corresp. Finaly Affair).
 Richard F. Crane, “Jacques Maritain, The Mystery of Israel, and the Holocaust,” The Catholic Historical Review 95:1 (January 2009): 25-56, esp. 48-49.
 “Pope John XXIII and Judaism,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_John_XXIII_and_Judaism, accessed 21 October 2020.
 Cited in “When the Catholic Church Embraced ‘Abraham’s Stock,’” The Jewish Week, 23 October 2015, 19-21.
 Eric Conan and Henry Rousso, Vichy, un passé qui ne passe pas (Paris: Fayard, 1994), 269-270 (The English edition is Vichy: An Ever-present Past, trans. Nathan Bracher (Hanover: University Press of New England 1998).
 Pierre Sauvage, dir., Weapons of the Spirit, 1989.
 Sarah Gensburger, “From Jerusalem to Paris: The Institutionalization of the Category of Righteous of France,” in The Rescue of Jews in France and its Empire during World War II: History and Memory, special issue of French Politics, Culture and Society 30:2 (Summer 2012), 150-171.
 David Rousset, L’Univers concentrationnaire (Paris: Éditions du Pavois, 1946).
 Although Elie Wiesel is discussed extensively in this book, this aspect of his thought is not discussed here.
 Elie Wiesel, La Nuit (Paris: Minuit, 1958); Charlotte Delbo Auschwitz et après (Paris: Minuit, 1970). When I teach these works in English, I use: Elie Wiesel, Night, trans. Marion Wiesel (New York: Hill and Wang, 2006); and Charlotte Delbo, Auschwitz and After, trans. Rosette C. Lamont (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995).
 Robert O. Paxton, Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order, 1940-1944 (New York: Knopf, 1972).
 Henry Rousso, Le syndrome de Vichy (1944-1987)(Paris: Le Seuil, 1987).
 See, for example, Laura Jockusch, “Breaking the Silence: The Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine in Paris and the Writing of Holocaust History in Liberated France,” in David Cesarini and Erk J. Sundquist, eds., After the Holocaust: Challenging the Myth of Silence (New York: Routledge, 2012), 67-81.
 Robert Antelme, L’espèce humaine, récit (Paris: Gallimard, 1957).
 David Rousset, L’univers concentrationnaire (Paris: Pavois, 1946).
 Olga Wormser-Migot, Système concentrationnaire nazi 1933-1945 (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1968); Michel Borwicz, Ecrits des condamnés à mort sous l’occupation allemande (1939-1945): étude sociologique (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1954).
 Michael Rothberg, Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009).
 André Schwarz-Bart, Dernier des justes (Paris: Seuil, 1959); and Anna Langfus, Bagages de sable (Paris: Gallimard, 1962).
 See, for example, Raymond Aron, De Gaulle, Israël et les Juifs (Paris: Plon, 1968); and Pierre Nora, “Mémoire et identité juives dans la France contemporaine. Les grands detérminants,” Le Débat 131 (September-October 2004), 22.
 Bruno Bettelheim, Surviving and Other Essays (New York: Knopf, 1979). See also Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub, Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis and History (New York: Routledge, 1991).
 Dominick LaCapra, Representing the Holocaust: History, Theory, Trauma (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994).
 Elie Wiesel, La Nuit (Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1956) ; Shaul Friedländer, Où mène le souvenir (Paris : Seuil, 1978) ; When Memory Comes (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1979), Romain Gary, Les Racines du ciel (Paris: Gallimard, 1956); The Ski Bum (New York: Harper & Row, 1964): La Danse de Gengis Cohn (Paris: Gallimard, 1967); Le Sens de ma vie: Entretien (Paris: Gallimard, 2014); David Bellos, Romain Gary: A Tall Story (London: Harvill Secker, 2010); Georges Perec, W ou le souvenir d’enfance (Paris: Denöel, 1975); Patrick Modiano, La Place de l’Etoile (Paris: Gallimard, 1968).
 François Azouvi, Le Mythe du grand silence. Auschwitz, les Français, la mémoire (Paris: Fayard, 2012); Simon Perego, Pleurons-les. Les Juifs de Paris et la commémoration de la Shoah (1944-1967) (Paris: Champ Vallon, 2020); Laura Jockusch, Collect and Record! Jewish Holocaust Documentation in Early Postwar Europe (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).
 Annette Wieviorka, L’Ère du témoin (Paris: Plon, 1998); Joan B. Wolf, Harnessing the Holocaust: The Politics of Memory in France (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004).
 Samuel Moyn, A Holocaust Controversy: The Treblinka Affair in Postwar France (Waltham: Brandeis University Press, 2005).
 Henry Rousso, Le Syndrome de Vichy (1944-198…) (Paris: Le Seuil, 1987).
 See Vicki Caron’s commentary for a summary of the Finaly Affair.
 André Schwarz-Bart, Le Dernier des Justes (Paris: Le Seuil, 1959); Saul Friedländer, Quand vient le souvenir (Paris: Le Seuil, 1978); Elie Wiesel, La Nuit (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1958); Wiesel, L’Aube (Paris: Le Seuil, 1960).
 John Connelly, From Enemy to Brother: The Revolution in Catholic Teaching on the Jews, 1933-1965 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012).
 Sarah Farmer, Rural Inventions: The French Countryside after 1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020).
 Julian Bourg, From Revolution to Ethics: May 1968 and Contemporary French Thought (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007).
 On such complexities, see also Perego, Pleurons-les, ch. 8.
 James Young, The Texture of Meaning: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993).
 Daniel J. Sherman, The Construction of Memory in Interwar France (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999).
 Sarah Gensburger, Memory on My Doorstep. Chronicles of the Bataclan Neighbourhood, 2015-2016, tr. Katharine Throssell (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2019).
 See, for example, Ivan Jablonka, Histoire des grands-parents que je n’ai pas eus (Paris: Le Seuil, 2012).
 Julian Jackson, De Gaulle (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018); De Gaulle, dir. Gabriel Le Bomin (2020); Le Mont-Valérien, 1 023 hommes fusillés pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Histoires intimes, mémoire nationale (Rennes: Éditions Ouest-France, 2021).
 Charles de Gaulle, Mémoires de guerre, 3 vols. (Paris: Plon, 1970).
 Daniel Levy and Natan Sznaider, The Holocaust and Memory in the Global Age (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2006).