Yellow Star: The Diary of Françoise Siefridt, a Christian Who Defied the Nazis
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In 1942 the Nazis ordered French Jews to identify themselves by wearing a yellow star. A 19-year-old Catholic student, Françoise Siefridt, showed her opposition to the law and her support of the Jews by wearing a yellow star of her own making. While walking down the Boulevard Saint Michel in Paris, she was arrested; she was then sentenced to three months in jail. In prison from June through August of 1942, she kept a diary of her time in the barracks of Tourelles and Drancy, describing the poignant scenes she witnessed, the inhumane treatment of the Jews and the deportations. She slept on a straw mattress infested with bedbugs and experienced the daily humiliations of being a prisoner of the Germans, but she never lost courage or spirit or her sense of right. Friendships with other girls and shared songs and school lessons helped her endure the experience.
In a detailed preface, French historian and writer Jacques Duquesne takes the reader back to 1942 to Paris at the time when the Nazis ordered Jews to wear a yellow star. He provides background that gives context to Siefridt’s experiences and gives us a fuller picture of the time. In an afterword, the historian Cédric Gruat shows how Siefridt’s feelings were shared by other compatriots.
Françoise Siefridt :
Jacques Duquesne : Jacques Duquesne is a historian and journalist. He cofounded and directed the French magazine Le Point, and he currently contributes to the newspaper La Croix as well as other regional dailies. He is the author of the acclaimed Jesus: An unconventional biography (Ligouri 1998), Salve Regina: The Story of Mary (Flammarion, 2006), and Histoire de l’église à travers 100 chefs-d’oeuvre de la peinture. Les vies des saints à travers 100 chefs-d’oeuvre de la peinture will be published by Duquesne University Press in 2011.
Cédric Gruat : Cédric Gruat is a historian specializing in French history from 1930 through 1940. He has taught and worked at the Memorial de la Shoah. He directed the documentary Amis des Juifs (Planète) and coauthored the book of the same title (Editions Tirésias, 2005)