CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

1 As a centre of academic attraction, Paris has been one of the main destinations for foreign students since the 19th century, even more so since 1918 (Moulinier, 2012). In line with the French university landscape, this student mobility is concentrated in the capital, where institutions dedicated to hosting students have developed. Among them, the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris (CUP), whose first house was inaugurated in 1925 (Kévonian and Tronchet, 2013), is the most successful and most complex project.

2 The international mobility of students during the inter-war period is now well documented by historians. Initial studies showed the contribution of migration from Central Europe (Karady, 2002: 47-60). Major research has also been carried out on students from the New World, Canada and the United States, who were very attracted to Paris at a time when German universities had been weakened by the Great War (Walton, 2010; Lacroix, 2014). Finally, research analysed and mapped the presence in the capital of students from what was not yet called the Third World (Pervillé, 1984; Dewitte, 2008; Goebel, 2015). In contrast to that period, the post-1945 years have, in general, not been the focus of much research. The war thus represents a break in historiography as well as in policies for reception and support of academic mobility.

3 The outbreak of the Second World War caused major upheaval for the various academic institutions and the students themselves. Many of them left when Paris was invaded, but some found themselves trapped in the capital, unable to return, and cut off from the family and institutional support that had made their stay possible until then. To them, the city in the occupied zone became a trap, a form of imposed immobility, while cosmopolitanism became an officially rejected value. By narrowing our focus on this particular population, we observe a disconnection between, on the one hand, a university reception policy whose action was considerably reduced and, on the other, the continued presence of foreign students in the capital. The authorities in charge of higher education prioritised support for imprisoned students, while this population was largely neglected.

4 This marginalisation was reflected not only in a deteriorating material and educational situation, but also in a social and administrative identity that the conflict tended to erase. This partly explains the lack of interest shown by historians in this population. Beyond the drop in numbers and the closure of most of the host institutions, what effects did this marginalisation have on foreign students in Paris? And how to manage a population that had been symbolically significant before the war and that had been so drastically reduced?

5 The mobility of students during the Second World War has been largely unexplored. Research on the circulation of people in the cultural and educational field seems to have focused predominantly on the exile of intellectuals (Jeanpierre, 2015: 2103-2149). Yet, there has been little activity in this field.

6 Firstly, state policies were not entirely interrupted by the conflict, but they were substantially restructured. The German occupation strengthened control of the student population (Monchablon, 2011: 67-81), limiting the French government’s room for manoeuvre, and changed the French university landscape. The countries of origin, cut off from France, no longer had the same possibilities to help their nationals.

7 Secondly, non-governmental student support networks, both transnational and local, were reorganised, albeit hastily in many cases. This assistance ranged from sending books to imprisoned students to arranging accommodation and health care, and even providing support to flee.

8 Thirdly, there were the foreign students themselves. Having left few archives, it is more difficult to grasp their perception of the situation, but scattered sources show that they acted to escape a situation that had become difficult, and even became politically involved alongside their French fellow students.

9 These first three points suggest that research in this area is made difficult by the scarcity and dispersion of sources as well as overlapping levels of analysis: framework policies, solidarity networks, social categorisation and representation. This article therefore draws mainly on the German Archives of the Occupation and the archives of the Paris Rectorate for the framework and migration policies as well as for statistics. The databases of Resistance fighters assassinated at Mont Valérien and of deported Jews (Bad Arolsen Archives) have been used to supplement to some extent the quantitative approach to this student presence in Paris. Regarding solidarity networks, scattered documents from the Fonds européen de Secours aux étudiants (European Student Relief Fund — FESE), as well as the letters of Marie Louise Puech, president of the Committee on Intellectual Cooperation of the International Federation of University Women (Hunyadi, 2019: 79), have made it possible to trace some of the channels through which aid was delivered or through which people fled the capital. Finally, some autobiographical writings document this often painful experience.

10 Beyond these entangled sources, the very definition of the foreign student is problematic. For this reason, this article begins by looking at the “categorisations” and representations of this population. To whom are we referring? In what way does this social group share common characteristics? This categorisation, which is carried out by a plurality of actors, is more than a simple clarification; it is an issue that determines different policies towards this population. In addition to its shifting nature, it is used to create hierarchies and to exclude. Several forms of marginalisation are thus at work with regard to foreign students.

11 The second part of this paper presents a chronology of the presence of these students through a quantitative approach. Finally, the third part examines the experience of students who were far from their place of origin during the war. The research is extended to include colonial students. Although they benefited very slightly from the assistance of specific mutual aid institutions that remained in place despite the war, they experienced a split from their relatives similar to that of other foreign students. Based on this experience, we can therefore consider that colonial students were part of the larger group of internationally mobile students in Paris.

Who were the Foreign Students in Paris? Categorisation and Marginalisation

12 The foreign student stands at the crossroads of education policy and the migration regime. As a result, there is no precise and univocal definition of this temporary status. We shall consider the two terms respectively.

13 Firstly, the student: sources do not always specify the level of education — high school or higher education — or the establishment — university faculty, grande école[1] — or the educational pathway. We adopt the approach used in the Annuaire statistique, which distinguishes three types of establishment: the University of Paris and its six faculties, the grandes écoles and the écoles nationales d’arts et métiers (national vocational schools).

14 Secondly, the foreigner: this term covers multiple realities. Not all foreign nationals who are enrolled in higher education — universities and grandes écoles — are “foreign students”. Some students come from immigrant families who have been in France for many years, others have settled in France and others come to France for only part of their studies. Moreover, the pathways can change along the way, depending on the people they meet and the opportunities they have. A temporary move to Paris can become permanent. Romanian students during the 1930s, for example, oscillated between study visits and settlement. [2]

15 Terrier and Séchet (2007: 67-84) recommend distinguishing between “students who are internationally mobile, i.e., those who come to France exclusively for their studies, and students of immigrant background, who are not French nationals and whose parents reside in France”. While we can follow this line by focusing on “internationally mobile” students, the war highlights the fact that there are particular circumstances in which nationality, despite long-standing residence in France, once again becomes a discriminating factor. This was the case, for example, of Imré Marton, who arrived from Hungary in 1924. As a member of the Union of Communist Students, he was arrested in 1941, then released in 1943 following an intervention by his family, on condition that he return to Hungary (Ouzoulias, 1972: 60). [3] Thus, although he had not come to France specifically to study, he was, despite the length of his stay, still perceived as a foreigner. In peacetime, he would have been considered a student whose parents resided in France.

16 In addition to the difficulties of categorisation, there was an absence of a sense of belonging or self-representation of the main people involved. Unlike French students, international students did not see themselves as a “community of shared living and interest” (Picard, 2009: 18). Indeed, they did not seem to consider themselves as a distinct social group, even though they represented more than a thousand individuals. Other identities surpassed that of foreign student: nationality (Chinese or Romanian students), politics (communist students), religion or student status. The category of foreign student, while present in the discourse and statistics, was therefore shifting and rarely asserted.

