French anti-semitism in WW II

Feb 18th, 2009, 01:34 AM
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In addition to the deportation museum , one of the most moving sites we visited on our last trip was the Shohah Memorial , with the wall of pictures of the children and the wall of names in the courtyard. It should be on every Paris list.

xyz123 thanks for the film suggestion
avalon is offline  
Feb 18th, 2009, 03:37 AM
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Why, Thank You sf7307!
Is that better sarcasm, or should I have tried to riff on your use of "shallow" in contrast to my "deep"?
Aramis is offline  
Feb 18th, 2009, 03:50 AM
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nytraveler: I wonder where your statement that the "entire French fleet was scuttled in Toulon harbor" has its basis in history. The fact is that the Royal Navy sank many French capital ships in the North African port of Mers-el-Kebir (port city for Oran) in July 1940, killing many French sailors and creating long-standing enmity between the two nations. True, a few French ships were scuttled in Toulon, but without loss of French lives. My source: I have been to Mers-el-Kebir and talked with survivors and eye witnesses.
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Feb 18th, 2009, 03:50 AM
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Thanks sf7307; Sometimes words define a person. Whatever Aramis meant by 'deep', I will take it as a complement. Iris
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Feb 18th, 2009, 04:41 AM
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This IS the Lounge as far as I can see. Is it not?
kenav is offline  
Feb 18th, 2009, 05:23 AM
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Hi; MANY/MOST French ships scuttled in Toulon, but not all. Good article ENJOY Iris
iris1745 is online now  
Feb 18th, 2009, 05:54 AM
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USNR - any history of France in World War II is bound to be complicated. The French people, needless to say, hardly appreciated the Nazi occupation. On the other hand, Petain, the leader of Vichy France, opposed the Free French, and was as authoritarian a leader as any Nazi, even if he and his regime was nominally independent.

The Allies hoped that French officers in North Africa would not put up resistance, but nothing was certain. Indeed Admiral Darlan, Petain's deputy, had been induced by Eisenhower to order French commanders not to resist the Allied landings. However, my source (written by editors of Time-Life) claims that Admiral Darlan ordered the French fleet out of Toulon [presumably to aid the Allied cause], but instead of obeying the crew scuttled their ships and went home. My source also claims that Darlan "tried to deliver Tunisia, but the [Nazis] got to the French commander ahead of him."

Thus, everyone had reason to hope for cooperation - but also to fear the opposite. This confusion of political loyalty, added to the usual confusion of wartime, meant that everyone suffered to some extent, not just the French in Africa as your survivors seem to imply.

I say 'everyone' since as you probably know, it wasn't just the Royal Navy that fought with the French in North Africa. Americans were also involved.

Again as you probably know, an American task force landed at three towns, including Fedala (close to Casablanca - yes, THAT Casablanca of film fame.) That film, plus the fact that my Dad served in North Africa, got me interested in this interesting section of war history.

While Gen George C Patton's forces were fighting the Vichy-loyal French on land, US battleship and cruiser guns shot up the French battleship 'Jean Bart'. This ship was apparently so new it was unfinished - but still had the use of her guns. During the attack some units of the French fleet left harbour to attack the transports of the task unit, but were sunk or beached by American warships.

To be fair to the French, in many places resistance was muted: possibly because of the confusion the French officers in North Africa felt as to where their true loyalty lay. (This confusion is illustrated well in the film Casablanca. In the film, the French police officer Renault is initially depicted as a hostile, Vichy-loyal officer, but by the close of the film seems to be changing his mind about his loyalties. )

However, you mention Mers-el Kabir, which as you know is near Oran. Both American Rangers and British forces cooperated in the attack on Oran. The survivors with whom you spoke would indeed have been fired upon, but apparently they also gave as good as they got. For example, two British ships that crashed the protective booms at Oran were carrying American troops. When these ships were sunk under French fire, 250 American lives were lost, and 200 more were taken prisoner. It wasn't until two days later that Major Gen Fredendall (the same Fredendall who later messed up, unfortunately.) So out of this political confusion, many of several nationalities suffered, possibly needlessly, but can we ever conclude anything for certain, looking back now?
Sue_xx_yy is online now  
Feb 18th, 2009, 06:00 AM
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The Royal Navy's attack upon the French at Mers-el=Kebir took place more than two years before the American landings there. Their purpose: to keep those ships from being turned over to the Germans.

U. S. forces landed in North Africa on Nov. 8, 1942 and the British hit the French capital ships at Mers-el-Kebir in mid-summer, 1940.
USNR is offline  
Feb 18th, 2009, 06:31 AM
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For anyone sincerely interested in France during WWII, I highly recommend Marcel Ophuls documentary:
The Sorrow and the Pity
semiramis is offline  
Feb 18th, 2009, 08:02 AM
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"even if he and his regime was nominally independent."

The new stance is that Vichy France persecuted Jews independantly of the Germans.

Also, I saw a documentary showing communications from the Gestapo to the French Gendarmerie asking them to "slow down" in rounding up Jews, such was their vigour.
J_R_Hartley is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 01:51 PM
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StuDudley on Feb 16, 09 at 07:43 PM
You should not have hit the enter key at all.
Stu Dudley

Congratulations, Stu! Now you can wear your brown outfit with pride, marching the streets of San Francisco.
Dayenu is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 02:09 PM
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But this IS the lounge, isn't it?

If I remember my history correctly, it was Winston Churchill who ordered the scuttling of the French fleet in 1940 to keep it out of German hands.
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Feb 19th, 2009, 02:14 PM
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Churchill ordered the Royal Navy to destroy the French ships at Mers-el-Kebir on July 3, 1940. As a result, 1297 French sailors died. None of the ships in that port were scuttled.
USNR is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 03:07 PM
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Hi Underhill; Read my previous post to understand the 'scuttling' of the French fleet. Iris
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Feb 20th, 2009, 03:58 AM
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For anyone new to the thread - this was originally posted in the Europe Forum. It was moved to the Lounge by Fodors when the site was relaunched.

I guess you could say we have the Editors input on where it belonged.
Aramis is offline  
Feb 20th, 2009, 06:07 AM
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He gets really bad press, but De Gaulle's greatest achievement was not having France classified as an Axis power at the end of the War.

Vichy France fought against both the British and Americans, rounded up Jews and suppressed the resistance.
J_R_Hartley is offline  
Feb 20th, 2009, 06:15 AM
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Travellers are typically history lovers, no?

I have no problem with the post or ensuing debate.

Tame by Fodor's standards I think and more interesting than discussing the best hotel room in Paris.

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