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
Branch Call Number: 940.5315 D251c
Characteristics: 607p illus


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Feb 24, 2014

This investigative reporting of Louis Darquier, a French schemer, is so detailed and insightful that his ilk is recognizable today in Vancouver. Revealing her unusual connection, the author describes the sociopath better than any case study in psychology. While fiction twirls the rogue as charming, true accounts tote the devastation caused to others. Darquier bullied, bluffed, chewed the scenery, puffed his war record. Bartering his daughter for money was not his lowest swipe. Wanting to live high, unwilling to work, he started by stiffing restaurants and hotels. He suckered his hardworking parents and diligent brothers. When fascists in France fanned money to destabilize the national government, he sidled into their ranks. He wanted to lead, but proved inept at writing tracts, developing arguments or convincing influential contacts. When riots broke out in Paris, he contacted the widows of six men killed and asked them to donate to his law suit. Using their money, he appealed to the readers of fascist newspapers for funds. He used used most for his extravagant expenses. After France reeled through the 1930s depression and austerity economics, the Nazi invasion provided his next opening. Although the Nazis found him boring, they needed a French figurehead for deportations. He collaborated, betrayed friends, acquaintances, strangers, then his country and humanity. After liberation, he scampered into Spain with loot stolen during the occupation. DeGaulle dropped prosecutions after a few years, for the sake of unity and the wealthy. Just as now, it’s hard to believe that nobody called this jerk’s bluff. So why research and write the life story of this sponge failing upwards ? The author Carmen Callil includes many revelations. How close today’s thinking matches then, when sacrifices were made so corporations prospered, makes me wonder how close we are to the cliff. Some companies, Oreal, for instance, gave jobs and money to those reckless traitors. Condemning one man overlooks the system planned and condoned by the self appointed “elite”.

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