I’ve put this up because a) it was the local directive that would prove fatal for my father’s uncle and b) because it gives us all an insight into the methods and processes of the Nazi genocide machine. Note the precision about logistics but the lie about Jews’ supposed collective guilt. Remember it’s the Nazis who are the illegitimate occupying army.
This command went from the regional prefect to the local prefect to the police who arrested 31 Jews and shipped them to Drancy, to Paris and then Auschwitz. Note also it’s ‘of all nationalities’ by this point. These commands had been directed to foreign-born Jews up till then. One way Vichy claimed these acts were 'legitimate' was because it was getting rid of people who weren't French. At this point, Vichy's collaboration crossed a line because it was collaborating with people (the Nazis) who were deporting French people whose only 'crime' was that they were born Jewish. This is not me legitimating the deportation of foreign-born Jews (of course not) but it's worth noting the line being crossed here.
From: Kommandant der Sicherheitspolizei und des S.D. in Poitiers
Poitiers, le 27 janvier 1944 (January 27)
To Mr Regional Prefect, in Poitiers
Subject: the removal (‘écartement’) of the Jews from the Poitiers Region.
In recent times, there have been multiple cases of Jews being involved in acts of terrorism and sabotage, discovered taking part in the communist movement and being known as principal actors or instigators in other anti-German organisations. As a result, I am requesting you, in this case of security measures which must be taken out of all necessity, to arrest in the first hours of January 31, 1944 and then later at 3 o’clock in the morning, all Jews still present in the region, without regard for their nationality or their age and to transfer them as soon as possible to the closed camp for Jews in Drancy. The families must be taken in groups. This measure also extends to Jews who live in a mixed marriage, and also to people who count as Jews and to Jews by religion (‘confession‘) who come from a mixed marriage, also to Jews working for French or German households [‘maisons’ nb this might mean ‘businesses’] or in work camps (for example, O.T.) ** [see below] The Jews are authorised to take winter clothes with them on the journey and the usual necessary utensils, as well as some food for 3 days. We will let them take money (‘argent des devises’) and valuable objects.
The sick - that is, those who will not be able to manage the journey - must produce a medical certificate and should be interned in the nearest hospital.
You will present to us in three letters - one for each ‘département‘ [like a ‘county‘ in Britain] a list of arrested Jews and a list of Jews interned in the hospitals. These lists must include the following points:
the order number, surname, first name, date and place of birth, country of residence, street and number, profession and day of arrest.
The Jews’ lodgings must be closed and placed under German seals.
[Original written in French, source: in facsimile p.97
‘La Traque, le destin des juifs de Vendée pendant la seconde guerre mondiale’
Éditions Les Chantuseries (2015)]
** "O.T." =