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Louis Darquier de Pellepoix

Louis Darquier, better known under his assumed name Louis Darquier de Pellepoix (19 December 1897, Cahors – 29 August 1980, near Málaga, Spain) was Commissioner for Jewish Affairs under the Vichy Régime.[1]

Darquier (newspaper picture, Le Matin, 6th May 1942).

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." [2] 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."[3] A British report in 1942 called him "one of the most notorious anti-semites in France".[4] At Nazi Germany's behest, he was appointed to head Vichy's Commissariat General aux Questions Juives (Office for Jewish Affairs) in May 1942, succeeding Xavier Vallat, whom the SS in France found too moderate.[5] 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."[6]

He was sentenced to death in absentia in 1947 by the French High Court of Justice for collaboration.[7] However, he had fled to Spain, where members of the authoritarian regime of Francisco Franco, specifically General Antonio Barroso y Sánchez-Guerra, protected him.[8]

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.[9] When L'Express published the interview, it caused an immediate scandal. The extradition of Darquier was considered, but was refused by Spain.[7]

The English psychiatrist Anne Darquier was his daughter by his Australian wife, Myrtle Jones. She was abandoned by her parents as a child in the 1930s when she was left with a London nanny.[10]

Notes and references

  1. ^ Fraser, p. 89.
  2. ^ Maslin 2006.
  3. ^ Fraser, pp. 89–91.
  4. ^ Brewis.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Fraser, p. 91, says he was fired in 1943; the more precise dates come from Brewis.
  7. ^ a b Carmen Callil, Bad Faith.
  8. ^ Fraser, p. 91.
  9. ^ English translation of the 1978 interview in L'Express, accessed online, 7 August 2009.
  10. ^ Fraser, pp. 88–90.
  • Kathy Brewis, The villain of Vichy France, Sunday Times, 19 March 2006. Accessed online 11 October 2006.
  • Peter Conrad, Vile days in Vichy, The Observer, 26 March 2006. Accessed online 11 October 2006.
  • Nicholas Fraser, "Toujours Vichy: a reckoning with disgrace," Harper's, October 2006, pp. 86–94. Review of two books, including Callil, Bad Faith.
  • Encyclopedia of the Holocaust Darquier de Pellepoix, Louis. [2]
  • Janet Maslin, On the Unsavory Trail of a Vichy-Era Monster, New York Times October 12, 2006.
  • David A. Bell, "The Collaborator," The Nation, December 11, 2006, pp. 28–36. Review of Bad Faith by Carmen Callil, includes a summary of that book.
  • Frederick Brown, The Embrace of Unreason: France, 1914-1940 (Knopf, 2014.)

Further reading

  • Carmen Callil, Bad Faith: A Forgotten History of Family, Fatherland, and Vichy France, Jonathan Cape: 2006. ISBN 0-224-07810-0. Also Alfred A. Knopf 2006: ISBN 0-375-41131-3. Callil began her research via Anne Darquier.