Politics, Society and Christianity in Vichy France

By W. D. Halls | Go to book overview

18
Christians and Deportation to
Germany

Of all the burdens placed upon young Frenchmen the one that hit hardest was the obligation imposed upon them to work in Germany. The introduction of the Service du Travail Obligatoire (STO) was a direct result of the increasing need by 1942 to conscript more Germans into the Wehrmacht. Germans working in the war factories were required for army service on the eastern front. Nazi propaganda argued that, since Germany was fighting the 'Bolsheviks' to save European civilisation, the occupied countries should make sacrifices by working in the Reich and elsewhere, in relative safety, for the German war machine, whilst its soldiers bore the brunt of the fighting.

In June 1942 Sauckel, a former Gauleiter placed in charge of the recruitment of foreign labour, demanded 350,000 French workers, of whom 150,000 should be skilled. He agreed with Laval to release one prisoner of war for every three such workers recruited. This one-forthree deal constituted the so-called 'Relève', but only 17,000 skilled workers had volunteered. In August therefore Sauckel issued an ordinance, applicable throughout occupied Europe, decreeing liability to call-up of all men and women aged between eighteen and fifty-five. Laval obtained an exemption for France, which was granted on condition that Vichy took other steps to supply the necessary manpower. Hence the law of 4 September 1942, applicable to men aged between eighteen and fifty and single women aged between twenty-one and thirty-five, authorised the government to direct them to employment where, as, and when required. This direction of labour was only gradually enforced.

The final battle for Stalingrad was imminent, and Hitler was on the point of proclaiming total war when Sauckel arrived in Paris on 11 January 1943 with the now more limited objective of recruiting 250,000 men, but still demanding that 150,000 of them should be skilled workers. On 16 February the Vichy government instituted the STO,

-311-

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Politics, Society and Christianity in Vichy France
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Berg French Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • List of Abbreviations x
  • Part I - Christianity in Crisis 1
  • 1 - Introductory 3
  • Notes 13
  • 2 - Christians and Pre-War Politics 15
  • Notes 28
  • 3 - Prelude to Vichy 31
  • Notes 40
  • Part II - Aspirations, Realisations and Disappointments 43
  • 4 - The Man of Destiny 45
  • Notes 65
  • 5 - Christians in Disarray 69
  • Notes 84
  • 6 - The Church: New Laws 87
  • Notes 92
  • Part III - The Scapegoats 93
  • 7 - Christians and Jews--I 95
  • Notes 110
  • 8 - Christians and Jews--Ii 113
  • Notes 124
  • 9 - Christians and Jews: The Aftermath 127
  • Notes 144
  • Part IV - Friends and Foes 149
  • 10 - Christians and the Allies 151
  • Notes 162
  • 11 - Christians, Bombings and 'terrorism' 165
  • Notes 174
  • 12 - Christians and Germans 177
  • Notes 195
  • 13 - Christians and the Resistance 199
  • Notes 220
  • 14 - Vichy, the Church and the Vatican 223
  • Notes 236
  • Part V - The Church and Society 239
  • 15 - The Church and Economic and Social Affairs 241
  • Notes 265
  • 16 - Youth Policy and the Church 269
  • Notes 284
  • 17 - Youth Movements 287
  • Notes 307
  • 18 - Christians and Deportation to Germany 311
  • Notes 334
  • Part VI - Settling the Accounts 339
  • 19 - Christians and the Collaborationists 341
  • Notes 356
  • 20 - 'Epuration' and the Higher Clergy 361
  • Notes 379
  • 21 - Concluding Remarks 383
  • Notes 388
  • Appendix I Before the War: L'Aube and the Catholic Intellectual Press 389
  • Notes 391
  • Appendix II Bishops and Archbishops by Province 393
  • Bibliographical Note 397
  • Select Bibliography 399
  • Index 405
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