In order to document persons after they left their country of origin, a researcher must be familiar with the various governmental organizations and the laws and decrees issued in each country researched. Sometimes the archival records of a welfare organization hold the only evidence of the fate of an individual in a specific location; public records may still be held by one or another administration entity.
Some have been destroyed. Despite various difficulties finding it, a huge amount of data about Holocaust victims is still available, and I almost always have recovered evidence of a trail for the individuals I have researched. My research began with one child see Case Study below which led me ultimately to create databases containing the names of more than , Jewish refugees.
To understand the types of records available for research today, genealogists must know both the history and the French governmental administration during the wartime period. The Reichstag fire of February 27, , and the arrest of more than 4, opponents of the regime triggered the flight abroad of the first wave of refugees, among whom were many Jews.
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Approximately 25, to 30, Germans took refuge in France at the end of , and during that period, Sanary, in the Departement of Var, became the world capital of German literature. A second wave of immigration dates from the introduction of anti-Semitic measures in Germany; first, the boycott of Jewish shops and then the application of the Nuremberg laws in The committee opened four shelters in Paris in order to deal with the victims who arrived that year. Many in France spoke in defense of the victims, but this did not prevent the introduction of restrictive legislation for all refugees in , including an obligatory visa and an identity card subject to certain conditions.
Notable among these refugees were Germans who had taken sanctuary in the Saarland in and had to move again in On September 17, , Leon Blum, head of the French government, signed a convention of recognition of the status of German refugees. The Popular Front had no impact on the previous measures. World War II broke out on September 3, , and led the Daladier government successor to Blum to reinforce surveillance of political elements considered subversive and to the internment of all individuals, whether aliens or not, considered a threat to national defense or public safety.
A huge wave of German Jewish emigration erupted after the Anschluss 3 and later Kristallnacht 4 and refugees arrived in Belgium and France in other western European countries also attempting to escape the Nazi regime. According to historian and political analyst Patrick Weil, a total , Germans and Austrians were admitted to France between and , of whom 90 percent were Jews. Also in these archives is a census of foreigners, military files of the men who joined the Foreign Legion in to avoid internment, and a variety of other useful sources of information.
A recently enacted French archival law has shortened the period of restricted accessibility for most public records to 50 years with the exception of judicial and medical files , and even postwar documents are now freely available—as long as one knows where to search and what to expect.
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Comparing a French map of to a contemporary map allows a researcher to see where the various concentration camp files are held today. In each department that had one or more internment camps, such as Pyrennees, Rivesaltes, and others, relevant files are available in the departmental archives. Most are not indexed and often not even sorted. Almost none are digitized.
In small towns and villages, archives are held in the hotel de ville or mairie city hall. You may place a tile upon it, but you must wait to place another. Individually you can create something. Together you can create something more. Final Place Canvas Place is supported in the official Reddit app: Welcome to Reddit, the front page of the internet.
Become a Redditor and subscribe to one of thousands of communities. Want to add to the discussion? France is at the bottom of Germany now. But they weren't fast enough. Damn those non germans making germany bad! Also not Jewish so no finger pointing. Now where did I put my beer. I'm in the resistance. Think Battle of the Spurs for example! Tzhe Ztime haz never been better! I want to be first into Berlin. The Germans blitz the french It's German issues in a pixely nutshell. Those krauts shaved Bitcoin in their blind fury. Faced with these difficulties in everyday life, the government answered by rationing , and creating food charts and tickets which were to be exchanged for bread, meat, butter and cooking oil.
The rationing system was stringent but badly mismanaged, leading to malnourishment, black markets , and hostility to state management of the food supply.
The official ration provided starvation level diets of 1, or fewer calories a day, supplemented by home gardens and, especially, black market purchases. Hunger prevailed, especially affecting youth in urban areas. The queues lengthened in front of shops. In the absence of meat and other foods including potatoes, people ate unusual vegetables, such as Swedish turnip and Jerusalem artichoke. Food shortages were most acute in the large cities.