17 Finally, if we consider the foreign student in terms of the migratory experience and exposure to a new cultural context, colonial students, whether from the protectorates or the colonies, are likely to come closer to the definition. Until 1937, most of them were included in foreign student cohorts, and they subsequently formed a separate category. [4] It should be added that some colonials were French subjects (Algeria), or even French citizens in the case of those from the “four communes” of Senegal. The statistics are therefore imprecise and this lack of differentiation between the various statuses that comprised the empire can be understood as a form of universalisation of otherness when it comes to colonial students. In the inter-war period, the highest authorities at the École des hautes études commerciales (HEC) did not allow “indigenous persons”, a universalising category without legal basis, to follow the same educational pathways as their French fellow students. Paul Belin, president of the HEC administrative commission, called for Annamite students to be directed to the section reserved for foreign students, the Académie commerciale pour étudiants étrangers, where there were also Moroccan and Tunisian students. This situation continued until after the Second World War, when the Minister for Overseas France suggested that colonial students who so desired could enter the “normal section” (Singaravélou, 2011: 208-210). Thus, during this period, colonial students were similar to foreign students, since they also experienced a situation of otherness and remoteness during their stay in the capital. However, colonial students benefited from specific support from the French administration, which foreigners did not receive.

18 This porosity of categories therefore invites us to move away from the futile search for a satisfactory definition and to take a closer look at the way in which the condition of foreigner, within the student sphere, was perceived by the various actors who were responsible for it. How was it used by institutional actors during the war and how did it evolve during the conflict? After reviewing the main administrative categories assigned by the German occupier and French institutions, we will explore the categorisation of foreign students in the Resistance.

The German Occupier and the Vichy Regime in relation to Foreign Students

19 To the German occupiers, the French university was suspicious and there seemed to be no specific approach to “foreign students”. Questions relating to higher education were dealt with by the cultural section, headed by Karl Epting. Under the orders of Ambassador Otto Abetz, Epting collaborated with the French authorities. Before the war, he was in charge of the University Office for Exchanges with Germany and worked with the International Student Service in Geneva. He was therefore aware of the issues surrounding student mobility.

20 At the beginning of the Occupation, German higher education officials did not consider abolishing the French university, as was the case, for example, in the Reich-occupied territory of Poland. According to a report by Group 4 “Schule und Kultur” within the German diplomatic delegation in Paris, in the future French higher education should be neither supported nor restricted so that, under occupation, it could only be useful to Greater Germany. [5] The revengeful spirit of 1918 also extended to universities. According to Dr Südhof, France diverted foreign students away from German universities to its higher education institutions by keeping tuition fees very low. [6] On the German side, therefore, the idea was to weaken the French university by limiting its international aura (Raphael, 1997: 519) and to maintain calm in the short term. Overall, this was a success. After the invasion of the free zone, the military command considered that Paris had become safer than Lyon and authorised the repatriation of the École polytechnique to the capital (Mitchell, 2008: 126).

21 Despite these general concerns, the superimposition of these two categories — student and foreigner — did not translate into specific measures taken against this population. On the one hand, when the policy of repression affected a foreign population, as in the case of Romanian political prisoners at the Vernet camp, the category of “student” almost never appeared in the “profession” section of the lists of internees: it was nationality that took precedence. [7]

22 On the other hand, when the military command took an interest in student spheres, police reports reveal a classification in accordance with the politico-racial criteria of the Third Reich: Freemason students, Judeo-Bolshevik students, National Socialist students. [8] From May 1941 onwards, the German administration observed an increase in student unrest: [9] students were then assimilated to youth in general, which also included schoolchildren. The German military therefore abandoned this population. In any case, the international meeting of peoples promoted by Germany, as fantasised by Epting after the war, did not materialise (Geiger, 1999: 237-281).

23 As far as the German administration was concerned, the category of foreign student only appeared in the security arrangements. This was the case of the informers of the German military secret police (Feldpolizei) who passed themselves off as foreign students in order to infiltrate the Parisian student scene. In June 1941, one of them pretended to be a Swiss student and took part in a student picnic in Neauphle-le-Château to gather information on their perception of the occupier. [10] Sometimes foreign students were used as informants. This was the suspicion that hung over the Hungarian Tibor Berger, who was murdered by the Resistance fighter Jean Arthus (Besse and Grason, 2018).

24 According to the Vichy regime, officially nothing had changed with regard to university studies, except for Jewish students. “The University of France — I am proud to say — retains a prestige that our defeat has not diminished.” This was the statement of Jérôme Carcopino on the radio in 1941 when he became Secretary of State for National Education and Youth, while at the same time holding the position of Rector of the University of Paris. [11] In general, foreign students were too small a population to form a specific administrative category for a specific policy. Students could therefore complete their studies and obtain diplomas. Charlotte de Prybram-Gladona, a German student born in Munich, thus became a Doctor of Art History in 1942 when she presented the first thesis on the German romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich (Drost, 2014: 219).

25 However, at the political level, the National Revolution advocated values that were contrary to this cosmopolitan, urban and educated figure. Sometimes, the collaborationist press accentuated the amalgam between cosmopolitanism and opposition to order. In his report on Chinese society in Paris, René Kraemer mentioned fake Chinese students in the Latin Quarter, who were only there to “play the braggart, the student, the zazou”. [12]

26 State Councillor Jean-Marie Roussel, president of the Commission de révision des naturalisations (Naturalisation Review Board), a body serving the French state, classified foreign students among the occupations least capable of assimilation: the category of “foreigners from all countries of the world, who have come to France of their own free will to continue their studies, to practice an art, to set up an industry [...]” was to be subject to special scrutiny (Zalc, 2016: 176).

27 This represented a real break: from being a cultural ambassador, the figure of the foreign student became that of a student without a country or work. When the Hungarian student George Vadnai was arrested, was it not the case that he had a foreigner’s identity card with the words “non worker”? [13] In any case, this is what appears from the individual record produced at the time of his internment in the Vernet camp.

28 This opprobrium cast on foreign students, as vectors of cosmopolitan values, combined with the antisemitism of the German and French authorities when they reconsidered the status of Jewish students. From the Law of 21 June 1941 onwards, their number was limited to 3% per faculty, which separated them from other French students and made them foreign students by law. In 1942, a report by the German military command issued a warning about this social category hated by the Nazis, the “ost-jüdischer Studenten” (Jewish students from the East), accusing them of involvement in communist propaganda. [14]

29 In his book, Singer (1992: 109) recalls that the Carcopino Directive introduced an additional distinction between French Jewish students and foreign Jewish students, the latter being admitted to the university only if the 3% quota was not filled with French Jews. Not only did this measure lead to several hundred exclusions in some faculties (Singer, 1992: 153), but it also introduced significant discrimination against foreign Jews who had much more difficulty in documenting their student status.

30 Georges Mathieu, a professor at the Sorbonne, acknowledged this in his diary, without questioning the reasons for the difference between the cases: “The French have, for the most part, compiled stirring files, containing precious family archives (sometimes original copies). Foreigners provide much more succinct justifications, some under the (real or invented) pretext that their families came from Kiew or Salonika” (Mathieu, 2012: 106). The suspicion mentioned here explains, at least in part, how membership of this category is subject to arbitrariness. Mathieu goes on to say of a German student: “For foreigners, we hesitate; some are suspicious, for example a German woman who arrived in 1938 claiming to be a political refugee and who, since the occupation, continues to circulate without seeming to fear anything untoward” (Mathieu, 2012: 107).

