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Laval Says Jews Must Be Expelled from France; Arrests Protesting Priest

September 18, 1942
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

While the Vatican City radio today voiced the Pope’s condemnation of the deportation of Jews from France, it was learned here that Pierre Laval, the Chief of the French Government, has issued an order for the arrest of Father Chaillet, a prominent Catholic priest in Lyons, for preaching opposition to the Vichy policy of surrendering refugee Jews to the Nazis.

At the same time Laval, addressing a press conference of German and other correspondents in Vichy, announced that he “will take no lessons in humanitarian from any country” and will continue to deport alien Jews from France despite protests from abroad. The announcement was apparently made as an indirect reply to the Vatican as well as to Secretary of State Cordell Hull who has denounced the deportations.

“No man and nothing can sway me from my determination to rid France of alien Jews and send them back where they came from.” Laval said. I will take no lesson in humanitarianism from any country. To Catholic cardinals and bishops who have intervened in favor of the Jews I can only say that everyone is master of his own trade. They handle religious affairs and I will handle government affairs. I am only applying to the Jews the same treatment prescribed centuries ago by the Catholic Church.”


Declaring that he has secured a promise from Nazi authorities in Paris that Jewish children will henceforth not be separated from their parents before deportation from Nazi-held France, Laval added: “I cannot say that I will never change my mind. At present, however, I have no intention of extending the anti-Jewish laws of German-occupied France to the part of France which is governed by regulations from Vichy. This includes also the order that Jews must wear yellow stars of David.”

Father Chaillet, whose arrest has been ordered, is now interned at Privas, in Southern France, and is not permitted to leave his residence or to communicate with anyone. He was on the staff of Cardinal Gerlier, Archbishop of Lyons, who bitterly condemned the deportation of the Jews. It was in Lyons that the French population staged such violent demonstrations against the Jewish expulsions that the police were forced to appeal to the military governor for aid. When the governor refused to give such aid, he was dismissed by Vichy.

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