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Memory, the Holocaust, and French Justice

The Bousquet and Touvier Affairs

In the introduction to this collection of essays on the cases of two former Vichy officials charged with crimes against humanity in the 1980s, Richard J. Golsan observes that for five decades the French have had great difficulty confronting their relationship with the Nazis during the Occupation. The Vichy Regime’s anti-Semitic character, Golsan writes, "was swept under the rug in the postwar years, when the Gaullist myth of Resistance held sway, and the French preferred to think of themselves as a people who had opposed Nazi ideology and hegemony." But the facts and implications of the René Bousquet and Paul Touvier affairs revealed not only each man’s participation in the deportation and deaths of Jews during the war, but also Vichy’s "willingness, and indeed eagerness, to do its part in forwarding the aims of the Final Solution in exchange for an illusory autonomy." As these essays by prominent French and American scholars and journalists show, judicial delays, official obstruction, and questionable decisions in the proceedings raise sweeping political, legal, and social questions about the complicity of a government unwilling to come to terms with its own troubled past. CONTRIBUTORS: Jean-Denis Bredin, Sorj Chalandon, Bertram Gordon, Pierre Laborie, Annette Lévy-Willard, Robert Paxton, Denis Peschanski, Henry Rousso, Tzvetan Todorov

253 pages | 6 x 9

Jewish Studies

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