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Ordinary Workers, Vichy and the Holocaust
French Railwaymen and the Second World War

$29.99 (C)

Part of Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare

  • Date Published: February 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108705745

$ 29.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Should French railwaymen during the Second World War be viewed as great resisters or collaborators in genocide? Ludivine Broch revisits histories of resistance, collaboration and deportation in Vichy France through the prism of the French railwaymen – the cheminots. De-sanctifying the idea of railwaymen as heroic saboteurs, Broch reveals the daily life of these workers who accommodated with the Vichy regime, cohabitated with the Germans and stole from their employer. Moreover, by intertwining the history of the working classes with Holocaust history, she highlights unexpected histories under Vichy and sensitive memories of the post-war period. Ultimately, this book bursts the myths of cheminot resistance and collaboration in the Holocaust, and reveals that there is more to their story than this. The cheminots fed both the French nation and the German military apparatus, exemplifying the complexities of personal, professional and political life under occupation.

    • Re-examines the histories of resistance and collaboration in Vichy France
    • Highlights the importance of working-class history and professional identity in the history of the Second World War
    • Uses a variety of sources in order to tell the stories of people who lived during the Second World War
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… well researched, well organized and well written, and it establishes thoroughly and clearly several ground-breaking points. The target of the book is to discuss myths, representations regarding the French railway system, and its collaboration with the Nazi, including résistance, strikes, sabotage and the solution finale.' Marie-Noelle Polino, The Journal of Transport History

    'The cheminots highlight an interesting tension in the dichotomy of resistance and collaboration, and Broch enriches this vein in the historiography with a rich, focused and much-needed reconsideration of France’s railway workers. Her book offers a valuable insight into the complex legacy of a group with a strong professional identity and a strongly felt role in the story of France’s Occupation.' Andrew W. M. Smith, The English Historical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108705745
    • dimensions: 226 x 151 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • contains: 22 b/w illus. 3 maps 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Cheminots
    2. Vichy
    3. Bahnofs
    4. Theft
    5. Protest
    6. Sabotage
    7. Shoah
    8. Liberation
    Epilogue: memory

  • Author

    Ludivine Broch, University of Westminster
    Ludivine Broch (University of Westminster) has published articles on French railwaymen in the Holocaust in Contemporary European History (2014) and Diasporas (2015), and chapters on railway history and memory. This is her first monograph. She is the co-editor of France in an Era of Global Wars, 1914–1945: Occupation, Politics, Empire and Entanglements (2014). Broch co-convenes the French History Seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, London and manages the French History Network blog affiliated to the Society for the Study of French History.

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