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Corporal’s Letter Refuting Anti-semitic Charges Read in French Chamber

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The Chamber of Deputies listened today to the reading of a letter from a Jewish corporal in the front-line trenches replying to disguised attacks on Jews which have been made by the newspaper Action Francaise.

Charles Maurras, editor of Action Francaise, had been asserting that “inhabitants” were not represented in the French Army. The term “inhabitants” was used to evade the French law forbidding anti-Jewish propaganda. The corporal’s reply, addressed to Maurras, was read in the chamber by Deputy Maurice and was published in the Journal Official. The letter follows:

“I have been informed of an article in the Action Francaise bearing your signature and reproducing a letter from one of your correspondents. You pretend that there are no ‘inhabitants’ in the regiments in the trenches. Allow an authentic Jew who is not ashamed of his origin to contradict you formally on this point.

“I am corporal of….and I belong to a division which is returning to the front lines for the second time within three months. My younger brother is sergeant in a fighting unit somewhere in the east, as are my second cousin and my brother-in-law. None of us had the opportunity of ‘being left’ in a recruiting office as your correspondent was.

“In my company I have the brotherly affection of all my comrades. Many of my best pals are devout Catholics. But they, unlike you M. Maurras or Adolf Hitler, do not believe in race hatred. They know only Frenchmen who are in the same mess and who are facing the enemy, watching in the mud.

“The mortar that demolished my trench facing the…could have killed me, the Jew, as well as my dear Christian comrade who was lying in the mud at my side. The liberty we are fighting for is not yours, M. Maurras. Several young Jews whom I knew well have already been killed. A Jew knows how to die for his country.

“I do not know whether you will show enough ‘fair play’ to insert my letter in Action Francaise. All I wish to accomplish by writing to you is the duty of my conscience. I am always willing to cede my place to any of your admirers.

“From the front I am addressing to you, M. Maurras, my salutations as a good Frenchman. (Signed) Corporal Charles Levine.”

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