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Except for six months of German occupation of Tunisia, the Jews of North Africa were far removed from Hitler's Europe. Yet, they were not to be spared by the Vichy regime that came out of the armistice.
Petain and his administration enacted legislation that stripped Algerian Jews of their French citizenship and extended the racial laws enacted in the French non-occupied territory to the three countries of the Maghreb. Children were driven from schools, civil servants were fired, and landowners were deprived of their property. Refugees, former enlisted volunteers in the French Legion, and political prisoners were thrown into labor camps in the Sahara.
Michel Abitbol, in this definitive study of the Vichy government's treatment of Jews in North Africa, documents the anti-Semitic measures the French authorities vigorously and independently enacted. Never had persecution in North Africa been prepared and carried out with such great ideological mobilization, nor with so much juridical care. Remarkably, all these policies were implemented by the regular French administration of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia who were, by and large, upstanding civil servants, more republican and anti-German than avowed "collaborateurs" or unprincipled opportunists. Leaving nothing to chance or to emotion, they were primarily concerned with work well done, looking with equal disdain on those whose humanitarian leanings made them want to soften the blows of the racial laws as well as on those who wanted to engage in "spontaneous" actions against Jews.
Abitbol shows the Petain regime taking its inspiration from anti-Semitic "models" totally alien to the Maghreb and employing vocabulary and methods that in Europe were to stake out the path to the Final Solution. Regardless of the opinions on the degree of foreign influence on the Vichy regime, it is undeniable that their anti-Jewish policies satisfied the longstanding interests and wishes of the local population. In the last analysis, then, the actions of the Vichy government are an ideal barometer by which to gauge the autonomy of their anti-Semitic inclinations.
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Michel Abitbol documents the extent to which the Vichy government systematically instituted and applied anti-Semitic measures in North Africa after 1940.About the Author:
Michel Abitbol was awarded the Ph.D. from the Sorbonne and is currently chairman of the Ben-Zvi Institute in Jerusalem. He has published studies on North African history and contemporary Jewry in French, Hebrew, and English. His books include The Corcos Family and the Contemporary History of Moroccan Jewry and French Colonialism, Traditional Rule and Modern Nationalism in North Africa.
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Book Description Wayne State University Press, 1989. Condition: Good. A+ Customer service! Satisfaction Guaranteed! Book is in Used-Good condition. Pages and cover are clean and intact. Used items may not include supplementary materials such as CDs or access codes. May show signs of minor shelf wear and contain limited notes and highlighting. Seller Inventory # 081431824X-2-4