31 In addition, many foreign Jewish students left the capital as the German invasion approached. Here too, statistics are lacking, but some cases, such as Eljasz Sureson, a Polish doctoral student at the Faculty of Arts, who left Paris on 11 June 1940, [15] or the Hungarian Georges Vadnai, who went to Clermont-Ferrand the following day, [16] are evidence of a wider movement. The case of Ilse Hempel, a German refugee since 1936, seems rather exceptional. After fleeing persecution in the aftermath of the Nuremberg Laws, she stayed with her family in the French capital to complete all her studies up to a BA degree in French literature before fleeing to Spain in 1944 (Röder and Strauss, 1983: 736). [17] The Bulletin de la société Théophile Gautier describes this specialist in Théophile Gautier and Goya, who was a professor at Vassar College, as having the ability to “abolish borders, whether of knowledge or geography”. [18] This multiple experience of exile undoubtedly contributed to the academic habitus described here.

Foreigner or Student in the Resistance

32 This invisibility of foreign students is also the case in the resistance movements, where this category is also absent. In this respect, foreign students follow the pattern observed with regard to the absence of foreigners in the historiography of the Resistance. On the one hand, the Resistance was quickly “nationalised” in public discourse and foreigners who had taken part in it were side-lined. However, it seems that proportionally more foreigners joined the Resistance than French people (Jackson, 2004: 582).

33 On the other hand, foreigners themselves did not want to emphasise this distinction, most often wishing to integrate into the national community (Peschanski, 2002: 9). By deconstructing these categories, it is possible to find the trace of foreign students, although this endeavour often comes up against the silence of the archives.

34 In the resistance movements led by foreigners, in particular the Main-d’œuvre immigrée (MOI) organisation, there is no specific trace of foreign students. However, on the eve of the war, several petitions were launched by foreign students in provincial universities, asserting their determination to fight for France. In April 1939, Albanian, Egyptian, Lithuanian, Hungarian, Greek, Turkish, Romanian, Yugoslav, Czech and Polish students at the University of Lyon announced their intention to help France, “in favour of freedom and against subjugation”. [19] It can therefore be assumed that some of these students joined the Resistance, particularly Polish students, who were numerous in the MOI, and Spanish students, who were more active in the Free Zone (Jackson, 2004: 583-584), and who formed one of the largest contingents of foreign students in Paris (47 in 1942/43), along with Russians (168) and Romanians (98). [20]

35 Among foreign resistance fighters, students seem to have formed a small minority. This is what emerges from an analysis of the group of 1,009 victims whose names are inscribed on the memorial erected at Mont Valérien. Focusing on a sample of 103 individuals, i.e. Resistance fighters born after 1906 (making them thirty-five years old or younger at the time of the first execution, i.e. approximately of studying age) whose country of birth was not France, a minority of less than 10% were students, and their backgrounds show the plurality of itineraries. [21] Lejb Léon Goldberg (1924-1944) came to Paris from Poland to study and became a member of the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans — Main-d’œuvre immigrée (FTP-MOI), after finishing his studies at the Turgot school. Bernard Kirschen (1921-1942), whose family came from Romania in 1932, became one of the leaders of the Jeunesses Communistes while studying literature. Tony Louis Clainville Bloncourt (1921-1942), a science student born in Port-au-Prince, came to Paris in 1938 and took part in the 11 November demonstration as a member of the Communist Students, then in numerous Resistance actions before being shot at Mont Valérien. Karl Schönhaar (1924-1942) was a German student at the Institut d’optique who fled Nazism to Switzerland with his mother, before taking refuge in Paris where he joined the Jeunesses Communistes. In this sample, students from the colonies also found themselves in a situation of remoteness and commitment in Paris. Madavin Mouchilotte (1914-1942) was born in the French Indies; he led a group of communist students at the Sorbonne University from the time of the Occupation. He was arrested in 1942 and shot. [22] Yvon Sauveur Djian (1919-1942) was a Jewish student from Algeria who was affected by the abolition of the Crémieux Decree in 1940. First a member of the Committee of the Association corporative des étudiants en lettres de Paris, then national secretary of the Union des étudiants communistes, he was particularly active in structuring the university and high school resistance movements in Clermont-Ferrand, Lyon and Paris, before being assassinated.

36 These biographies show that the status of foreign student remains a multifaceted reality and that there is no specific pathway to becoming active. Like those of other foreigners, they oscillate between rallying to France, as the pre-war petitions suggest, and fighting in France against Nazism, with these two paths not being mutually exclusive (Joutard and Marcot, 1992: 10). However, they are similar in that they were geographically very mobile during the months of resistance and are evidence of the significance of youth organisations as a gateway to the Resistance for these young foreigners.

37 Within the student resistance movements, Paris occupied a central place, particularly because of the size of its university population (Fischer, 2004: 27). From 1941 onwards, students were a priority target for compulsory labour, which provoked strong opposition (Mitchell, 2008: 78). In terms of memory, the student resistance fighters obtained a form of recognition for their commitment with the erection of the “Monument to the Students who died for France” by the sculptor Gaston Watkin, inaugurated in 1956 in the Jardin du Luxembourg. However, within these movements, the sub-category of foreigners was absent: how many foreign students marched at the Étoile on 11 November 1940, out of the 3,000 or so demonstrators? [23] We do not know. Similarly, in the main newspaper of the student resistance, L’Université libre (Jackson, 2004), [24] the specific problems encountered by foreign students were never discussed, even though, as a Communist Party underground publication pointed out, the Parisian university was praised for being open to the world and therefore incompatible with Nazi barbarism. [25] The structures of the Resistance often preferred the universalising category of “youth” to the category of “student”.

Evolution of the Presence of Foreign Students in the Capital

38 These fluctuating categories make quantitative analysis difficult. However, the official figures allow us to measure the significance of the phenomenon: it involved a limited number of individuals but was characterised by its persistence. While the data must be considered as indications of magnitude, they allow us to measure the variations of this population and the centrality of the Parisian university centre. They are supplemented here by an institutional approach that shows that this population remained the object of both a constant, albeit limited, concern and of representations inherited from the 1930s, when the figure of the foreign student was often synonymous with economic competitor.

The Quantitative Approach

39 The national statistics do not call into question a somewhat natural intuition (cf. Figure 1) that the proportion of foreign students in France declined during the conflict and rose again — very quickly — after the armistice.

Figure 1: Number and proportion of foreign students in France

Figure 0

Figure 1: Number and proportion of foreign students in France

Source: Direction de la statistique générale (Statistics General Directorate), Annuaire statistique, vol. 58, 1951.

40 In Paris, the decrease in the number of foreign students was drastic (Raphael, 1997: 508). However, this trend conceals major differences depending on the origin of the students and on the sources. Unsurprisingly, the number of nationals from the Allied countries and more generally from the belligerent countries decreased rapidly in 1940. In Paris, the number of British students dropped from 217 in 1938 to six in 1943 and the number of U.S. students decreased from 197 to three. The number of Polish students was divided by 15, from 696 in 1940 to 47 in 1943.

