Saturday, 25 February 2012

# 30 [13 July 2009]

I managed to find the time to watch another section of ‘The Sorrow and the Pity’ today. The documentary film about occupied France during the war was made in 1968 but not screened in France until 1981 due to its controversial nature and tackling of taboo subjects.

I found the following section on anti-semitism particularly revealing, especially when accompanied by images used as part of an exhibition: ‘Jews and France’ held in Paris during the Second World War.

[Pierre Mendies-France (Prime Minister of France 1954-1955 and Air Force Lieutenant 1939)]
“It is not surprising that, at first, such poison won over many new converts. Little by little, people began to realise it was propaganda and to see that the government was practising a policy which they themselves called collaboration with the enemy. Slowly but surely, people began to open their eyes and change their minds. But this propaganda still won over many new converts. You know as well as I do that anti-semitism and Anglophobia are never hard to stir up in France. Even if reactions to such things are dormant or stifled, all it takes is one event, one incident, one international crisis or one Dreyfus affair for feelings we thought long gone to suddenly re-emerge in full force, for beliefs we thought dead to be simply dormant.”

[During the war] Edward Drumont was the first in France to examine the Jewish question. The Institute of Jewish Questions celebrates his memory today. Mr Laville has agreed to say a few words. “Out of one hundred Frenchmen of old stock, at least 90 are pure white, free of any other racial mixture. This is not true of the Jews. The Jews are born a mixture which dates back thousands of years, between Aryans, Mongols and Negroes. Therefore, Jews have unique forces, bodies, attitudes and gestures, it is reassuring to see that the public is interested in studying the characteristics presented in the morphological section of “Jews and France”.

As it’s now the school holidays I may find it difficult to watch the remaining sections of the documentary without distractions – small doses of a documentary of this type are easier to digest though.

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