Heroines of Vichy France

Rescuing French Jews during the Holocaust

by Paul R. Bartrop and Samantha J. Lakin


Despite the odds, Jewish women collectively saved hundreds of Jewish children, among others, during the Holocaust.

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Cover image for Heroines of Vichy France

May 2019


Pages 173
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Military History/Conflict and Wars
  World History/Conflict

This book tells the largely unknown story behind the rescue activities of several remarkable young Jewish women in Vichy France during World War II and their role in the resistance against Nazi and Vichy France deportation policies.

Few studies of Vichy France and the Holocaust have looked at the rescue of Jews by those prepared to risk everything to escort them to safety in the border regions, and even fewer have considered Jewish rescue of Jews, specifically of Jewish children by women. This work will be arguably the first book in which the experiences and efforts of a number of female rescuers—all of whom knew or knew of each other—have been brought together in a single volume, with the object of honoring their memory and showing how the value of human life was sustained through the Holocaust.

Focusing on a number of young Jewish women who defied the Nazis, this narrative highlights their courage and sacrifice in their efforts to rescue Jews in France during World War II. Additionally, it shows how these French women responded to Nazi and Vichy France policies of deportation through resistance activities. This is a story that will captivate anyone with an interest in the innate goodness of human beings that can shine even when confronted with the darkest expressions of depravity that occurred during the Holocaust.


  • Grounds a captivating narrative in extensive field research conducted in France, which focused especially on holdings at the Memorial de la Shoah (Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation) in Paris, the Resistance and Deportation Center and Museum in Lyon, and the Departmental Archives of Haute Savoie
  • Offers compelling profiles of the resisters and gives voice to those who were rescued in addition to speculation as regards their respective fates after the Holocaust
  • Reflects the expertise of Paul Bartrop, a well-known scholar of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and Samantha Lakin, an emerging scholar with a track record of achievement in Genocide Studies who has undertaken extensive research for this project while on a Fulbright fellowship in Switzerland
  • Appeals to a broad audience at both public and academic libraries, with readers of World War II history and Holocaust studies
Author Info

Paul R. Bartrop, PhD, is an award-winning scholar of the Holocaust and genocide and professor of history and director of the Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University. In 2011–2012 he was the Ida E. King Distinguished Visiting Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. For many years he was an Honorary Fellow at Deakin University, Melbourne. He has been a scholar-in-residence at the Martin-Springer Institute for Teaching the Holocaust, Tolerance and Humanitarian Values at Northern Arizona University.

Samantha J. Lakin, MA, has done extensive research in a number of areas relating to the Holocaust and genocide. A former National Endowment for the Humanities grantee, Raphael Lemkin Research Fellow, and Fulbright Scholar, she has degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and Brandeis University. She is currently completing her PhD through the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University, MA. Among her publications is Testimonies: Stories of Refugee Children Rescued to Switzerland during World War II, published through the Swiss Embassy in Washington, DC.

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