How Official France Has Obscured the Role of Jewish Resisters in Rescuing Their Brethren from the Nazis

In the recent movie Resistance, the American actor Jesse Eisenberg portrays the famed French mime Marcel Marceau, whom the film shows playing a leading role in getting hundreds of Jews out of Vichy France during World War II. Tsilla Hershco explains that the truth is somewhat different from what Hollywood, or official France, would have people believe:

Marceau did, in fact, help transfer Jewish children to Switzerland, but he did so within the framework of the Jewish resistance and the vital infrastructure it had established, including forged certificates, money supply, connections with border smugglers and local authorities, and more.

During his historic recognition in July 1995 of France’s responsibility for the extermination of its Jews, President Jacques Chirac claimed that the French Righteous among the Nations had saved three-quarters of the Jews of France—completely ignoring the central part played by the Jewish Resistance Organization in the rescue. This version was then adopted by his successors.

There is no doubt that the French Righteous among the Nations deserve a place of honor in the history of the Holocaust, but it was the Jewish Resistance that made the crucial contribution to the rescue of some 230,000 Jews—about three-quarters of French Jewry. Members of the Jewish Resistance were mainly the ones who initiated contact with the French rescuers, and who—often at risk of their lives—issued good-quality forged certificates and food stamps without which it would have been impossible to obtain groceries. They even maintained regular contact with the hidden children in order to boost their morale and prevent their loss to the Jewish people. They assisted detainees in the camps and smuggled them away; they moved convoys of children and adults to hiding places in France, Switzerland, and Spain; and they set up guerrilla groups and transferred funds for the sake of the struggle against the Nazi occupier.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Film, France, Holocaust, Jacques Chirac, Righteous Among the Nations, Vichy France

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security