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Film of "France and the Jew" Exhibition

Juif et La France
Institut national de l'audiovisuel
View this Newsreel

tags: collaboration propaganda

type: Newsreel

In September 1941, the "France and the Jew" exhibition, opened in Paris. The exhibition was organized by the Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question (IEQJ) and funded by the Nazi propaganda office1 and was designed to convince  French people of the necessity of antisemitic laws, including the possible removal of Jews from France.2 Posters, press articles, and radio programs all sought to attract Parisians to the exhibition.3

The clip presented here is a promotion for the exhibition screened before films in French cinemas, explaining what visitors would find there. The exhibition's entrance is seen here framed by a haunting caricature of a Jew with claws gripping a globe. Inside, a combination of photographs, texts, sculptures, and posters illustrated a history of France's supposed victimization by the Jews. It also included images of prominent Jewish figures, such as Léon Blum, France's former president. A large sculpture of an older bearded man fitting the stereotype of a Jew, along with a giant statue of a female athlete defeating two Jewish figures, was displayed in the auditorium. The statue was titled "France liberated itself from the Jews."

The exhibition took a supposedly scientific approach to race, focusing on racialized caricatures of "Jewishness." Those illustrations drew on the work of anthropologist George Montandon, author of the November 1940 antisemitic text How to Recognize a Jew?4 Sculptures and images of body parts, including eyes, noses, and faces, were exhibited to instruct the French people how to recognize Jews. This approach painted Jews as non-French and foreign. The exhibition also aimed to display the corrupt influence that Jews supposedly exercised on the global economy, highlighting France’s "victimization" by Jewish interests. Many of the images and objects came from similar antisemitic exhibitions that had been put on display in Germany and Italy, but newer material was generated to speak to French audiences.5

The exhibition was not the major success that the Nazis had hoped for, but it was well attended: 200,000 visitors paid the small entry fee and attended in a four-month period. At least some attendees went to the exhibition out of curiosity, while others likely found that the content resonated with their views. Still others may have been tempted by the possibility of winning a prize.6

The IEQJ, or Institut d'étude des questions juives, was created in May 1941 to lead an effective antisemitic propaganda campaign in France. The Institute and its leader, Paul Sézille, led the effort to plan and advertise the exhibition.

 

The first discriminatory laws in France, defined under the Statut des Juifs, were passed in October 1940.

 

Reneé Poznanski, Jews in France during World War II, translated by Nathan Bracher (Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press, 2001), 211–212.

French: Comment reconnaître le Juif?

Relations between Nazi Germany and France in the 1930s at times evidenced a shared antisemitism. Note in particular the interactions of French officials and their Nazi counterparts in the production of the 1937 World's Fair, which took place in Paris. See Karen Fiss, Grand Illusion: The Third Reich, the Paris Exposition, and the Cultural Seduction of France (University of Chicago Press, 2009). For more on antisemitism in museum exhibitions during the Holocaust, see the related item Film of Degenerate Art Exhibition.

If the exhibition guide pamphlet that visitors received at admission included a number, they received a free ration of bread. See Poznanski, Jews in France, 211.

Paul Sézille was the director of the Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question [French: Institut d'étude des questions juives (IEQJ)].

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À Paris, au Palais Berlitz, vient de s'ouvrir l'exposition « Le Juif et la France ». Au pied de la gigantesque statue « La France nouvelle se dégageant de l'emprise juive », le capitaine Sézille* prononce le discours d'inauguration.

Pendant les trois premiers jours, 13 000 personnes ont visité cette remarquable exposition où se trouvent rassemblés les documents, les photographies démontrant le péril juif dans tous les domaines de l'activité nationale. Ces graphiques, ces tableaux, ces statistiques donnent véritablement le vertige. Ils prouvent combien la France, victime de sa générosité et de sa traditionnelle hospitalité, surtout depuis 1936, s'était enjuivée. Tous les postes de commande de la maison France se trouvaient entre les mains des Juifs. 

[on-screen] France / 1936 / Présidence du Conseil > 8 Juifs / Ministères et cabinets ministériels > 33 Juifs / Radiodiffusion nationale > 70 Juifs

Après avoir jeté dans la guerre un peuple profondément attaché à la paix, ils ont conduit la France vers la plus totale défaite de son histoire. Telle fut l'œuvre destructive des Juifs en France. 

 

The exhibition "The Jew and France" just opened at the Palais Berlitz in Paris. Standing in front of the huge statue "The New France freeing herself from the Jewish grip", the Captain Sézille1 is delivering the inauguration speech.

During the first three days, 13,000 visitors came to see this remarkable exhibit. Gathered here are documents and photographs that show the Jewish peril within every domain of the country's activities. All these charts, tables and statistics will in all truth make anyone dizzy. They prove how France, a victim of its own generosity and traditional hospitality, particularly since 1936, had become "Jewified" [French: enjuivée]. All positions of control in the house of France were in Jewish hands. 

[on-screen] France / 1936  / Office of the President of the Council > 8 Jews / Ministries and cabinets > 33 Jews / National broadcast organization > 70 Jews

After hurling into war a people profoundly attached to peace, they led France towards the most absolute defeat in its history. Such was the destructive work of the Jews in France.

Archival Information for This Item

Source (Credit)
Institut national de l'audiovisuel
External Website Institut national de l'audiovisuel
Date Created
September 12, 1941
Duration 00:01:10
Sound Yes
Videographer / Creator
Les Actualités Mondiales
Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question
Language(s)
French
Location
Paris, France
Moving Image Type Newsreel
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