Louis Darquier de Pellepoix
Darquier in 1942–44
|Commissioner-General for Jewish Affairs|
8 May 1942 – 26 February 1944
(1 year, 9 months and 18 days)
|Municipal councilor of Paris|
1935 – 1940
(4 or 5 years)
19 December 1887
|Died||29 August 1980 (aged 92)|
|Political party||Action Française|
Louis Darquier (19 December 1897, Cahors – 29 August 1980, near Málaga, Spain), better known under his assumed name Louis Darquier de Pellepoix, was Commissioner-General for Jewish Affairs under the Vichy Régime.
A veteran of World War I, Darquier had been active in Fascist and antisemitic politics in France in the 1930s, being a member, at various times, of Action Française, Croix-de-Feu and Jeunesses Patriotes. On 6 February 1934 he was injured at the Place de la Concorde riot, and, according to Janet Maslin, writing in The New York Times in 2006, "parlayed (his) new status as a 'man of 6 February' into a leadership role." During this period he began collaborating with the noted antisemitic publisher Ulrich Fleischhauer's Welt-Dienst (World-Service or Service Mondial) organization based in Erfurt, Germany.
Darquier's extreme views were well-publicized. In 1937, he said, at a public meeting, "We must, with all urgency, resolve the Jewish problem, whether by expulsion, or massacre." A British report in 1942 called him "one of the most notorious anti-semites in France". At Nazi Germany's behest, he was appointed to head Vichy's Commissariat-General for Jewish Affairs in May 1942, succeeding Xavier Vallat, whom the SS in France found too moderate. Darquier's ascent to this post immediately preceded the first mass deportations of Jews from France to concentration camps. He was fired in February 1944 when, in Nicholas Fraser's words, "his greed and incompetence could no longer be countenanced."
In 1978, a French journalist from L'Express magazine interviewed him. Among other things, Darquier declared that in Auschwitz, gas chambers were not used to kill humans, but only lice, and that allegations of killings by this method were lies by the Jews. When L'Express published the interview, it caused an immediate scandal. The extradition of Darquier was considered, but was refused by Spain. The incident raised awareness of the persecution of French Jews during the Holocaust.
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