The American press, conservative (Wall Street Journal) as well as progressive (New York Times), regularly proclaims that it has become impossible for Jews to live in France. I conclude that these papers know neither the history of France nor what antisemitism really was.
Never in the thousand years that Jews have been in France have we been happier or less vulnerable to hostility. It must be remembered that in France antisemitism was an ideology that since the Middle Ages had the Church’s blessing, as well as that of the Army and of many intellectuals, through periods such as the Dreyfus Affair and the Vichy regime. When my family fled Berlin and the Nazi regime in 1933 to find refuge in Paris, they knew they were going from the worst to the less bad, with no illusion concerning the welcome they would receive, and only because both the United States and Spain refused to let me them in. Then came the war: French police sent half my relatives to camps from which they never returned. I survived under a new name. After the[...]