41 In the case of another country of origin, Belgium, which was also under occupation, the evolution in the numbers of its nationals in the French capital was less marked. The number remained at around 68. In the case of countries further away, such as China, the number of nationals remained virtually unchanged after the start of the war, which can be explained by the fact that China was less directly involved in the war and that return there was particularly difficult. In the faculties of science, law and literature, there were 40 Egyptian students in 1940 and still 36 in 1942, despite the repatriation of all students in France organised by the Egyptian government. [26] The number of Swiss, German and Italian students remained relatively stable. [27] This statistical research should be refined by taking into account the grandes écoles and the vocational schools, notwithstanding the smaller numbers. According to the director of the École normale supérieure de la Rue d’Ulm in Paris, it appears that no foreign students were enrolled in 1942-1943. [28] All these figures are taken from the Annuaire statistique and generally correspond to the data provided by the faculties of the University of Paris to the Rectorate in a survey carried out in March 1943. [29] In contrast, there was a significant and inexplicable difference in the number of German students. According to the Annuaire statistique, the decrease in the number of German students was abrupt: in 1938 there were 179 German students in the capital; in 1943 there were only seven. In the course of the survey, it was found that in 1943 there were three Germans enrolled in law, one in science, 17 in literature as well as six women students in the French civilisation course at the Sorbonne. During the war, the German occupiers did not set up any student exchanges between the two countries. After the defeat, they considered the relationship in this field to be asymmetrical and the intention was to break France’s academic influence (Hausmann, 2004: 230-231). However, this principle did not completely dry up the flow of students to French universities. It was not until the summer of 1944 that German students from Humboldt University welcomed their French fellow students, who were obliged to perform compulsory labour in the Reich’s capital, into their club. [30]

42 Generally speaking, the attractiveness of the University of Paris, now in the occupied zone, decreased during the war. While more than 50% of students were concentrated there on the eve of the war, this share dropped to 38% in 1943. This change affected foreign students more than their French counterparts. Whereas in 1938, 53% of foreign students in France were enrolled in Paris, by 1943 this had dropped to 38%. In relation to French students, the distribution was more stable, rising from 37% enrolled in Parisian faculties in 1938 to 39% in 1943. [31]

43 This decline in the attractiveness of the capital can be explained by the German occupation, which came earlier, and by the flight of students from countries that were enemies of the occupying forces. In some cases, it was not the invasion that dictated departure, but the evolution of the conflict. For example, nationals of Bessarabia, who were Romanian citizens at the beginning of the war, became Soviet citizens in April 1941 and thus became enemies until the German invasion of the region. This was the case of Efraim Vavodtzew, a Romanian Jewish student, who was studying stomatology in Paris. In June 1940, he received his first notice of expulsion from the country by the Vichy authorities. Despite this, he managed to continue his studies in Paris. He was arrested between Mâcon and Lyon, then interned in the Vernet camp for having remained in France, even though his parents lived in Grenoble. [32]

44 From Paris, there were many destinations. To the students who left the capital in the summer of 1940, the choice seemed to be determined either by the presence of compatriots and acquaintances or chance. The very decision to leave was not easily taken and was not without hesitation. In a letter addressed to those in charge of student accommodation in Paris, Marie Louise Puech recounts that “requests [from foreign students] to leave for Toulouse have been made to the police headquarters, but now that fears have subsided a little, no one wants to leave!”. [33] But when people did leave, they did so in a hurry, without a clear vision of the future. Two Polish students recounted in a letter how they left everything in Paris, “our possessions, books, clothes, shoes”. [34]

45 Among the preferred destinations in the southern zone was the University of Grenoble, which was second only to Paris in terms of the number of foreign students at the beginning of the war. [35] Lyon also became an important centre of attraction, particularly for Chinese students (Gueslin, 1994) and Marseille allowed many foreign and colonial students to stay at the American YMCA hostel. French civilisation courses for foreigners, traditionally given at the Sorbonne, were also given in Montpellier from January 1941. [36] Toulouse was also favoured by Polish students, who made it a real “hub”. [37] Professors and students from Brussels also tried to re-establish a university community in these southern cities (Condette, 2003).

46 In terms of gender, the war only marginally altered this population. Overall, the proportion of foreign women students in relation to foreign men students was fairly stable, and even rose slightly in the second half of the war, whereas the proportion of French women students fell throughout the conflict. [38] This can probably be explained by the relative stability of this population, after the spectacular fall due to the defeat. Some of them were married to men who already had jobs in the capital. This was the case, for example, of Filomena Bovet, of Italian origin, who was enrolled in the Faculty of Biology while her husband, Daniel Bovet, of Swiss origin and future Nobel Prize winner in medicine, worked at the Institut Pasteur. [39] This case also shows the difficulties posed by university statistics: as the wife of a Swiss man, Filomena Bovet was recorded as a Swiss national.

47 However, the war did not open up new avenues of study for foreign women students. On 1 January 1940, they accounted for 44% of the number of foreign students in the arts. [40] Yet, they were absent from the major vocational schools such as the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers or the École centrale des arts et manufactures in 1943. Among the nationals of belligerent countries, women were in the majority while men were involved in the military. In 1942, in the Faculty of Arts, there were nine German women students for every eight men students from the same country; 14 Italian women students for every four men students. [41] In French civilisation courses at the Sorbonne, the majority of students were women (12 women for every three men) and almost half (six) were German students. [42]

48 Based on these figures, how did the Parisian institutions responsible for this population evolve during the conflict?

Evolution of the Institutional Framework

49 At the beginning of the war, the situation of foreign students was paradoxical. On the one hand, during the 1930s, the ambitious project of the Cité universitaire de Paris (CUP), on Boulevard Jourdan, was expanding. Initiatives were taken to stimulate contacts between foreign students and academics in Paris, for example the Cercle français des étudiants étrangers, sponsored by the Rector of the University of Paris, which included Honnorat, the project promoter of the CUP. [43] On that campus, certain residences tried to continue their activities until they were banned by the German authorities. In July 1939, at the board meeting of the Swiss Foundation at the Cité universitaire, its president Karl Fueter called for an intensification of student exchanges, as Switzerland had become the last German-speaking country to remain free. [44]

50 On the other hand, during the same decade, there was growing hostility towards foreign students, especially from Poland, Romania and Germany, and in the medical and law faculties (Schor, 1985: 605-607). Foreign graduates were seen as unwelcome competition. Thus, several barriers to “graduation and setting up professional activity” were put in place, starting with the 1936 Law that prohibited the practice of medicine by anyone without French citizenship (Fischer, 2000: 28-29). [45] It should be recalled that, since the 1930s, several European countries had been concerned about the overpopulation of universities and the intellectual proletariat that emerged from them. It was in this context that the International Bureau of University Statistics was established. In her doctoral thesis on the “Statut de l’étudiant étranger dans son développement historique” (Historical development of the status of foreign student), at the Sorbonne Law School, Waxin argued for a restriction on professional activity of foreign students and for the granting of scholarships to encourage the return of graduates to their country of origin (Waxin: 1939). Along these lines, the UNEF (French student union) also hardened its position towards foreign students. In September 1940, the student organisation met in Lyon and called for only scholarship students sent by their own governments to be admitted. [46] Communist students, in the newspaper La Relève, contested the view that foreign fellow students were the cause of unemployment. [47]

51 Foreign students were therefore caught between the logic of extending cultural influence and immigration policies. At the beginning of the war, a note from the Policy Directorate of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs summed up the situation perfectly: it would not be appropriate to ban foreign students from universities, but it was important to “remove from our universities certain elements who have often had too much access to them and whose country of origin has happily seen them leave for France and then settle there”. [48] In other words, the war should not prevent France from extending its influence through its universities, and the context of reduced student mobility could offer an opportunity to better screen certain individuals. The limiting criteria were not explicitly described, but it can be assumed that they were both political and economic.

