In the Aftermath of Genocide

Armenians and Jews in Twentieth-Century France

In the Aftermath of Genocide

Book Pages: 336 Illustrations: Published: July 2003

Author: Maud S. Mandel

History > European History, Religious Studies, Theory and Philosophy > Race and Indigeneity

France is the only Western European nation home to substantial numbers of survivors of the World War I and World War II genocides. In the Aftermath of Genocide offers a unique comparison of the country’s Armenian and Jewish survivor communities. By demonstrating how—in spite of significant differences between these two populations—striking similarities emerge in the ways each responded to genocide, Maud S. Mandel illuminates the impact of the nation-state on ethnic and religious minorities in twentieth-century Europe and provides a valuable theoretical framework for considering issues of transnational identity. Investigating each community’s response to its violent past, Mandel reflects on how shifts in ethnic, religious, and national affiliations were influenced by that group’s recent history. The book examines these issues in the context of France’s long commitment to a politics of integration and homogenization—a politics geared toward the establishment of equal rights and legal status for all citizens, but not toward the accommodation of cultural diversity.

In the Aftermath of Genocide reveals that Armenian and Jewish survivors rarely sought to shed the obvious symbols of their ethnic and religious identities. Mandel shows that following the 1915 genocide and the Holocaust, these communities, if anything, seemed increasingly willing to mobilize in their own self-defense and thereby call attention to their distinctiveness. Most Armenian and Jewish survivors were neither prepared to give up their minority status nor willing to migrate to their national homelands of Armenia and Israel. In the Aftermath of Genocide suggests that the consolidation of the nation-state system in twentieth-century Europe led survivors of genocide to fashion identities for themselves as ethnic minorities despite the dangers implicit in that status.


“This is a brave book. . . . In the Aftermath of Genocide makes a crucial contribution to our understanding of the French state, the history of Jews and Armenians in twentieth-century France, and the effects of state violence while providing an impressive model of comparative historiographic method.” — Leora Auslander , Journal of Modern History

"In the Aftermath of Genocide breaks new ground by studying policy prescriptions and subjective experience together, comparing 'the aftermath of genocide' across two groups, Armenians and Jews. . . . Through her comparative approach, Mandel tells a more complex and interesting story, not only about Armenians and Jews 'in the aftermath of genocide,' but also about French society in the aftermath of two world wars." — Mary D. Lewis , French Politics, Culture & Society

"Detailed, thorough, and thoughtful, Mandel's book is an excellent addition to the scholarly literature of genocide and its consequences. By focusing on an often neglected aspect of this phenomenon, the author has contributed greatly to our understanding of the ways in which persecuted groups are able to respond to their victimization, and her book should be of interest to anyone concerned about these important issues." — Alex Alvarez , American Historical Review

"Mandel does make a convincing case, backed up by an impressive bibliography and extensive notes. The book is particularly valuable in providing a thorough historical examination of the status of the survivors of genocide in French society, taking into account social, cultural and religious distinctions, and makes a case for the essential questions of the twentieth century where personal identity is becoming more entrenched in national identity." — Ferzina Banaji , French Studies

"Mandel's work fills a gap in our understanding about what happens in the aftermath of genocide, and teaches us that, to understand how communities rebuild, we must be sensitive to the specific contextual factors that condition how they respond to their traumatic past." — Jonathan Judaken, H-France, H-Net Reviews

“France is a perfect setting for this exciting comparative study. Not only is it one of the places where both Armenians and Jews settled or re-settled after displacement, but it is a country which, due to its long history as a nation-state and its constantly reaffirmed ‘republican’ ideology, offers a particularly interesting case for an analysis of transnationalism-as-lived.” — Nancy L. Green, author of Ready-to-Wear and Ready-to-Work: A Century of Industry and Immigrants in Paris and New York

“This extraordinarily well-conceived book enriches scholarship on French Armenians and Jews by exploring how genocide shaped communal life and the processes by which national and ethnic identities converged in twentieth-century France.” — Leslie P. Moch, author of Moving Europeans: Migration in Western Europe since 1650


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Maud S. Mandel is Dorot Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies and Assistant Professor of History at Brown University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Note on Transliteration xiii

Introduction 1

1. Orphans of the Nation: Armenian Refugees in France 19

2. The Strange Silence: France, French Jews, and the Return to Republican Order 52

3. Integrating into the Polity: The Problem of Inclusion after Genocide 86

4. Diaspora, Nation, and Homeland among Survivors 118

5. Maintaining a Visible Presence 151

6. Genocide Revisited: Armenians and the French Polity after World War II 178

Conclusion 202

Notes 209

Bibliography 291

Index 311
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3121-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3134-6
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