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Literature against anti-Semitism (1940-1944). French and Soviet emigré writers in France against the persecution of the Jews

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - LIAGAN (Literature against anti-Semitism (1940-1944). French and Soviet emigré writers in France against the persecution of the Jews)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2017-05-31

The Project LIAGAN’s aim was to investigate the view writers had of the persecution of the Jews in Occupied France. It aimed at approaching the texts of the writers who reacted to the injustices suffered by the Jews becoming exiles and being hunted down as Others, before being simply eliminated. In this context, it intended to study the works of fiction in which the question of the persecution of the Jews was at stake. The project was defined by two axes: (1) the French writers who raised their voices against the persecutions of which the Jews were victims in France during the Occupation, (2) emigré writers from Central and Oriental Europe (Russian, Russian-language, Georgian) who lived in France during this period and who also stood up against these injustices.

The cooperation with the researchers of the host unit Eur’ORBEM, specialized in the study of multiculturalism, exile and emigration, violence and persecutions in the 20th century, led to a fruitful work results. Mutual inclusion in scientific manifestations resulted in common publications, presentations. It allowed more targeted approach of the abovementioned question. As for the conclusions that the Project realization permitted to make, can be formulated in these terms: (1) meticulous analyse allowed to determine that number of French authors expressed their indignation through fictional texts and press articles towards the anti-Semitic ideology of the Nazism, as well as towards the wave of anti-Semitic violence in the France of 1930s. The formulas as “extermination War” and “elimination” of the Jews by the Nazi Germany “throughout all the nations of the world” is defined as the possible schema of the Nazi ideological project in the years before the realization of the Holocaust. The study permitted to reveal the semantic/historic/sociological aspects of the Jew’s persecution denunciation context in literary texts. (2) As concerns the exile writing in France of 1930’s, it became evident, through the study, that the socio-cultural and historical context of Georgian case differs from that of Russian and Russian-language émigré authors. The event of exile appears for Georgian writers, confined in their own national context – continuing writing in Georgian and being centered on the fate of Georgia Sovietized by force – as a tragic moment that permits to criticize the repressive machine of Soviet Stalinist regime. Auto-identification with the figure of the “clochard”, pariah, Jew emerges throughout the exilic writing of Georgian authors. The figure of the homeless is an evocation of the one who is excluded from the society, becomes the enemy of Soviet state, like the Jew who incarnates the stranger by excellence during Nazism and in Vichy France. Still, except some unique cases, marginalized Georgian émigré literature stays distant from European socio-political problematics and focuses especially on the violent critic of Soviet repressive regime.
The work related to three phases of the fulfillment of LIAGAN project and consisting in (a) Elaboration-exploitation of the material, (b) Exploitation-realization of the data and (c) Actualization of the performed research, is demonstrated by working in the archives and libraries, by regular consultations with the supervisor Luba Jurgenson & the researchers from the host unit Eur'Orbem as well as external researchers. These actions leaded to the involvement into Eur’Orbem’s research activities, and the participation in seminars/conferences in diverse research centers in Paris and abroad. visiting of exhibitions/museums displaying works on the Second World War, Resistance, anti-Semitism allowed to discover new materials.
In this context, the main results achieved so far are as follows:
(1) 15 articles (full text of 3 of them are already available in green open access on platform HAL; 3 of them will be available in golden open access at the moment of publication in 2017&2018; 9 of them will be available in green open access in 2017-2019). Bibliographical records of all of them are available in open access on platform HAL.
(2) 10 papers at the international conferences delivered in France and abroad (Paris, Nantes, Vienna, Tbilisi, Huesca, Kénitra); Full video recording of 2 of them are available in golden open access.
(3) 6 papers delivered as invited lecturer in European universities (Université Paris-Sorbonne, Universität des Saarlandes, EHESS – École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, VUB – Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Mariott Tbilissi – campaign for the promotion of MSC actions).
(4) 2 International conferences organized at the Université Paris-Sorbonne. Video recording of the two-day conference is available in integrity in golden open access.
(5) 2 books edition prepared together with Luba Jurgenson (one of the book is in press and the second one will be published in 2019). Two of them will be available in green open access.
(6) Monograph (materials for the monograph are prepared but they need an additional work before to be ready for publication approximately at the end of 2018/beginning 2019).
LIAGAN was articulated to study (a) the fiction of the authors where the question of anti-Semitism was discussed as well as (b) less known or forgotten authors or works ever published since the years 1930-1944. So doing, the research has developed an entirely new and relevant extent as these texts have not been approached from the perspective of the figure of the Jew they outline, or from that of the denunciation of the persecution of the Jews. Secondly, the Project emphasized the literature of emigration in the years 1930-1940s, in particular Georgian writers who found themselves forced into exile in France, that was never been studded before, precisely from the point of view of their socio-political and literary implication into the phenomenon such as nationalism, Nazism, anti-Sémitism that swept Europe in 1930s.
In this perspective, the major socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project consists in dissemination of the above study results through (1) publications (available already/shortly in open access), (2) interventions at the international conferences and (3) seminars for students and wider public in France, Germany, Belgium, Georgia, Austria, Spain; (4) organization of 2 international conferences dedicated to the issues of the persecutions/exile/Jews permitted to implicate 10 members of the host unit Eur’Orbem and gather researchers from France, USA, Israel, Georgia, Belgium. As for the public implication, more than 100 persons (students, professors, external attendees interested in the subject coming especially for the event from other cities of France) attended the conference and participated in debates. Two-day conference video recording already available in golden open access as well as the publication of conference proceedings (one in press, other – in preparation) both as a book and shortly published online in open access contributes/shall contribute to provide thus wider societal implications. The impact of the grant on the researcher’s career was very significant: it permitted to the researcher to become a full Professor since autumn 2016. The realization of the Project allowed as well the implementation of a new course/seminar at the home Institution (Ilia State University, Georgia) : “Literature in exile: the figure of outcast, émigré, Jew”.
"International Workshop ""Les écrivains face à la persécution, au massacre de masse et au génocide"""
"Conference ""Les écrivains français et géorgiens en France face à l'Occupation"""
"International conference ""Le proscrit, le banni, l'émigré"""
Overview of the Results LIAGAN (part 1)
Overview of the Results LIAGAN (part 3)
Overview of the Results LIAGAN (part 2)