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In the Shadow of Vichy

The Finaly Affair- With a Foreword by Robert Finaly


Joyce Block Lazarus

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, a judicial case involving the custody of two Jewish orphans mushroomed into a major crisis of Jewish-Christian relations in France. A New York Times journalist called this affair «the worst religious storm of post-war France». The Finaly Affair (1945-1953), which is best understood in the context of post-Vichy anti-Semitism, came about when Catholic fundamentalist beliefs came into conflict with France’s republican principles. This affair polarized the French nation and was transformed into a national crisis by the explosive power of the French press. It had lasting consequences for interfaith relations in France and for the French Jewish community. In the Shadow of Vichy captures this astonishing story of how the Church’s kidnapping of two Jewish children just after World War II helped to hasten the revolutionary changes of Vatican II.