In the more remote country villages, however, clandestine slaughtering, vegetable gardens and the availability of milk products permitted better survival. Some people benefited from the black market , where food was sold without tickets at very high prices. Farmers diverted especially meat to the black market, which meant that much less for the open market. Counterfeit food tickets were also in circulation. Direct buying from farmers in the countryside and barter against cigarettes were also frequent practices during this period.
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These activities were strictly forbidden, however, and thus carried out at the risk of confiscation and fines. During the day, numerous regulations, censorship and propaganda made the occupation increasingly unbearable.
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At night, inhabitants had to abide a curfew and it was forbidden to go out during the night without an Ausweis. They had to close their shutters or windows and turn off any light, to prevent Allied aircraft using city lights for navigation. The experience of the Occupation was a deeply psychologically disorienting one for the French as what was once familiar and safe suddenly become strange and threatening. The scenes look not just unreal, but almost deliberately surreal, as if the unexpected conjunction of German and French, French and German, was the result of a Dada prank and not the sober record of history.
This shock is merely a distant echo of what the French underwent in Ousby wrote that by the end of summer of With nearly 75, inhabitants killed and , tons of bombs dropped, France was, after Germany, the second most severely bomb-devastated country on the Western Front of World War II.
The Allies' Transportation Plan aiming at the systematic destruction of French railway marshalling yards and railway bridges, in , also took a heavy toll on civilian lives. For example, the 26 May bombing hit railway targets in and around five cities in south-eastern France, causing over 2, civilian deaths.
Propaganda was present in education to train the young people with the ideas of the new Vichy regime. However, there was no resumption in ideology as in other occupied countries, for example in Poland , where the teaching elite was liquidated. Teachers were not imprisoned and the programs were not modified overall. In the private Catholic sector, many school directors hid Jewish children thus saving their life and provided education for them until the Liberation.
A wide array of German units were rotated to France to rest and refit; the Germans used the motto "Jeder einmal in Paris" "everyone once in Paris" and provided 'recreational visits' to the city for their troops. The curfew in Paris was not upheld as strictly as in other cities. Reinhardt was even invited to play for the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht.
During the German occupation, a forced labour policy, called Service du Travail Obligatoire "Obligatory work service, STO" , consisted of the requisition and transfer of hundreds of thousands of French workers to Germany against their will, for the German war effort. In addition to work camps for factories, agriculture, and railroads, forced labour was used for V-1 launch sites and other military facilities targeted by the Allies in Operation Crossbow. Beginning in , many refused to be drafted to factories and farms in Germany by the STO, going underground to avoid imprisonment and subsequent deportation to Germany.
There were German reprisals against civilians in occupied countries; in France, the Nazis built an execution chamber in the cellars of the former Ministry of Aviation building in Paris. Many Jews were victims of the Holocaust in France. Approximately 49 concentration camps were in use in France during the occupation, the largest of them at Drancy.
Overall, according to a detailed count drawn under Serge Klarsfeld , slightly below 77, of the Jews residing in France died during the war, overwhelmingly after being deported to death camps. While horrific, the mortality rate was lower than in other occupied countries e. The yellow Star of David made mandatory by the Vichy regime in France. Sign outside a restaurant in Paris, rue de Choiseul.
French Jewish women wearing the yellow badge. Adolf Hitler strolling in front of the Eiffel tower in Paris, 23 June Execution chamber inspected by a Parisian policeman and members of the FFI after the liberation. German road signs in occupied Paris. The Feldgendarmerie was responsible for military traffic. German soldiers and captured communists , July The Liberation of France was the result of the Allied operations Overlord and Dragoon in the summer of Most of France was liberated by September Some of the heavily fortified French Atlantic coast submarine bases remained stay-behind "fortresses" until the German capitulation in May The Free French exile government declared the re-establishment of a provisional French Republic , ensuring continuity with the defunct Third Republic.