Even during WW2, some German Jews managed to stay in Germany without being imprisoned (although they were forced to live in special housing for Jews under uncomfortable circumstances) for example those who had "Aryan" husbands.

Were there categories of French Jews who received analogous treatment? Did having a French Catholic spouse matter? Did being "of Jewish extraction" but practicing Catholicism matter?

  • @SJuan Even after Hitler assumed full control, Jewish WWI veterrans were afforded some considerations as were Jews married to "aryans." The question of whether French Jewish WWI vets were given special exemptions to the extremely racist Vichy laws is a legitimate one. Your tone is unwarranted.
    – Jeff
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 14:35
  • You are quoting an article from Wikipedia and it is about Germany, not France. Jews did remain in Germany, somewhat openly, if under very unpleasant circumstances, due to having non-Jewish spouses.
    – Jeff
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 14:45
  • @MarkC.Wallace: Yes, in the same way that some Jews managed to remain in Germany even during WW2, did some French Jews also manage to remain in France and if so, were the reasons for their remaining similar or different?
    – Jeff
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 14:53
  • 2
    @Jeff edited your question in line of what you have explained in the comments; of course feel free to correct it if I missunderstood something. I think it would be better if you linked the article you were refering to.
    – SJuan76
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 15:23

1 Answer 1


The short answer is yes: some categories of Jews were treated better by the Vichy authorities, but bear in mind that the Vichy government shifted considerably in its treatment of Jews over the course of the war, and the decisions made by local gendarmes were often chaotic and improvised on the spot. Initially, only foreign-born Jews were subject to resettlement, but in police raids and round-ups, large numbers of French Jews were also included.

Curiously, the Vichy government's definition of who constituted a Jew was somewhat broader than the one adopted in Germany in 1935, which meant that a broader segment of the Jewish population in unoccupied France than in occupied France was subject to mistreatment. Much of that mistreatment appeared (initially) to be benign: registration, identification, etc. In hindsight, it also served to expedite the subsequent process of concentration and deportation that was to ensue.

Certain categories of Jews, according to the Statut des Juifs of October 3rd, 1940, were technically protected. This included Jews with only one Jewish grandparent, or with two Jewish grandparents but who were, themselves, married to Christians. Even so, the authorities in occupied and unoccupied France competed with one another in the development of anti-Jewish legislation and even those Jews who were technically exempt still sometimes found themselves included in legislation that would deprive them of their jobs, their assets or their freedom.

Finally, being a Jewish convert to Christianity did not avail anybody. Nazi racial doctrine (as adopted also by the French) stipulated the biological character of Jewishness. While some people were able to receive assistance from the church, such assistance necessitated their going underground, changing their names and inventing an alibi. And even where people received protection or an exemption on the basis of their role within the community, Vichy authorities also complied when Nazi officials ordered arrests.

There is a great deal written on this subject, but I would recommend starting with Susan S. Zuccotti, "Surviving the Holocaust: The Situation in France". It can be found on pp492-509 of Michael Berenbaum and Abraham J. Peck (eds.), The Holocaust and History: The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed and the Reexamined (Bloomington, 1998).

  • 1
    Zuccotti also wrote of the apparently contrasting situation in Italy -- Italian soldiers protected Jewish Italians and even non-Italians. Japan also treated Jews in a reasonable manner for various reasons and it was not just the great Chiune Sugihara who helped: Tojo himself permitted Jews to survive in Japan and its territory.
    – Jeff
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 9:11

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