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Catalog Archive / Fall 2023

Propaganda and Persecution
The French Resistance and the “Jewish Question”
Translated by Lenn J. Schramm

George L. Mosse Series in the History of European Culture, Sexuality, and Ideas
Steven E. Aschheim, Skye Doney, Mary Louise Roberts, and David J. Sorkin, Series Editors

Examining the discourse of French antisemitism

Renée Poznanski’s magisterial history of the French Resistance during World War II offers a comprehensive exploration of the most significant issue in that period’s social imaginary: the “Jewish question.” With extraordinary nuance, she analyzes the discourse around Jews and Judaism that pervaded the Resistance’s propaganda and debates, while closely examining the fate of Jews under Vichy and after.

Poznanski argues that Jews in France suffered a double persecution: one led by the Vichy government, the other imposed by the Nazis. Marginalization and exclusion soon led to internment and deportation to terrifying places. Meanwhile, a propaganda war developed between the Resistance and the official voice of Vichy. Poznanski draws on a breathtaking array of sources, especially clandestine publications and French-language BBC transmissions, to show how the Resistance both fought and accommodated the deeply entrenched antisemitism within French society. Her close readings of propaganda texts against public opinions probe ambiguities and silences in Resistance writing about the persecution of the Jews and, in parallel, the numerous and detailed denunciations that could be read in the Jewish clandestine press. This extensive synthesis extends to the post-Liberation period, during which the ongoing persecution of Jews in Europe and North Africa would be portrayed as secondary to the suffering of the nation.

The winner of the 2009 Henri Hertz Prize by the Chancellerie des Universités de Paris, Sorbonne, Propaganda and Persecution makes major contributions to the study of the Resistance and of antisemitism. Lenn J. Schramm’s English translation brings Poznanski’s dynamic prose to life.


Renée Poznanski is a professor emerita at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. Her most recent English-language book is Jews in France during World War II.

Lenn J. Schramm is a professional translator of French and Hebrew to English. Among his many translations is The Sparks of Randomness by Henri Atlan.




“Renée Poznanski is one of the finest scholars of our time on the subject of France during the Holocaust and World War II. Her central question here—How much did the French Resistance care about Jews and antisemitism?—is timely, and she presents a mountain of evidence to support her thesis.”
—Ethan Katz, University of California, Berkeley

“This book adds to our understanding of the Resistance, the persecution of the Jews, and the clandestine press in ways likely to make it a fundamental work for future scholarship.”
Holocaust and Genocide Studies

“An impressively informative, finely detailed, copiously documented, exceptionally well written/translated, and seminal work of original scholarship.”
Midwest Book Review



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Table of Contents


List of Abbreviations
Prologue: The Loss of Moral and Ideological Markers
1 The “Jewish Problem” in an Age of Suspicion
2 The Range of Rebuttals

Part I. We Are All Patriots
3 The Assault on the Jews
4 Across the Channel, on the Defensive
5 Above All—Don’t Bring Back Blum
6 France Cannot Be Muzzled or Seduced
7 Variations in the Shadow of the Comintern
8 A Careful Choice of Words
9 Christians and Jews, Jews and Resistance Activists

Part II. The Curtain Rises
10 “The Springtime of Liberty”
11 The Shock of the Yellow Star
12 Summer 1942: Swings in Public Opinion
13 The Crime of Lèse-Humanité
14 A Plan for Extermination

Part III. The Judeo-Gaullists in London
15 Under the Sway of the French Goebbels
16 No One Is Safe from Deportation
17 From London to Algiers

Part IV. The Judeo-Bolsheviks of France
18 Variations on Silence
19 The Specter of Philosemitism
Part V. The Sense of Being Abandoned
20 All Humanity Rises Up against the Murderers
21 The Earth Didn’t Shake
Epilogue: Jewish Voices in a Strange Silence



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January 2024
632 pp. 6 x 9

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Cloth $79.95 S
ISBN 9780299345600
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