One of the first measures taken by the Vichy government, the law of July 22nd, 1940, intended to give France back to the French. It organized the denaturalization of all French nationals naturalized since 1927. Hundreds of thousands of people were targeted by the law—Jews chiefly among them, even if the law did not explicitly mention them. Drawing from a large archival investigation, Claire Zalc’s Dénaturalisés, les retraits de nationalité sous Vichy (Seuil, 2017) examines how the magistrates of the committee that revised naturalizations made their decisions, how prefects and mayors implemented their instructions, how people stripped from French nationality were impacted, and how they responded.
Historian, CNRS and EHESS; author of Melting Shops. Une histoire des commerçants étrangers en France; coauthor, Face à la persécution. 991 Juifs dans la guerre; coeditor, Pour une microhistoire de la Shoah
Institute of French Studies Lecture
Photo credit: Seuil, 2016