52 The majority of foreign students who remained in France did not receive subsidies and were often unable to return. However, this reduction in support for mobility did not mean that this group disappeared. It is true that the number fell rapidly from 6,600 in 1939 to 1,100 in 1941 and numerous reports indicate a migration of students, particularly colonial students, to the south of France during 1940. [49] Yet, subsequently the number of foreign students in Paris stabilised and this new situation led to a reconfiguration of reception structures.

53 The Cité universitaire, although it was not officially called “international” until 1963, was the first institution to welcome foreign students. The promoters of this ambitious project oscillated between adapting to the Vichy regime and resistance. The project, with its roots in hygienism, was in some respects similar to the programme of the National Revolution (Kévonian, 2013: 156). The project seemed less ambiguous to the Germans. The German head of university affairs, Dr Südhof, clearly saw the CUP as a subversive anti-German hotbed. [50]

54 When the Cité universitaire became a barracks in the summer of 1940, its leaders concentrated a large part of their resources in sending books and parcels to French students and former residents who were prisoners. In Paris, the committee managed to maintain a medical service, particularly for former residents, and helped foreign students through the Red Cross. [51] At the same time, the leaders of the Fondation nationale were preparing, during the war, for the time when they would be able to put their institution back to its original use. The committees of the Houses that were not attached to the Fondation nationale generally worked in this same spirit. In conjunction with the State Secretariat for the Colonies and the École coloniale, the project promoters worked, for example, on the construction of a residence for students from the colonies. [52] Meanwhile the library of the Maison des Provinces de France was continuously supplied with books on France.

55 The Fondation nationale of the Cité universitaire also ran the Foyer international des étudiantes (International Women Students’ Hostel) at 93 Boulevard Saint-Michel. This institution, whose building was donated by the Young Women Christian Association after the First World War, was officially under the control of the Paris Rectorate, which delegated control to the CUP’s directors. It was run from 1920 until 1942 by Sarah Watson, an American national who was imprisoned in Vittel, [53] and was used every day by about a thousand students. This hostel accommodated both French and foreign women students, with a growing proportion of the former: in 1940-1941, there were 130 French boarders for every 12 foreigners. [54] Pursuing the same objectives of bringing together students from different countries, the hostel took the promotion of internationalism further, in this case of Christian observance (Jacques, 1989: 21-22). When it became dangerous for the American director to remain in Paris, tensions arose between the Fondation nationale and the Comité des œuvres sociales en faveur des étudiants (Committee for social works for students) in Rue Soufflot, which was part of the Secretariat General for National Education and Youth, as the former wanted to keep control of the institution. [55] The Rector of the University of Paris considered the committee the only official body. [56]

56 Although the Cité internationale was able to retain control of the women students’ hostel, the Comité parisien des œuvres sociales en faveur des étudiants, based in Rue Bellechasse and supported by the State Secretariat for Youth, became the main mutual assistance organisation in the capital; it dealt with the day-to-day difficulties of foreign students in Paris. While most of its resources were invested in helping student prisoners, occasional assistance was provided to students stranded far from their families, such as Corsicans and North Africans. [57] Under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, an aid centre for serving and imprisoned students was also opened in Place Saint-Michel in Paris and extended its assistance to Indochinese, Madagascan, North African and West Indian students, etc., but also to Polish students who were prisoners of war. [58]

57 Despite these initiatives, French students were affected by Vichy propaganda that favoured a national corporatism, distancing them from their foreign fellow students. In this respect, the Parisian Student Service chaired by Guillaume de Tournemire was responsible for disseminating the norms of the National Revolution — physical education, “communities” of students around teachers (Fischer, 2004: 25) — and preventing excesses (Aristide, 2006: 36-41; Hervet, 1965).

58 Meanwhile, the Comité parisien des œuvres sociales en faveur des étudiants in Rue Bellechasse tried to relay the needs of scholarship students, foreign students and colonial students who remained in the capital, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). These actions often involved precarious solutions in the form of loans, accommodation, meal vouchers, or even, in the case of young doctors, facilitating setting up practice. This commitment led to the creation of a Hostel for international students, especially those who continued to receive grants from the MFA. [59] This ministry, which was trying to repatriate the majority of scholarship holders, intended to keep a few students who had finished their studies and who offered, in the words of the High Commissioner in Beirut, “serious guarantees of intellectual and moral soundness”. [60] This remark should be understood to mean that the scholarship holders would, in principle, follow the Vichy political line: in this letter, the scholarship holders were contrasted with the “free students”, who were not known and of whom they wanted to keep track through the rectors. This was one of the timid attempts to use scholarship holders in new academic diplomacy in favour of the new regime.

59 On the ground, the problems of food shortages and restriction of mobility affected all students. Among the foreign students, the Polish students formed the largest group and experienced the “trap” phenomenon, because, in addition to being in the occupied zone, their country of origin no longer existed. Before the arrival of the Germans, the Paris Rectorate alerted the mutual aid institutions to this population, who were without resources. [61] The Swiss Consulate in Paris also highlighted the alarming situation of Iranian students. [62]

60 It was ultimately at the international level, with student aid organisations, that this category of foreign student retained some visibility, although it was slipping into the category of “refugee student”. The FESE acted, albeit in a limited way, to support foreign students in the French capital, in particular Jewish refugee students. It was mainly involved in helping captive students in Germany by sometimes redistributing books collected in France in the camps (Tronchet, 2019: 103-104). Although it was more established in the university towns of the free zone (Fivaz-Silbermann, 2017: 699), it provided direct aid to Parisian students, in particular by sending food. The few scattered notes from this organisation attest to the state of abandonment in which some foreign students found themselves in Paris, particularly among the Spanish and Greek students, and to the importance of places of refuge outside the capital, such as the Maison des Roches in Chambon-sur-Lignon, which housed eighty-six students (Fivaz-Silbermann, 2017: 698). [63]

61 These fragile arrangements provided support to French students and, to a lesser extent, to internationally mobile students. Within this population, the specific case of colonial students sheds light on other types of support organisation and, through a more abundant body of literature, allows us to gain insight into the experience of remoteness as a student in the capital.

Paris as a Trap for Colonial Students?

