Bad Faith

Bad Faith

A Forgotten History of Family, Fatherland and Vichy France

Book - 2006
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Bad Faithtells the story of one of history's most despicable villains and con men--Louis Darquier de Pellepoix, Nazi collaborator and "Commissioner for Jewish Affairs," who managed the Vichy government's dirty work, "controlling" its Jewish population. Though he is one of the less remembered figures of the Vichy government, Darquier (the aristocratic "de Pellepoix" was appropriated) was one of its most hideously effective officials. Already a notorious Nazi-supported rabble-rouser when he was appointed commissioner, he set about to eliminate the Jews with particularly brutal efficiency. Darquier was in charge of the Vel' d'Hiv' round-up in Paris in which nearly 13,000 Jews were dispatched to death camps. Most of the French who died in Auschwitz were sent there during his tenure. Almost all of the 11,400 French children sent to Auschwitz--the majority of whom did not survive--were deported in his time. In all, he delivered 75,000 French to the Nazis and, at the same time, accelerated the confiscation of Jewish property, which he then used for his own financial gain. Never brought to justice, he lived out his life comfortably in Spain, denying his involvement in the Holocaust until his last days. Where did Louis Darquier come from? How did this man--a chronic fantasist and hypocrite, gambler and cheat--come to control the fates of thousands? What made him what he was? These are the questions at the center of this extraordinary book. In answering them, Carmen Callil gives us a superlatively detailed and revealing tapestry of individuals and ideologies, of small lives and great events, the forces of government and of personalities--in France and across the European continent--that made Vichy possible, and turned Darquier into its "dark essence." A tour de force of memory, accountability, and acknowledgment,Bad Faithis a brilliant meld of grand inquisitive sweep and delicate psychological insight, a story of how past choices and actions echo down to the present day, and an invaluable addition to the literature and history of the Holocaust.
Publisher: New York, NY : Knopf : 2006
ISBN: 9780375411311
0375411313
Branch Call Number: 940.5315 D251c
Characteristics: 607p illus

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eLode
Feb 24, 2014

When the author describes the Louis Darquier and his scams, they could be happening today in Vancouver. Carmen Callil shows and tells how a two bit schemer became a war criminal. He started small, outwitting the gullible, anything that screwed others. He asked widows to contribute to legal action for raising veteran pensions. Bartering his daughter for money was not his lowest swipe. Although his father and brothers worked diligently in professions, he preferred to sleep in, prey on others, tout scams, brag, dress fashionably, eat in the best restaurants, get as much on credit and stiff all bills. When cornered for payment, Darquier bluffed, chewed the scenery, puffed his war record. Pretending to be upper class cowed collectors, so he added de Pellepoix to his name, dropped names and bullied. When he ran out of suckers for grandiose lies, he turned on his family. In the 1930s, during the economic, Fascists used him to rail against the socialist government and destabilize France before the Second World War. Although he wanted to lead, for more money, the fascists found he was inept at winning minds, writing speeches, or planning. After the fall of France, the Nazis found him tedious, but he applied to be a French figurehead for their nasty pogroms. He collaborated, betrayed friends, acquaintances, strangers, then his country and humanity for four years. As chief responsible for deportations to death camps, he looted the refugees. After liberation, hunted in France, Darquier scampered into Spain. DeGaulle dropped prosecutions after a few years, for the sake of unity and wealthy collaborators. So why research and write the story of this failing jerk bobbing for more money ? Partly so we recognize the patter and patterns. Most fiction portrays the con artist as charming rascal. This jerk's greed harmed most people, even his daughter, wife, brothers and parents. The author Carmen Callil includes many revelations which would embarrass anyone else. Today’s thinking eerily matches then, when pols and developers insist on sacrifices so corporations prosper. Where's the thin line between farce and horror ? Oreal gave jobs and money to reckless traitors, before, during and after the occupation. Have they put on a better face now ? Condemning one man overlooks the system planned and condoned by the self appointed “elite”. Nobody called this sociopath’s bluff, then he got bumped into a position where he did real damage.

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