The 150-year-old emancipation of the French Jews was ended today when a “Jewish Statute” was issued for the first time in modern French history, containing drastic anti-Jewish restrictions, together with another law creating special concentration camps for foreign Jews.
The Jewish Statute, promulgated in the Journal Official, bars all Jews from high Government positions and key posts in such professions as the press and cinema and limits lesser public positions to Jews with war service.
An official spokesman told newspapermen that the Jewish statute was motivated by purely internal French reasons and was not brought about by any “external pressure.” The “Messianic” tendency of the Jews in public affairs had proved dangerous for France and led to the crusade for war and disaster, he said. France must take measures to defend its interests, which had been neglected by Jewish politicians, he stated.
The official explanatory note published by the Havas News Agency declares that the statute does not aim at “revenge, but is necessary to security” following France’s defeat. It states that the Government “respects the persons and property of the Jews.”
Alluding to the period of the Popular Front government, the statement asserts that “all observers agree as to the sad effects of Jewish activity during recent years, when they had a preponderant direction of our affairs.” While admitting a number of “honorable exceptions,” the statement insists on the “insinuating and finally decomposing influence of the Jews” in public service.
The emancipation of the Jews was proclaimed in 1791, during the French Revolution, when a decree was passed stating that “the Jews enjoy the privileges of full citizens.”
The new statute stipulates:
(1) “Jews” are persons having three grandparents of the Jewish race and those married to Jews and having two Jewish grandparents.
(2) The following public posts are entirely prohibited to Jews: Chief of State, member of the Government, member of the State Council, member of the Council of the Legion of Honor, member of the Cassation Court and Court of Accounts, posts of Government mining and communications engineer, financial inspector, member of the Appeals Courts and all tribunals of the first degree, justice of the peace, all elected bodies, all Foreign Ministry posts, the post of ministerial secretary, prefects, sub-prefects, some other higher administrative posts and also higher posts in the colonies. Jews are excluded from the posts of teachers in both higher and lower educational institutions. They cannot be army, navy or air officers. Higher posts in officially-subventioned bodies are also closed to Jews.
(3) All other official jobs may be filled by Jews who fought in the 1914-1918 war or who fought with distinction in the 1939-1940 war or who were decorated with the Military Legion of Honor or with the Military Medal.
(4) All other professions, including the liberal ones, are open to Jews without restriction unless further decrees fix a percentage of Jews in these professions. “Superfluous” Jews will then be eliminated.
(5)Jews are completely excluded from positions of director or manager of periodicals, except scientific publications. All higher posts in the film industry, including high technical posts, are closed to Jews. Penalties will be provided for violation.
(6) Jews are to be eliminated from service before Dec. 17 and will receive pensions or compensation.
(7) Jews with exceptional merits in literary, scientific and artistic branches may be exempted from the restrictions.
(8) The law is applicable also to Algeria and the colonies, protectorates and mandated territories.
The law regarding foreign Jews residing in France stipulates: (1) Foreigners of the Jewish race may be interned in special camps by decision of the prefects of the various departments. (2) Foreigners of the Jewish race may be compelled to reside in fixed localities.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.