How Did Jews Survive the Shoah in France?

Public lecture by historian Jacques Semelin on July 4, 2019

No 197/2019 from Jun 28, 2019

On July 4, 2019, historian Jacques Semelin will give a lecture on the survival of Jews in France during World War II. An Emeritus Research Director at the National Centre of Scientific Research in Paris, Semelin will describe how much of the Jewish population in France - estimated at 75 percent - managed to avoid arrest, deportation, and murder. Using numerous sources, most notably contemporary witness accounts and files from the archives of the Vichy government, Semelin relates life stories of persecuted individuals. He reconstructs their everyday lives and their survival strategies and relates gestures of common humanity extended by non-Jewish citizens of France under German occupation from 1940 to 1944. Historian Dieter Gosewinkel (Berlin Social Science Center, WBZ) will moderate the discussion in French. The public event was organized by the Center for French Studies at Freie Universität in cooperation with the Centre Marc Bloch in Berlin. Admission is free, no registration necessary.

Professor Semelin’s research focuses on collective violence, mass murder, and cultures of remembrance. A historian and political scientist, he began his academic career with a doctorate in contemporary history at the Sorbonne. He also earned a degree in psychopathology from Université Paris-Descartes. Following a research stay at Harvard University, he completed the habilitation process at the Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), and in 2007 he was appointed a professor of political science and modern history. In his lecture at Freie Universität Berlin, he will share findings from his latest book: La survie des juifs en France. 1940-1944 (published in 2018; English translation: The Survival of the Jews in France, 1940-1944, translated by Cynthia Schoch and Nathasha Lehrer, London, Hurst, and New York, Oxford University Press, 2018; German translation: Das Überleben von Juden in Frankreich. 1940-1944, Wallstein Verlag, 2018).

Time and Place

  • Freie Universität Berlin, Holzlaube, Room 0.2051, Fabeckstraße 23/25, 14195 Berlin

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