Convenient and Conditional Humanitarianism: Evacuating French and French-Jewish Children to Switzerland during the Second World War

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Abstract

During the Second World War, Swiss charities undertook multiple large-scale humanitarian initiatives towards war-stricken children, including evacuating over 60,000 French, Belgian and Yugoslav children to Switzerland. In the summer of 1942, when French authorities began the first round-ups of Jews, parents were deported while children remained behind in France. For a brief period, thousands of abandoned French-Jewish children were left to fend for themselves. It was during that crucial moment when Swiss authorities met with Prime Minister Pierre Laval that a deal could have beenstruck to protect these French-Jewish children from deportation and extermination. This article closely examines that meeting to reveal that Swiss officials held the uncompromising view that their own self-mandated neutrality might be comprised, despite a large pre-existing evacuation infrastructure and strong Swiss public support, and to the fatal detriment of thousands of French-Jewish children.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNottingham French Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Dec 2019

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humanitarianism
World War
Switzerland
Swiss
deportation
public support
neutrality
Belgian
Jew
minister
Second World War
Humanitarianism
parents
France
infrastructure

Cite this

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title = "Convenient and Conditional Humanitarianism: Evacuating French and French-Jewish Children to Switzerland during the Second World War",
abstract = "During the Second World War, Swiss charities undertook multiple large-scale humanitarian initiatives towards war-stricken children, including evacuating over 60,000 French, Belgian and Yugoslav children to Switzerland. In the summer of 1942, when French authorities began the first round-ups of Jews, parents were deported while children remained behind in France. For a brief period, thousands of abandoned French-Jewish children were left to fend for themselves. It was during that crucial moment when Swiss authorities met with Prime Minister Pierre Laval that a deal could have beenstruck to protect these French-Jewish children from deportation and extermination. This article closely examines that meeting to reveal that Swiss officials held the uncompromising view that their own self-mandated neutrality might be comprised, despite a large pre-existing evacuation infrastructure and strong Swiss public support, and to the fatal detriment of thousands of French-Jewish children.",
keywords = "Holocaust, France, evacuation, children, Second World War, social history, Switzerland, humanitarian, Vichy, deportation, Europe, Jews",
author = "Chelsea Sambells",
year = "2019",
month = "12",
day = "11",
language = "English",
journal = "Nottingham French Studies",
issn = "0029-4586",
publisher = "Edinburgh University Press",

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Convenient and Conditional Humanitarianism

T2 - Evacuating French and French-Jewish Children to Switzerland during the Second World War

AU - Sambells, Chelsea

PY - 2019/12/11

Y1 - 2019/12/11

N2 - During the Second World War, Swiss charities undertook multiple large-scale humanitarian initiatives towards war-stricken children, including evacuating over 60,000 French, Belgian and Yugoslav children to Switzerland. In the summer of 1942, when French authorities began the first round-ups of Jews, parents were deported while children remained behind in France. For a brief period, thousands of abandoned French-Jewish children were left to fend for themselves. It was during that crucial moment when Swiss authorities met with Prime Minister Pierre Laval that a deal could have beenstruck to protect these French-Jewish children from deportation and extermination. This article closely examines that meeting to reveal that Swiss officials held the uncompromising view that their own self-mandated neutrality might be comprised, despite a large pre-existing evacuation infrastructure and strong Swiss public support, and to the fatal detriment of thousands of French-Jewish children.

AB - During the Second World War, Swiss charities undertook multiple large-scale humanitarian initiatives towards war-stricken children, including evacuating over 60,000 French, Belgian and Yugoslav children to Switzerland. In the summer of 1942, when French authorities began the first round-ups of Jews, parents were deported while children remained behind in France. For a brief period, thousands of abandoned French-Jewish children were left to fend for themselves. It was during that crucial moment when Swiss authorities met with Prime Minister Pierre Laval that a deal could have beenstruck to protect these French-Jewish children from deportation and extermination. This article closely examines that meeting to reveal that Swiss officials held the uncompromising view that their own self-mandated neutrality might be comprised, despite a large pre-existing evacuation infrastructure and strong Swiss public support, and to the fatal detriment of thousands of French-Jewish children.

KW - Holocaust

KW - France

KW - evacuation

KW - children

KW - Second World War

KW - social history

KW - Switzerland

KW - humanitarian

KW - Vichy

KW - deportation

KW - Europe

KW - Jews

M3 - Article

JO - Nottingham French Studies

JF - Nottingham French Studies

SN - 0029-4586

ER -