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Jacques Sémelin

Jacques Sémelin is a historian and author of The Survival of the Jews in France, 1940-1944 (Oxford University Press, 2019, tr. by Cynthia Schoch and Natasha Lehrer).


Jacques Sémelin, historian, political scientist and psychologist, has since 1997 served as a director of research at Sciences Po. In 2007, Sémelin was qualified as a professor of History and of Political Science by the Conseil national des universités (le CNU). Sémelin is highly esteemed for his work on mass violence and mass genocide, being a member of the International Association of Genocide Scholars. He is the founder of the Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence, of which he has been president since January 2011. In addition, he serves on the scientific boards of journals including the European Review of History, the Journal of Genocide Research and 20th Century (vingtième siècle).

About the book: The Survival of the Jews in France, 1940-1944

Between the French defeat in 1940 and liberation in 1944, the Nazis killed almost 80,000 of France's Jews, both French and foreign. Since that time, this tragedy has been well-documented. But there are other stories hidden within it-ones neglected by historians. 75% of France's Jews escaped the extermination, while 45% of the Jews of Belgium perished, and in the Netherlands only 20% survived. The Nazis were determined to destroy the Jews across Europe, and the Vichy regime collaborated in their deportation from France. Jacques Semelin sheds light on this 'French enigma', painting a radically unfamiliar view of occupied France. His is a rich, even-handed portrait of a complex and changing society, one where helping and informing on one's neighbor went hand in hand; and where small gestures of solidarity sat comfortably with anti-Semitism. Without shying away from the horror of the Holocaust's crimes, this seminal work adds a fresh perspective to the history of the Second World War.


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