Quiz Vichy 1939-1945
1. The French Milice was created by Marshal Pétain in 1940.
The Milice was a repressive paramilitary organisation, created by Pierre Laval in January 1943 to combat the Resistance.
For more information, see The Petit Casino
2. The Catholic community was quick to oppose the reforms advocated by Pétain and his ministers.
The majority of the Catholic community approved of the changes advocated by the new regime. But no group was unanimous in this. From 1942, when political measures became more radical, several Catholics publicly took a stand against the regime.
For more information, see The Church of Saint Louis
3. Could anyone come and take the waters in Vichy during the war?
Answer: Yes, but under certain conditions
Persons wishing to come to Vichy from 1 June to 30 September and for a period of more than five days were permitted to stay providing they had a permit stating the reasons for their visit.
For more information, see The Grand Etablissement Thermal
4. Where did the vote on 10 July 1940, marking the end of the Third Republic, take place?
Answer: At the Opera House
On 10 July 1940, the National Assembly held an extraordinary session in Vichy’s opera house.
For more information, see The Opera House
5. 670 members of parliament were present for the vote on 10 July 1940. How many voted against the revision of the Constitution?
Of the 670 members of parliament present, 570 voted for a revision of the constitution and 80 against. The remainder abstained.
For more information, see The Opera House
6. The owners of the Pavillon Sévigné aided Jews and members of the Resistance.
Despite the requisition of the Pavillon Sévigné, its owners, Élisabeth François and her brother, were allowed to keep a few rooms for their personal use. They allowed Éclaireurs de France, France’s scouting association, to use them as their provisional headquarters until the end of the war. Scouts who had taken refuge in Vichy actively aided Jews and STO (Compulsory Work Service) deserters to flee or hide.
For more information, see The Pavillon Sévigné
7. Where did the Jews in Vichy have to go for the census?
Answer: École Carnot
On 2 June 1941, the General Commission for Jewish Questions adopted the second Jewish Statute. It specified the definition of “Jew,” lengthened the list of professions Jews were forbidden to exercise and ordered a census of Jews living in the Unoccupied Zone. In Vichy, this census was carried out at the Ecole Carnot. 2,050 Jews registered.
For more information, see The Ecole Carnot
8. The Alliance resistance network was a Gaullist group.
The leaders of the Alliance network were “Vichysto-résistants,” men and women who refused France’s defeat and occupation but who supported Marshal Pétain.
For more information, see Jean Sabatier’s apartment
9. Where did François Mitterrand work after he escaped from Stalag IXA?
Answer: The French Legion of Combatants
François Mitterrand escaped from Stalag IXA in Germany in December 1941 and arrived in Vichy in January 1942. He began working for the Legion’s “documentation” service, which was in fact an intelligence unit that gathered information on “anti-nationals” such as Communists and Gaullists.
For more information, see The Hôtel de Séville
10. What does the term “Vichysto-résistant” signify?
Answer: A member of the Resistance who supported the National Revolution
In post-war France, it was widely believed that from 1940 the Resistance and its activities were systematically motivated by a determination to combat not only the Germans but also the Vichy regime. In reality, the situation was more complex. In 1940 and 1941, many men and women refused to accept defeat and the Occupation but supported Marshal Pétain and the National Revolution. These members of the Resistance are now known as “Vichysto-resistants,” a term coined by Denis Peschanski in the early 1990s.
11. The Hôtel du Portugal was occupied by:
Answer: The Germans
In Vichy, the Germans had their headquarters in Boulevard des États-Unis. In all, they requisitioned twenty-five buildings, including the Hôtel du Portugal, where the Gestapo interrogated and tortured people it arrested or had arrested by the Milice.
For more information, see The Hôtel du Portugal
12. The Jews were protected in Vichy.
The number of Jews in Vichy decreased by 70 % from 1941 to 1943. Expelled from one day to another, thousands of French and foreign Jews lost their home, employment and the support of the family and neighbours. Isolated and vulnerable, they became easy prey for the Milice and the Gestapo.
For more information, see The Synagogue
13. During the exodus in May-June 1940, the Concours hippique was used as a:
Answer: A reception centre for refugees
The German advance in northern France in spring 1940 triggered an unprecedented exodus south. In Vichy, the Concours hippique was transformed into a reception centre.
For more information, see The Concours hippique
14. All French people who accepted to work for the Germans did so for ideological reasons.
Some French people who worked for the Germans did so for financial reasons. The high wages paid by the Germans were difficult to refuse for many working-class men and women whose financial situation had considerably worsened during the war.
For more information, see The Batissier Brigade