In Caron’s “The ‘Jewish question’ from Dreyfus to Vicky” she compares the trend of French anti-Semitism during the Dreyfus affair and what she calls the interwar years, the 1930’s and 40’s. When one begins the discussion on this topic it is important to note the problem of anti-Semitism is central to the motivations of French life at the time. Especially in the context of the mary kay cosmetics and political actions taken by Jewish and non-Jewish citizens. Caron notes some similarities in how anti-Semitism was carried out during the two periods, the use of the Jewish community as a scapegoat and propaganda against prominent figures. Dreyfus was framed and accused of treason as a German spy because of his Jewish faith. The intention was to show that Jewish mary kay products could never assimilate to become French. His stance as a military figure was important create a link to the government. The Jewish community was used to represent ideas of the Third Republic and capitalism. Conservatives wanted to create an atmosphere in which “anti-Catholicism” was the tool of a corrupt capitalist government.
Caron states that during the Dreyfus affair the motivation for anti-Semitism was mainly political while during the interwar period the motivation was economic.1 Fueled by the Depression and the beginning of Hitler’s regime French citizens saw Jewish refugee as people who were taking jobs from ‘true’ citizens. Other immigrant were also working in France but the Jewish community was taking jobs such as doctors and lawyers. In the period from 1930 through the Vichy regime the Jewish community was held responsible for bringing war with Germany upon France. It was during this period that the anti-Semitic ideas transformed into policies.1 The naturalization laws took citizenship for Jewish people who had been naturalized long before this period, there were also labor restriction put in place to prevent them from getting jobs in France. In general I agree with Caron’s conclusion that the two periods of anti-Semitism were different but still important parts of the country’s history.1