The World at War


Georges Mandel

French Journalist and Politician

Born: June 5, 1885 at Chatou, Seine-et-Oise
Died: July 7, 1944

     He was born Louis Georges Rothschild. His family though not related to the banking dynasty was prosperous and Jewish. They left Alsace in 1871 to retain French citizenship.

     Mandel began working life as a journalist for L'Aurore, the paper of Zola, Clemenceau and the defenders of Captain Dreyfus. Clemenceau brought Mandel into politics as his chief of staff in his war cabinet. Mandel was elected to the Chamber of Deputies from Gironde (Bordeaux) in 1919, lost his seat when the Cartel des gauches swept the 1924 elections but returned to the Chamber in 1928. He remained in the deputies until 1940 serving as Minister of Posts 1934-35 and Minister of Colonies 1938-40.

     Reynaud appointed him Minister of the Interior on May 10, 1940. Mandel was an economic conservative but also, not unexpectedly, an outspoken opponent of Nazis and fascists. He opposed the armistice and was among a small group of deputies who boarded the Massilia in Bordeaux on June 21, 1940 hoping the Government would continue the fight from North Africa. They were arrested and held in Morocco until Petain completed the overthrow of the Republic. Mandel was given over to the Germans following the occupation of the southern zone in November 1942. He was deported first to Oranienburg then Buchenwald. Mandel was returned to Paris on July 4, 1944 and placed in the custody of Darnand's Milice. Three days later he was taken to the Forest of Fontainbleu where he was murdered in retaliation for the assassination of Vichy propaganda minister Philippe Henriot.

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