Protestant Church in France Denounces Vichy’s Anti-jewish Policy

Condemnation of Vichy’s anti-Jewish law end information that the Protestant Church of France is negotiating for a partial revocation of the measure is contained in a letter sent to the Chief Rabbi of France by Marc Boegner, President of the National Council of Protestant Churches of France. The full text of the letter, made public today in New York by French circles, expresses grief over “the innumerable hardships and injustices” which the anti-Semitic regulations inflict upon the Jews of France. It reads:

“The National Council of the French Protestant Church has just held its first meeting since enacture of the law of October 1, 1940. It has asked me to convey to you the grief which we all feel to find racist laws introduced in our country and to witness the innumerable hardships and injustices which they force upon the Jews of France. There are those among us who recognize that a grave problem faces the State in the immigration of a large number of strangers, Jewish and otherwise, and in hasty and unjustifiable naturalizations. They have always voiced the conviction that the solution of this problem must derive from respect for human beings, loyalty to the promises of the State, and the claims of justice, of which France has always been the champion. They are all the more indignant because of the rigid enforcement of a law which strikes indiscriminately at Jews who have been Frenchmen for many generations, and often for centuries, and Hebrews only recently naturalised.

“Our Church, which in the past has known all the horror f persecution, feels an intense sympathy for your communities, in which freedom of worship has been put in jeopardy; and for your followers who have so suddenly been plunged into misfortune. Our Church has already taken steps, and will continue to do so, in negotiating for an essential revocation of the law.

“There is a strong bond between your religion and the Protestant Church, which men cannot sever: the Bible of the Patriarchs, Prophets and Psalmists, the Old Testament which lightened the soul of Jesus of Nazareth, and from which his disciples through all the centuries have drawn the word of God. Our Church understands profoundly the message sent forth from these hallowed Scriptures, and her mission on behalf of the downtrodden Jews of France is therefore all the more sacred.

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