Other Jewish owned property was “legally” appropriated by the state itself. Some 100,000 houses were seized and sold to non-Jews between 1940 and 1944, as the Vichy government copied the Nazi’s anti-Semitic policy of “Aryanization” _ of displacing Jews from society. The French state then pocketed the money.
A national exhibit at Paris’ Shoah Memorial confronts the issue for the first time, tracing the 1941 creation of a commission that enforced the seizures _ often with the help of volunteers, coldly called “administrators.” They exercised full rights over the property of Jewish families.
All around the country, billboards, posters and classified ads in newspapers popped up calling on the public to buy the stolen property.
The exhibit features one which reads “For Sale: Beautiful bourgeois home,” or another in bold writing: “Sale of Jewish property… Belonging to (an) Israelite.”
The exhibit’s curator, Tal Bruttman, said this is the only time in history where the state actually called on the whole nation to take part in anti-Semitism.
“It’s a crucial story that’s not been told before,” Bruttmann said. The exhibit runs until Sept. 21.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at http://Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP