In this work Jacques Adler, 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 the Holocaust? 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 daily life. The remaining chapters discuss the roles, activities, and policies of various Jewish organizations as they supported Jews in their search for survival, alerted the non-Jewish population to the terrible threat faced by every Jewish family, and acted as representatives of the Jewish people--a role that led to inevitable administrative cooperation with the Nazis and Vichy.
Combining careful scholarship with a survivor's zeal to set the record straight, Adler gives an insider's account of resistance members, 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 that was selected as fodder for the "Final Solution." Thoroughly researched and drawing upon previously unavailable materials, Adler presents an important portrait of communal solidarity and communal conflict, of heroes and those whose courage failed.
"The product of a rare combination of qualifications on the part of its author: the indelible experience of personal involvement during youth, and the dispassionate professionalism of an academic scholar...Carefully researched and comprehensive in its treatment of what happened inside a community under siege, Adler's work will be of interest to all scholars of French and Jewish affairs."--History: Reviews of New Books
"The special contribution of Adler's work is its examination of the array of responses by the Jewish community to such hitherto unsurpassed barbarity in France...Adler's book is both a primary and a secondary source, and the scholarship on which its rests is impressive."--CHOICE
"A timely and distinguished addition to the immense body of Holocaust literature."--Los Angeles Times
"A profoundly scholarly and moving book...Does full justice to the evils of Nazism and the human frailties of its victims."--History
"A scholarly and perceptive study."--Booklist
"His research displays remarkable objectivity, while reflecting the survivor's zeal to set the record straight."--Times Literary Supplement
"Offer[s] valuable contributions to the study of French Jewish responses to the Holocaust."--Journal of Modern History
"A thoughtful, thorough exploration."--Kirkus Reviews
"There is a great deal of objective scholarship here...its value is enormously enhanced by the threads of remembered hiistory which give it texture and color....This is an important contribution to an infinitely wider debate."--English Historical Review
"This is a well-written and interesting book."--Judaica Book News Reviews