62 Students from the colonies, protectorates and mandates were in a similar situation to their foreign counterparts. Although they tried to continue their studies (Vermeren, 2002: 102), the framework of the Occupation disrupted both their economic situation and their prospects. The Ministries of Colonies and Foreign Affairs were additional actors who provided some material assistance, which also meant control.

63 Since the plan to move them to the free zone had been abandoned, [64] colonial students had very few other options than to remain in the capital. The 70 students in the Cité universitaire had to find other accommodation. [65] In all, there were 362 students from the colonies in the capital in 1941, 92 of whom had neither a loan nor a grant. Deprived of resources, they found themselves living in flats and rooms — a factor in their marginalisation and, to the historian, their invisibility in the archives. As a result, the places where they socialised were fragmented. Moreover, Parisian colonial students were mostly cut off from their comrades in the southern zone: Blacks and Jews were forbidden to cross the demarcation line (Blanchard et al., 2001: 110; Ojo-Ade, 2014: 31).

64 These young people — who were mostly men — were isolated. This was the case of the Lebanese students who turned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, like Zeidan Bitar who described his situation: “I find myself in Paris cut off from my parents (like my fellow students)”. [66]

65 The various administrations responsible for this student mobility only partially responded to the call of the Centre national des étudiants de la France d’outre-mer (National Centre for Overseas French Students), created in 1938, and which had to resort to asking for help from parastatal organisations and private individuals. In this way, it managed to collect a sum of money which was then divided into loans and essential products. [67] As a note from the MFA’s Policy Directorate pointed out, the “most complex and difficult” situation was that of non-scholarship holders who are cut off from their families. [68] This description was corroborated by actors on the ground. The Comité supérieur des œuvres sociales en faveur des étudiants (Higher Committee for Social Works for Students) noted this new category of students “who are completely isolated from their families by events: colonials, North Africans, Corsicans. Those who saw the faculties close and who have to look elsewhere, far from their homes, for the means to continue their studies”. [69]

66 By linking a few fragments, we can draw up a rough map of the meeting points of colonial students. A few accommodation and meeting centres were created by the Ministry of Colonies: the student hostel of the École d’outre-mer on Boulevard Saint-Germain where Léon Gontran Damas wrote Panorama des poètes d’expression Française 1900-1945 and where Alioune Diop was already thinking about Présence africaine; and the Comité universitaire de l’Afrique du Nord et du Levant on Rue Bellechasse, created in 1942. [70] In Rue Tronchet, Indochinese students could obtain interest-free loans. In exchange, families had to promise repayment by cable from the colony directly to this aid centre. [71]

67 However, student networks were mainly developed in rooms and flats. Birago Diop recalls meetings at Léopold Sédar Senghor’s apartment at 8 Rue Lamblardie, and outings to the Rhumerie run by the Louville brothers from the Antilles (Diop, 1978: 202-209; Blanchard et al., 2001: 11-12). Alioune Diop’s more modest room at the Lycée Saint-Louis was also a meeting place (Diop, 1978: 144), as was “Ms Léandre’s room” near the Duroc metro station, according to Guy Tirolien (Alante-Lima, 1991: 100-101).

68 During the second half of the war, the Vichy government changed its policy towards colonial students. The Parisian mutual aid organisations were replaced by the idea of repatriating them, with the aim of encouraging the emancipation of the indigenous populations, supervised by traditional elites and institutions, subject to control of the French mainland. The journal of the students of the École nationale de la France d’outre-mer shows this evolution, which renounces a form of forced francisation while still considering the indigenous people to be at a lower level of civilisation. At the beginning of 1944, the Colonial Social Service recommended that the “indigenous people who remained in France should be repatriated, either individually or in groups, provided with material and moral support to ease their last days of exile and to help them reintegrate into their original environment”. [72]

69 These moral precautions seemed all the more necessary to the government as it feared the reaction of these students towards the French mainland after the conflict. In Le Petit Parisien of 1944, a collaborating newspaper, a report into Indochinese students mentioned the “hideous policy” that these students were said to pursue when they gathered in the evening around the map of Indochina. [73] From this perspective, mutual aid actions, albeit limited, can also be understood as a means to maintain control over these colonial elites.

70 It seems that the Germans were interested in this group to relay Nazi propaganda to the French colonies and protectorates. In his memoirs, Birago Diop recalls that “the Germans ‘charmed’ the Blacks for political purposes” (Diop, 1978: 215-219). This information is corroborated by a letter from the general delegate of the Comité parisien des œuvres en faveur de la jeunesse scolaire et universitaire to the Rector of Paris in 1950: thanks to the action of this organisation and the contribution of local authorities, “the propaganda action undertaken by the Germans in relation to this category of students did not have any serious effect”. [74]

71 North African students were also approached by the German services to provide assistance to colonial prisoners and to spread pro-Nazi propaganda. A committee of Arab students was formed in Paris to intervene in camps near Bordeaux (Scheck, 2012: 456-457). Other students took part in Radio Mondiale programmes: taken over by the Germans, this radio station broadcast programmes for North Africa through the Africanist Werner Vycichl and Arabic-speaking students (Rohrbacher, 2015: 909-911; Goda, 2017: 105).


72 The Liberation of Paris marked the end of this period and the beginning of a period halfway between war and peace. It was also at this time that a new type of foreign student arrived in Paris: American and Canadian soldiers who were housed at the Cité internationale. In 1944, the Foyer Universitaire Interallié was created at 15 Rue Soufflot, in order to introduce Paris and its cultural offerings to the student soldiers. [75] The Americans followed study programmes set up by the American army, which negotiated to have up to 6,600 American soldiers housed at the CUP (Capdevila, 2014: 163-173), while the Canadians attended regular courses at University of Paris.

73 In France, such actions had already taken place at the end of the First World War (Barrera, 2010: 27-48) and, in terms of France’s “international university policy”, the logic of the interwar period, where academic exchanges served to enhance the country’s prestige and consolidate the network of alliances, was revived (Walton, 2010).

74 The military programmes lasted until spring 1946. These student-soldiers were in an ambiguous situation: they remained under the orders of their hierarchy while being called upon to enjoy student life. In the Canadian Student House at the CUP, the tensions between the demands of student life as it was then codified and the life of a soldier became significant. [76] In contrast to the Occupation period, when foreign students were virtually forgotten, student soldiers were once again the object of national projections to the outside world, reinforcing the tensions between the student image they were supposed to convey and their daily lives as soldiers.

75 The end of the war was therefore a time of readjustment and questioning. On the one hand, student flows had not yet returned to the pre-war constellation. There were far fewer students from East-Central Europe, in contrast to the influx of North American university students. On the other hand, for some, the conflict seemed to have undermined the idea that academic exchange would necessarily result in developing understanding between peoples. The president of the Cité universitaire residents’ organisation, René Bocca, published an article in the Catholic newspaper Les Cahiers du droit: “La Cité universitaire de Paris est-elle un échec?” (Is the Cité universitaire de Paris a failure?) (Bocca, 1948). Although the author answered in the negative, it is hard not to read in it a certain disillusionment, wherein the war altered this mutual understanding as it had been developed prior to 1939.

