London (Jan. 14)
Nazi authorities in France visited Cardinal Gerlier, Archbishop of Lyon, and told him that they would not interfere with the Catholic Church in France providing the Cardinal and the other clergy did not oppose the anti-Jewish laws in the country and discontinued protecting Jews, it was reported here today by Allied circles.
The reply of the Archbishop was, “The French clergy has never engaged in political activities, but is obeying the Pope.” In order to indicate that the audience was terminated, Cardinal Gerlier rose and said; “You no doubt know that the Holy Father has condemned the anti-Semitic laws and all anti-Jewish measures.” The Nazi delegation was led by the German commandant of Lyon.
Other reports reaching here today indicate that with the aid of Darquier de Pellepoix, notorious French anti-Semite and Vichy Commissioner for Jewish Affairs, the Nazi administration in France has embarked on a policy of gradual but complete liquidation of all the 120,000 Jews still living in the country. “Already plans are being made to place all alien Jews in special camps and all Jews of French nationality in ghettos,” one of the reports stated.
It was emphasized in Allied circles that despite the protests by the churches in France and the opposition to the anti-Jewish measures displayed by a large part of the French non-Jewish population, Laval plans to carry out Hitler’s orders and will allow the Jews in France to be exterminated. Sacrifice of the Jews to the Nazis will be another concession by Laval to strengthen his position with Hitler, it was declared.
The possibility of French Jews being deprived of their citizenship as part of the new anti-Jewish campaign which the Nazis are now mapping out, was similarly predicted in Allied circles today. Despite the increased anti-Jewish propaganda from Berlin, Paris and Vichy, there is less anti-Jewish feeling in France now than ever before, one of the reports indicated. It was explained that this was due not only to the fact that the French population mistrusts the Nazis and their French satellites, but also to their fear that after the Nazis make France “judenrein” they will take similar action against Frenchmen.