Cover: Escape from Vichy: The Refugee Exodus to the French Caribbean, from Harvard University PressCover: Escape from Vichy in HARDCOVER

Escape from Vichy

The Refugee Exodus to the French Caribbean

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$41.00 • £35.95 • €37.95

ISBN 9780674983380

Publication Date: 03/09/2018


320 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

21 halftones, 3 maps


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[An] eye-opening history of the Martinique ‘refuge’ during World War II. Escape from Vichy provides a rich social history of one of the understudied escape routes of World War II, one fraught with internment camps and Pétainist antisemites, yet one that allowed some five thousand refugees to flee Nazi-ridden Europe.—Nancy L. Green, Journal of Modern History

Jennings tells the little-known story of the escape route that took some thousands of Jews, Spanish republicans, and others menaced by Nazi Germany from Marseille to France’s Caribbean colony of Martinique. Many of those saved in this way from the clutches of Nazism were prominent artists and intellectuals, some of whom—Claude Levi-Strauss, André Breton, Wilfredo Lam—enjoyed, or would enjoy, international renown. We learn about Martinique’s complex relations with the United States, which feared that many of the refugees destined for the island were potential fifth columnists eager to attack Americans from within. And it is fascinating to see how the connection between negritude and surrealism played out in Martinique.—Edward Berenson, New York University

An excellent book. Using a wide array of sources, Jennings vividly describes a short-lived but important episode in the refugee experience during World War II—the desperate attempts of those who went to Marseille in order to emigrate to the French Caribbean. He examines the cultural creativity that emerged as a result of the encounter between the refugees, many of whom were Surrealists, and native black artists and intellectuals on Martinique, especially Aimé and Suzanne Césaire, the founders of the ‘negritude’ movement.—Vicki Caron, Cornell University

A riveting, heart-wrenching story of exile, intellectual cross-fertilization, and political awakening among refugees from Hitler’s Europe who escaped together to Martinique. Jennings has written a brilliant new chapter in the transatlantic history of negritude, anti-colonialism, and anti-racism.—Alice L. Conklin, The Ohio State University

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