Post-Holocaust France and the Jews, 1945-1955

256 pages

1 table

June, 2015

ISBN: 9781479835041

$45

Cloth

Also available in

Authors

Seán Hand is Professor of French at the University of Warwick, UK. He is the author of Emmanuel Levinas, Alter Ego: The Critical Writings of Michel Leiris, and Michel Leiris: Writing the Self

All books by Seán Hand

Steven T. Katz is Slater Professor of Jewish and Holocaust Studies and former Director of the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies at Boston University. His many publications include The Holocaust in Historical Context.

All books by Steven T. Katz

Despite an outpouring of scholarship on the Holocaust, little work has focused on what happened to Europe’s Jewish communities after the war ended. And unlike many other European nations in which the majority of the Jewish population perished, France had a significant post‑war Jewish community that numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Post-Holocaust France and the Jews, 1945–1955 offers new insight on key aspects of French Jewish life in the decades following the end of World War II.

How Jews had been treated during the war continued to influence both Jewish and non-Jewish society in the post-war years. The volume examines the ways in which moral and political issues of responsibility combined with the urgent problems and practicalities of restoration, and it illustrates how national imperatives, international dynamics, and a changed self-perception all profoundly helped to shape the fortunes of postwar French Judaism.Comprehensive and informed, this volume offers a rich variety of perspectives on Jewish studies, modern and contemporary history, literary and cultural analysis, philosophy, sociology, and theology.

With contributions from leading scholars, including Edward Kaplan, Susan Rubin Suleiman, and Jay Winter, the book establishes multiple connections between such different areas of concern as the running of orphanages, the establishment of new social and political organisations, the restoration of teaching and religious facilities, and the development of intellectual responses to the Holocaust. Comprehensive and informed, this volume will be invaluable to readers working in Jewish studies, modern and contemporary history, literary and cultural analysis, philosophy, sociology, and theology.

Reviews

  • “This important and much-needed volume brings together an impressive collection of international scholars to tell the complex and fascinating story of postwar France. It is a story of destruction and reconstruction, despair and hope, memory and desire. Not only does this book help us to understand the convoluted relationship between France and the Jews, it deftly enriches our understanding of sociopolitical renewal within the broader context of European transnationalism.”

    —Aaron W. Hughes, author of The Study of Judaism: Identity, Authenticity, Scholarship

  • "This astute and wide-ranging collection captures multiple dimensions of French Jews’ reactions after World War II to a society that simultaneously had delivered 76,000 of them to death yet saved almost nine-tenths of those who had been born in France. Appearing at a time when the existence of a French Jewish community seems imperiled once more, this book is especially instructive."

    —Peter Hayes, Theodore Zev Weiss Holocaust Educational Foundation Professor, Northwestern University

  • “This edited volume examines the reconstruction of Jewish life in France after the Holocaust.  Focusing on the first ten years after the war, editors Hand and Katz bring together diverse scholars whose essays will engage students and scholars of French and Jewish history….Cohesive and thought provoking, this book offers new paths of inquiry on a decade of critical change in France.  Summing Up: Highly recommended.”

    Choice

  • “Erudite and eloquent, the collection overcomes the constraints of a decennial approach, encouraging us to reflect on the changing historical relationship between Jews and the state, and illustrating consistently how decisions taken at this time affect Jews in contemporary France.  Above all, it paints a poignant and vivid picture of a community that, in the aftermath of calamity, sought to combine new and existing tactics to rebuild for the future.” 

    French History

  • “This book should be essential reading for scholars of the Jewish dimension of French culture in the twentieth century."

    French Studies