Re: Jewish deportees having fought in the French Foreign Legion #france
Alexander Watson asked:
Whilst looking into the cases of Jews of German origin deported from
from various readings, I have counted 5,500 Foreign Jews who volunteeredto French Foreign Legion in the first months after the outburst of World
My estimate is they amounted up to 25,000 persons (as you can learn below).
They were not accepted in other French army units, and had to join the
Foreign Legion despite deeply rooted antisemitism in this Army branch.
Several regiment units were specially created in Barcares (Pyrenees-Orientales),
La Valbonne (Ain) as well as in North Africa, between September 1939 and
The volunteers learned basic military skills, were poorly trained and with
They were composed mainly of Spanish Republicans and of Foreign Jews, mainly
Polish Jews but also Jews >from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Romania,
North Africa, Turkey.Jews signed they volunteer for the period of the war.
The men of these units bravely fought and I estimate that 50% of them were
killed in action in May-June 1940.
Most of these army units were dismantled after the armistice (June 22, 1940).
Survivors and injured men were sent back to their families, and many of the=
m were later caught as civilians by the French police ... and sent to
extermination camps during 1942-1944.
In 2005, the Memorial de la Shoah in Paris had devoted an exhibition to these
You can find some more details at the following sites in English
and in French at
The French Ministry of Defense web site has a database of 53,000 volunteers
in these army units at
This repository contains many spelling errors, foreign names were poorly
spelled and the site warns that 25% of the individuals are listed several times.
You can easily check that many volunteers bear Jewish names, therefore
my estimate above.
By comparing the names in this database with the deportation lists, you should
be able to identify many of the volunteers who were later sent to deportation.
Searching:SZTROWAJS (Staszow/Chmielnik, Poland), PTASZNIK (Dzialoszyce, Poland),
MEDAISKI (Vilnius, Lithuania), KAPNIK (Zhytomyr, Ukraine)