Synopses & Reviews
In this work, a former member of the French resistance asks: "Are people powerless when confronted with a State determined to destroy them? Why didn't more Jews survive? How did we survive? Did we, the survivors, do all that we could, at the time, to help more people survive?" In answering these questions, Adler examines the diverse Jewish organizations that existed in Paris during the German occupation from 1940 to 1944. The first part of the book analyzes the national composition of the Jewish population, its expropriation and its daily life. The remaining chapters discuss the roles, activities, and policies of various Jewish organizations as they attempted to support Jews in their search for survival, alert the non-Jewish population to the terrible threat faced by every Jewish family, and act as representatives of the Jewish people--a role that ultimately lead to inevitable administrative cooperation with the Nazis and Vichy. Jacques Adler covers a broad range of Jewish organizations, made up of people whose determination was born of the pain and anger that came from the loss of loved ones, whose political ideology sustained them even when they faced the threat of starvation and the loneliness of clandestine existence, and whose anguish was all the more intense because they belonged to that community in Paris which was selected as fodder for the "Final Solution." Showing how they combatted gradual anti-Jewish measures, he presents an important portrait of communal solidarity and communal conflict, of both heroes and those whose courage failed.