In May 1940 the German Wehrmacht invaded Northern and Western Europe. The subsequent occupation of Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France brought the Jewish population of these countries – both established residents and refugees – under German control. From 1942 Jews throughout Western Europe were required to wear the ‘Jewish star’ and most had to perform forced labour. By this point, deportation from France and Luxembourg to the ghettos and extermination camps had already begun, and it was imminent in the remaining occupied countries.
Covering the period from the German invasion to mid 1942, this volume records how Jews in these parts of Europe were excluded from society and stripped of their rights, livelihoods, and property. Letters and diary entries by the persecuted Jews detail life under German occupation and attempts to emigrate. The sources show how Jewish organizations sought to alleviate the impact of persecution and how German occupiers and local collaborators targeted Jews with increasingly stringent measures and clamped down on any form of resistance.