Uneasy Asylum: France and the Jewish Refugee Crisis, 1933-1942

Uneasy Asylum: France and the Jewish Refugee Crisis, 1933-1942

Uneasy Asylum: France and the Jewish Refugee Crisis, 1933-1942

Uneasy Asylum: France and the Jewish Refugee Crisis, 1933-1942

Synopsis

By drawing on an array of primary sources and archive material, this text offers the first major appraisal of French responses to the Jewish refugee crisis after 1933. It explores French policies and attitudes from three interrelated vantage points.

Excerpt

On January 30, 1933, Hitler became chancellor of the German republic, and he at once set to work to implement two of his long-standing aims: to purge the nation of all "unhealthy" political elements and to eliminate the Jews from the nation's economic, cultural, and political life. Invoking the emergency measures of Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution,Hitler persuaded President Paul von Hindenburg on February 4 to ban all public meetings by groups or political parties opposed to the regime and to crush all dissenting voices in the press. At the same time, the Parliament was dissolved, and new elections were scheduled for early March. These elections, Hitler hoped, would provide the regime with a clear-cut electoral majority, a goal that had hitherto eluded the Nazis, but one they continued to seek to bestow upon their actions the veneer of legitimacy.

After the burning of the Reichstag on February 27, a crime the Nazis blamed on the communists although they themselves were almost certainly responsible, the government unleashed a reign of terror against its political opponents: liberals, socialists, communists, and trade unionists. On March 23, after the Nazis failed to achieve an electoral majority, the Parliament, cowed into submission through outright terror, passed the Enabling Act, which granted the chancellor the right to govern by emergency decree. Street beatings and summary arrests became common, and anti-Nazi activists who had not yet fled the country began to disappear into the regime's . . .

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