76 The war therefore represented a break in this academic mobility. It is true that foreign students in Paris experienced multiple trajectories. Some of them continued to study in the capital despite the conflict. Others became exiled students in reverse: they had left their country of origin of their own free will, but could only return there with sometimes insurmountable difficulties. Still others, such as the German students who were neither political exiles nor Jews, left Paris in the face of the Allied advance: they would not return in number until the early 1950s. [77] The context of the war, the disorganisation of the French cultural diplomacy services and of the host institutions were all factors that marginalised this population and contributed to modifying the world hierarchy of cultural capitals (Jeanpierre, 2015: 2127-2132).

77 The study of this population during the conflict leads to the observation of a disconnection between institutional actors and student circulation. It shows that the institutions in charge of it were, to a large extent, on standby or busy with other tasks. However, the issue of student circulation remained, since a significant number of foreign students were still in Paris. This means that we have to take a “bottom-up” approach to the history, looking at the students’ daily lives, which can be discerned in some of the recesses of the archives, or in memoirs written after these events.


  • [1]
    Translator’s note: very selective higher education establishments.
  • [2]
    Pastre (2003: 301) refers to “oscillation between temporary and permanent immigration” in relation to Romanian students during the 1930s.
  • [3]
    Suret-Canal Jean (1998) La mort d’Imre Marton, L’Humanité, 9 July.
  • [4]
    General survey of students as of 31 July 1938, in Direction de la statistique générale (1938) Annuaire statistique, p. 34. This category simplifies a complex legal situation. Students from the French colonial empire form a category that was itself subdivided into different statuses. As subjects of the empire as they were in Algeria, they were not considered French students, either in law, except for those from the Antilles (Forestier, 2014: 3-20), or in university statistics. Until the Lamine Gueye Law of 1946, colonial subjects were not citizens (Cooper, 2014: 141-177).
  • [5]
    Gruppe 4 note, 25/08/1940. Archives nationales (AN) in Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, AJ/40/566.
  • [6]
    Presentation by Dr Südhof, 08/08/1940. AN, AJ/40/566.
  • [7]
    See list of internees at the Vernet camp in the file “Roumains en France 1940-1944”. Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in La Courneuve (MAE-Courneuve), 10GMII/705.
  • [8]
    Report of the Military Secret Police, 23/06/1941. AN, AJ/40/558.
  • [9]
    Note from the German Command Administration, Paris, May 1941. AN, AJ/40/557.
  • [10]
    Group 5 secret report on the “Politische Einstellung der Pariser Studentenschaft”, 1941. AN, AJ/40/558.
  • [11]
    Carcopino’s speech is partially transcribed in Le Petit Parisien, 17/03/1941, p. 3.
  • [12]
    Kraemer René (1943) Au quartier Latin se glisse parfois un zazou céleste aux cheveux ondulés, Le Matin, 26 July, p. 1.
  • [13]
    Individual record of Georges Vadnai produced by the Police de Sûreté of Clermont-Ferrand, 12/12/1942, document No. 11185218 and 11185219. Directory of Jews detained in the Vernet camp, Bad Arolsen Archives, [online], accessed on 28/09/2020. URL:
  • [14]
    Situation report of the Military Commander (Militärbefehshaber) in France, 31/05/1942. AN, AJ/40/444. Available on the website of the Institut d’histoire du temps présent, [online], accessed on 27/10/2020. URL: German historiography shows that the Wehrmacht used the same categories, in particular that of the Bolshevik Jew, as other actors of Nazi repression (Neumaier, 2006: 116).
  • [15]
    Eljasz Sureson report [1943], document No. 11185208. Directory of Jews detained in the Vernet camp, Bad Arolsen Archives, [online], accessed on 28/09/2020. URL:
  • [16]
    Georges Vadnai report [1943], document No. 11185215. Directory of Jews detained in the Vernet camp, Bad Arolsen Archives, [online], accessed on 28/09/2020. URL:
  • [17]
    List of foreign students sent by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts to the Rector of the Paris Academy, March 1943. AN, AJ/40/566.
  • [18]
    Girard Marie-Hélène (2005) Ilse Hempel-Lipschutz, Bulletin de la société Théophile Gautier, 27, pp. 203-204.
  • [19]
    The Lyon petition was then forwarded to Grenoble and Clermont-Ferrand. Cf. L’Œuvre, 14/04/1939, p. 7.
  • [20]
    Figures compiled from the Annuaire statistique, vol. 56, 1946.
  • [21]
    Figures from the “base des fusillés du Mont Valérien”, produced by the Ministry of the Armed Forces, [online], accessed on 23/10/2018. URL:
  • [22]
    The biographies of these students who were shot are available in the database “Fusillés 1940-1944”. Cf. Le Maitron, [online], accessed on 23/10/2180. URL:
  • [23]
    The German police reports mention students, but they include high school students and even school children (Monchablon, 2011: 73).
  • [24]
    Students and teachers were involved in the production of this newspaper, which also featured articles by non-communist authors (Michel, 1982: 124).
  • [25]
    PCF (French communist party) publication “Hommage du Parti Communiste à l’Université de Paris”, no date. Fonds de La Contemporaine, F delta res 0140.
  • [26]
    Journal des débats politiques et littéraires, 27/11/1941, p. 4.
  • [27]
    Figures from the Annuaire statistique, vol. 55, 1939 and vol. 56, 1946 and from the archives of the Académie de Paris: AN, AJ/16/7142 and the Archives of the German occupation: AN, AJ/40/566.
  • [28]
    Letter from Carcopino to the Rector of the Académie de Paris, 25/03/1943. AN, AJ/40/566. In Saint-Cloud, Mohamed El Mili, a national of the Tunisian protectorate, is the only one.
  • [29]
    We mainly compared the figures given for the situation on 31/07/1938 and for 1943 in the 1939 and 1946 editions of the Annuaire statistique. The Rectorate survey took place in 1943.
  • [30]
    Les étudiants allemands reçoivent les étudiants français travaillant à Berlin, Le Matin, 29/06/1944, p. 2.
  • [31]
    Figures from Annuaire statistique, vol. 56, 1946. Maigron uses other figures, but calculates the same proportions (Maigron, 1993: 39).
  • [32]
    Efraim Vavodtzew report [1942], document No. 11185220. Directory of Jews detained in the Vernet camp, Bad Arolsen Archives, [online], accessed on 28/09/2020. URL:
  • [33]
    Letter from Puech to Ms Cazamian, Ms Monod and Ms Martin, 26/05/1940 (cited in Cazals, 2003: 64).
  • [34]
    Letter from Maria Wisti and Vera Anisimov to Puech, 12/08/1940 (cited in Cazals, 2003: 80).
  • [35]
    Paris-soir, 13/05/1939, p. 3.
  • [36]
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Informations générales, Vichy, 24/12/1940, p. 40. Cf.
  • [37]
    Letter from Maria Wisti and Vera Anisimov to Puech, 30/07/1940 (cited in Cazals, 2003: 80).
  • [38]
    Figures from the Annuaire statistique, vol. 56, 1946.
  • [39]
    Nominal list of foreign students enrolled or registered at the Faculty of Science in Paris for the academic year 1942-1943. AN, AJ/40/566.
  • [40]
    Statistics of the Faculty of Arts in Paris, 1943. AN, AJ/16/7147.
  • [41]
    List sent by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts to the Rector of the Academy, 25/03/1943. AN, AJ/40/566.
  • [42]
    List of foreign students enrolled in French civilisation courses, academic year 1942-1943, 26/03/1943. AN, AJ/40/566.
  • [43]
    This circle had 1,500 members in 1938. AN, 20010167/216.
  • [44]
    Minutes of the Board of Directors of the Swiss Foundation, 06/07/1939. Three months later, at an emergency meeting, the same board unanimously decided to close the residence. Minutes of the Board of Directors of the Swiss Foundation, 12/10/1939. AN, AJ/16/7044.
  • [45]
    Millet Raymond (1938) Visite aux étrangers de France, Le Temps, 22/05/1938, p. 6. In 1935, a circular from the Minister of Public Health banned foreign students who were finishing their medical studies from working as locums. Cf. Le concours médical, 21-37, 15/09/1940, p. 4.
  • [46]
    Le Matin, 15/09/1940, p. 2.
  • [47]
    La Relève, 1940, p. 3.
  • [48]
    Note from the MFA Policy Directorate to the Service des Œuvres, 20/08/1940. MAE-La Courneuve, 2GMII/237.
  • [49]
    Several reports in the file “Situation des étudiants d’outre-mer”. Archives nationales d’outre-mer, Aix-en-Provence (ANOM), 3SLOTFOM/97.
  • [50]
    Presentation by Dr Südhof, 08/08/1940. AN, AJ/40/566.
  • [51]
    CUP president’s reports 1940/1941 and 1942. AN, AJ/16/7030.
  • [52]
    Discussions took place between 1942 and 1943. AN, 20090013/1082.
  • [53]
    Letter from the Hungarian Consul General to the German Military Command, Paris, 24/11/1942. AN, AJ/40/557.
  • [54]
    Report of the school year 1940-1941, 01/06/1941. AN, AJ/16/7148.
  • [55]
    Letter from Honnorat to Gidel, 15/12/1941. AN, AJ/16/7148.
  • [56]
    Note of October 1941. AN, AJ/40/567.
  • [57]
    Report by the Director of Higher Education on the activities of the Comité supérieur des œuvres sociales en faveur des étudiants (Higher Committee for Social Works for Students) 1942-1943. BDIC, F delta res 0293/4.
  • [58]
    Activity report of the Centre d’entraide, 15/11/1941. BDIC, F delta res 0293/4.
  • [59]
    CIUP president’s report, 1943. AN, AJ/16/7030.
  • [60]
    Letter from the High Commissioner of the French Republic to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Beirut, 21/09/1940. MFA, 4GMII/78.
  • [61]
    See file AN, AJ/16/7147. In some cases, it was the French institutions that asked the Paris Rectorate to allow foreign students who had no prospects in their home country to remain in France. Letters from Dupront, 18/05/1940. AN, 20010167/211.
  • [62]
    Report by the Swiss Legation in Berlin from the Swiss Consulate in Paris, 30/12/1942. AFS, E2001-02, 1000/111/56.
  • [63]
    FESE note, December 1942. AFS, E2001 (D), 1968/74/4.
  • [64]
    Minutes of the Steering Committee of the Centre national des étudiants de la France d’outre-mer, 14/03/1941. ANOM, 1ECOL/37.
  • [65]
    Of the 72 colonial students registered at the CIUP in 1939, 62% came from Indochina, 17% from Madagascar and Reunion, 14% from the Caribbean (Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique) and 7% from Senegal. List of colonial students residing at the CIUP, 19/01/1939. AN, 20090013/1082.
  • [66]
    Letter from Beitar to the Service des Œuvres, 04/11/1940. MFA, MAE-La Courneuve, 4GMII/78.
  • [67]
    Minutes of the Steering Committee of the Centre national des étudiants de la France d’outre-mer, 14/03/1941. ANOM, 1ECOL/37.
  • [68]
    Note to Mr Guyot, 02/10/1940. MAE-La Courneuve, 4GMII/78.
  • [69]
    Report by the Director of Higher Education on the activities of the Higher Committee for Social Works for Students 1942-1943. BDIC, F delta res 0293/4. For the actors themselves, this experience of mobility was common to foreigners and colonial students.
  • [70]
    Comité supérieur des œuvres sociales en faveur des étudiants, booklet, no date. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris (BNF), FOL-JO-2592.
  • [71]
    Le Matin, 10/11/1940, p. 2.
  • [72]
    L’Observatoire colonial, 1-2, Jan-Feb. 1944.
  • [73]
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While Paris was one of the world’s leading centres of attraction for students, the German occupation considerably changed the situation in terms of academic mobility. In addition to the war itself limiting exchanges, host institutions were weakened or even disappeared. Yet, a stable number of foreign students, often unable to join their relatives, remained in the capital, forced to adapt to this new situation. This article shows how the war, while not entirely eliminating this academic mobility, profoundly modified the organisation of this foreign presence, to the point of changing the social categories of the foreign student, and made the daily life of these young men and women particularly difficult.

