A "Jewish Marshall Plan"
The American Jewish Presence in Post-Holocaust France
Published by: Indiana University Press
While the role the United States played in France's liberation from Nazi Germany is widely celebrated, it is less well known that American Jewish individuals and organizations mobilized to reconstruct Jewish life in France after the Holocaust. In A "Jewish Marshall Plan," Laura Hobson Faure explores how American Jews committed themselves and hundreds of millions of dollars to bring much needed aid to their French coreligionists.
Hobson Faure sheds light on American Jewish chaplains, members of the Armed Forces, and those involved with Jewish philanthropic organizations who sought out Jewish survivors and became deeply entangled with the communities they helped to rebuild. While well intentioned, their actions did not always meet the needs and desires of the French Jews.
A "Jewish Marshall Plan" examines the complex interactions, exchanges, and solidarities created between American and French Jews following the Holocaust. Challenging the assumption that French Jews were passive recipients of aid, this work reveals their work as active partners who negotiated their own role in the reconstruction process.
List of Images
List of Abbreviations
1. Before the "Jewish Marshall Plan"
2. Jewish Encounters in Liberation France
3. Emerging from Catastrophe
4. Long-term Reconstruction
5. A Political Presence?
6. "From Charity to Social Work"
As Hobson Faure beautifully documents in her rich and in-depth analysis, in order to overcome the vast financial, cultural and psychological hurdles created by the war, French Jews turned to their well-established American Jewish co-religionists for aid. Much of this philanthropic support was channeled through the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (AJDC), which brought significant resources but also new ideas about how best to structure and organize communal life. Hobson Faure traces the crucial role of the AJDC in this work, while also revealing how French Jews, never passive recipients of aid, came to post-war reconstruction with their own perspectives and approaches. Hobson Faure masterfully traces the impact of this give and take on the long term development of French Jewish life, while also uncovering powerful stories about the people who made these changes possible.~Maud Mandel, Williams College
From Jewish GIs to social workers, men and women, Laura Hobson Faure's deeply researched and thoughtful book tells the untold story of American Jewish efforts to help resuscitate Jewish life in France after the devastation of World War II. Skillfully exploring the transnational nexus of philanthropy, its finances, and the efforts to reconstruct the French Jewish community, A "Jewish Marshall Plan" shows with great insight how this Franco-American encounter engendered gratitude but also tensions as new notions of community and social work arrived in France.~Nancy Green, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
This richly detailed and deeply researched study deploys Jewish history to offer a refreshingly new and nuanced take on the contested histories of "Americanization" in early post World War II Europe. Hobson Faure's focus on Jewish relief and reconstruction efforts in France shifts attention to a significant, diverse,—and understudied—group of Holocaust survivors outside of direct Allied control and thereby points to the dynamic, multidirectional transnational exchange between American Jewish aid workers and a survivor community that demanded and depended on U.S. assistance and simultaneously insisted on agency in determining their future. Archival records from multiple American and French Jewish organizations and oral histories of individual actors point to a more complex (and gendered) understanding of how aid donors and recipients encountered and negotiated with one another in the wake of catastrophe and emerging American power, within Europe and within the remaining global Jewish world.~Atina Grossmann, Cooper Union, New York
Available for the first time in English, Hobson Faure's study of the role American Jewish philanthropy played in rebuilding French Jewry after the Holocaust is essential reading for anyone interested in both post-war American Jewish history and French Jewish history. Beautifully written and deftly researched, A "Jewish Marshall Plan", combines archival materials, oral interviews, published and unpublished materials to clearly illustrates why the institutions shaping French Jewry after the Holocaust must be examined in a transnational context. Moving beyond arguments of cultural imperialism to explain the impact of American Jews and their philanthropy on post-Holocaust Jewish life in France, Hobson Faure, show the dynamic dialectic that developed between American Jewish social workers, French Jewish resistance fighters, American Jewish philanthropists, Jewish communal workers, Jewish refugees and a host of other characters to shape the Jewish community of France, the largest Jewish community in continental Western Europe after the destruction of the Holocaust.~Rebecca Kobrin, Russell and Bettina Knapp Associate Professor of American Jewish History, Columbia University