The much smaller Protestant grouping, the Eglises Réformées Evangéliques, however, adopted a different line. One of its pastors, Bruston, of Saint-Jean-du-Gard (Gard) was rebuked for reading out a protest in September. The sect's own message, disseminated on 12 October, warned against interference in political matters; loyalty and obedience to the civil authority were required; Jews had to recognise their error and turn towards Him whom they [sic] had crucified. 52
Church leaders had reacted slowly to the anti-Jewish measures. So long as steps were being taken only against foreign Jews they did not feel overconcerned. But as those measures became manifestly harsher, then involved French Jews, and gave rise to apprehension as to their fate, they began to have misgivings. As visible proof of the mistreatments meted out became known, their indignation grew. Mgr Saliège and Pastor Boegner were the most outspoken critics. Cardinal Gerlier's attitude was inscrutable: opinions regarding his comportment vary. Germaine Ribière, of Amitié Chrétienne, the organisation that tried to help Jews, considered that he had to be constantly spurred on to action, on at least one occasion because he was afraid. 53 A man of the world, the cardinal sought always to put the best gloss on affairs. Cardinal Suhard, ever discrete, was content to work behind the scenes. Cardinal Liénart's position remains more enigmatic, although loyalty to Pétain probably coloured unduly his thinking. But only five prelates, all in the unoccupied zone, made public protests that became widely known, and of these only Saliège and Théas refused to mention the 'problem' that Vichy allegedly faced. But by now the rank and file of the Church were aroused to solidarity with their less fortunate brethren.
How was this solidarity expressed? What practical measures were undertaken by Christians? What reactions did the Church's evolving position evoke among the Germans and the collaborationists? What was the attitude of the Vatican? These questions must now be examined.
Unless otherwise stated the place of publication is Paris.