“Extermination” of the Jews … attention to the meaning of the word

by VINCENT REYNOUARD, June 2012

   On 30 November 1940, the organ of the French league for national revival, social support and European collaboration, “l’Appel”, published a study entitled: “Should we exterminate the Jews? “(See the document) .

The League was founded by Peter Costantini, a supporter of full cooperation with the Reich and known anti-Semite. We therefore expect to find, in this interview, a positive response. There is none of this. Asked about his goals, the Secretary General of the Institute for the Study of Jewish Affairs, Captain Sezille, said:

Look, we want to eliminate the Jews of French life: pursue the repeal of the decree of the Convention which on September 27, 1791 granted them the status of citizen, without accepting any departure from these principles; change of religion should not justify the preservation of French nationality. Our anti-Semitism is not religious but racial.

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by VINCENT REYNOUARD, June 2012

   On 30 November 1940, the organ of the French league for national revival, social support and European collaboration, “l’Appel”, published a study entitled: “Should we exterminate the Jews? “(See the document) .

The League was founded by Peter Costantini, a supporter of full cooperation with the Reich and known anti-Semite. We therefore expect to find, in this interview, a positive response. There is none of this. Asked about his goals, the Secretary General of the Institute for the Study of Jewish Affairs, Captain Sezille, said:

Look, we want to eliminate the Jews of French life: pursue the repeal of the decree of the Convention which on September 27, 1791 granted them the status of citizen, without accepting any departure from these principles; change of religion should not justify the preservation of French nationality. Our anti-Semitism is not religious but racial.

Commonsensically, the investigator asked:

Yes, these are then your immediate goals. But is it enough? There is no complete solution to the Jewish question if you, getting rid of the Jews, do not know what you want to do with them.

To which captain Sezille answered:

We have the right not to care. We not here to secure the future of the Jews. Let me say ,in passing, that I condemn the sensitivity or rather sentimentality that lends its attention to some inconvenience for the Jews and forgets the disasters that have befallen our country because of these people. Moreover, we believe that the British and Americans, who love them so much, will welcome them with joy. Strictly speaking, captain Sezille adds with a smile, as they are Mongols [reference to the Khazars], I would see them in Siberia.

For his part, Louis-Ferdinand Céline refused to answer on the grounds that he had written three books on the subject and that there was now “enough harping on the Jewish question.

Petain and Hitler

Petain and Hitler

The investigator therefore turned to Xavier Vallat, then Commissioner General for Jewish Questions, who explained:

I think we should make some exceptions in the principle of total elimination of the Jew from this country. To deal with the problem too radically, without nuance, one would run the risk of making doing the Jews a service […]. A responsible government must not govern against its goals.

I thought we should to acknowledge merit and exceptional service.

But I have made no exceptions in the administration, where the danger is greatest. It is completely clean now. In the professions, I set the “numerus clausus” is, I think it, a wise compromise between the need to remove the Jewish peril and the usefulness of not giving the ban an appearance of persecution.

Moreover, all these solutions, by necessity, can not be definitive. People are surprised that we have not yet cleared the national soil of all Jews who encumber us, especially as among the Jews that we have in France, 55 per cent came here within the last thirty years and are not exactly “ours.” I’ve encouraged them to try to return to their country of origin. But how? Many came from Germany, but Germany would not take them back. Returning to the East, Romania, Russia, America? How?

Until the German victory, the question of transfer inevitably suspended.

Nobody here was talking of killing Jews. If it was a question of extermination, it was understood in the first sense, “ex terminus”: (sending) beyond the border. The “final solution” was always considered as expulsion, mostly in the East. This is precisely what Reich did since 1942. Not unlike French anti-Semites in 1940, the Germans in 1942 never considered killing Jews in a systematic way. Their anti-Semitism was not “genocidal”; it has indeed never been …

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Original french text:
« Extermination » des juifs… attention au sens du mot

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