In recent decades historians have done a lot to reveal the social and political diversity of the people who participated in the French Resistance. But little has been said about non-white resisters who were among the 200,000 men and women from the colonies living in the French metropole during the Occupation. This article shows that many of them were entangled in the Resistance as early as the summer of 1940 and that they became involved in the most political and violent forms of defiance. Resistance, however, was not a “natural” decision for many of the colonial workers or prisoners, whose daily struggles could bring them into tension with the Free French as well as Vichy. So, if this study aims to rectify misconceptions of the Resistance as an entirely Eurocentric affair, it also probes the complicated relationship between colonial subjects and the metropole during the war.
Hub of the Nationalist Underground, Paris 1926–1962
Algerian migrant workers in Paris inhabited café-lodging houses that became centers of clandestine political organization and terrorist networks before and during the War of Independence (1954–1962). The managers, with organizational skills and a certain authority over their clients, also provided the leadership for the local nationalist cells. In a situation in which the cell members also constituted the hotel clientele, in which the social life of the café was at one with that of the political meeting, it was difficult for the police to penetrate and gather intelligence on the organization. There followed a war of attrition between police and nationalists for the control of the café-hotels, in which the latter developed sophisticated commercial arrangements as a façade for collecting revenue. The Algerian nationalists, like other anti-state organizations, from the French Resistance to the Mafia, developed clandestine structures within the social networks of the café and “legitimate” commercial operations.
Dana Currier Penser la famille au XIXe siècle (1789-1870) by Claudie Bernard
Emmanuelle Saada The French Imperial Nation-State: Negritude and Colonial Humanism between the Two World Wars by Gary Wilder
Amelia H. Lyons Policing Paris: The Origins of Modern Immigration Control between the Wars by Clifford Rosenberg
Gisèle Sapiro Robes noires et années sombres: Avocats et magistrats en résistance pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale by Liora Israël
Nicole Rudolph Riding the New Wave: Youth and the Rejuvenation of France after the Second World War by Richard Ivan Jobs
Donald Reid Francis Jeanson: A Dissident Intellectual from the French Resistance to the Algerian War by Marie-Pierre Ulloa
Arthur Goldhammer Modernisation et progressisme: Fin d’une époque, 1968-1981 by Pierre Grémion
Philippe Steiner Inherited Wealth by Jens Beckert
Mary Dewhurst Lewis Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves: Islam, the State, and Public Space by John R. Bowen
Kimberly J. Morgan Differential Diagnoses: A Comparative History of Health Care Problems and Solutions in the United States and France by Paul V. Dutton
From History to Historiography
Two obstacles blocked the incorporation of the rescue of Jews in France into the Resistance movement. The first, which can be traced back to the sources of the social imaginary, had to do with the fear of stirring the old demon of the Jewish problem by referring specifically to the fate awaiting the Jews. The second was inseparable from the meaning attached to the Resistance ever since its inception, which focused on political opposition to Vichy and on the liberation of France and never included rescuing those whose lives were in danger. This double marginalization (from the History of the French people as a whole and from that of the Resistance) survived liberation and gave way to three different historiographies: that of the French Resistance, that of the rescue of the Jews, and that of Jewish resistance. The history of the rescue of the Jews in France should be studied through an integrated perspective that leads to thinking about the Resistance as a whole, organized and unorganized, Jewish and non-Jewish.