  • refugees
  • Paris
  • German occupation
  • student mobility
  • foreign students

Paris la souricière ? L’organisation de la mobilité étudiante dans la capitale pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale

Alors que Paris figure parmi les premiers pôles d’attraction pour les étudiants à l’échelle mondiale, l’Occupation allemande modifie considérablement la situation de cette mobilité académique. Outre la guerre elle-même qui limite les échanges, les institutions d’accueil sont affaiblies, voire disparaissent. Pourtant, un nombre constant d’étudiants étrangers, souvent dans l’impossibilité de rejoindre leurs proches, demeurent dans la capitale, obligés de s’adapter à cette nouvelle situation. Cet article montre comment la guerre, si elle ne supprime pas totalement cette mobilité académique, transforme en profondeur l’organisation de cette présence étrangère, jusqu’à modifier les catégories sociales de l’étudiant étranger, et rend la vie quotidienne de ces jeunes hommes et de ces jeunes femmes particulièrement difficile.

  • réfugiés
  • étudiants étrangers
  • mobilité étudiante
  • occupation allemande

¿Paris la ratonera? La organización de la movilidad estudiantil en la capital durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial

Mientras que París es uno de los principales centros de atracción de estudiantes del mundo, la Ocupación Alemana cambió considerablemente la situación de esta movilidad académica. Además de la propia guerra, que limitó los intercambios, las instituciones de acogida se debilitaron o incluso desaparecieron. Sin embargo, un número constante de estudiantes extranjeros, a menudo incapaces de reunirse con sus familiares, permanecieron en la capital, obligados a adaptarse a esta nueva situación. Este artículo muestra cómo la guerra, aunque no eliminó totalmente esta movilidad académica, modificó profundamente la organización de esta presencia extranjera, hasta el punto de cambiar las categorías sociales del estudiante extranjero, e hizo especialmente difícil la vida cotidiana de estos jóvenes.

  • refugiados
  • estudiantes extranjeros
  • París
  • Ocupación alemana
  • movilidad de estudiantes
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