Oral History: Vicki Caron


Narrator: Vicki Caron
Interviewer: John Tortorice
Date: 31 March 2017
Transcribed: Teresa Bergen
Total Time: 38 minutes, 39 seconds
Format: Audio

Vicki Caron biography:
Vicki Caron is a Professor Emerita at Cornell University. Prior to the end of 2015, she served as the Diann G. and Thomas A. Mann Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at Cornell University, where she held a joint appointment in History and Jewish Studies. She also taught at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington (1983-1985), and at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island (1986-1997).

Her scholarship focuses on issues pertaining to Jewish assimilation and antisemitism in the modern era, especially in the French and German contexts. She has received fellowships from the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Foundation, and the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton, among others. She has also held the prestigious Maurice C. Shapiro Senior Scholar fellowship at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum during the 2004-2005 academic year, and the Walter Jackson Bate fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University during the 2008-2009 academic year.

She is author of Between France and Germany: The Jews of Alsace-Lorraine, 1871-1918 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1988), and Uneasy Asylum: France and the Jewish Refugee Crisis, 1933-1942 (Stanford CA: Stanford University Press, 1999), which won the 1997 Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History, awarded by the Wiener Library, London, for the best unpublished book manuscript in contemporary European History. This book has also appeared in a French translation as L’Asile Incertain: Les Réfugiés Juifs en France, 1933-1942 (Paris: Tallandier, 2008). She also coedited with Michael Brenner and Uri Kaufman a collection of essays titled Jewish Emancipation Reconsidered: The French and German Models (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003). And she served guest editor of a special issue of French Politics, Culture and Society (vol. 30, no. 2, Summer 2012) on “The Rescue of Jews in France and its Empire during World War II: History and Memory.” She is currently working on a book titled The Battle for the Republic: Jewish-Catholic Relations in France, 1870-1918, forthcoming.

Although she did not graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she spent the first two years of her undergraduate education there, and she took George Mosse’s course on Modern Jewish History, which he offered for the first time during the 1970-71 academic year. The course had a profound impact on her career, and not a year went by when she did not include Mosse’s book, The Crisis of the German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich (NY: Grosset and Dunlap, 1964/Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2021), on one of her syllabi.

**To access the OHMS oral history page for Vicki Caron, which allows listeners to search text or keywords and to listen to specific sections of this interview, click here.**


Tortorice: Professor Vicki Caron. Emerita professor of history and Jewish Studies, I would assume, at Cornell University. Thank you so much, Professor Caron, for coming to Madison and for welcoming you back again after so many years. So we’ll start at the beginning. Where were you born?

Caron: I was born in Chicago. Although when I was, I guess, about three and a half or four, we moved to Skokie. So I grew up in Skokie, Illinois, which actually is a very interesting place, as you might know.

Tortorice: Yes. Yes.

Caron: Although I don’t think I ever really thought about it. Unfortunately, I think there were a lot of Jews living there then, too, from pretty assimilated backgrounds. But a lot of Holocaust, people who had survived the Holocaust, but I don’t really think about it very much at the time. My family background in terms of my parents belonged to a conservative synagogue. They themselves, I mean, were lower middle class, middle class. My father is an insurance salesman. I mean, but there was a strong sense of Jewish identity there as well. But nothing that would have necessarily predetermined me to go into the field of history.

Tortorice: So you went to public schools?

Caron: Yes. I went to public schools. Although I went to Hebrew school after school. But I went to a very good public high school, Evanston. And actually, I did have two history teachers who were phenomenal there. So I did get interested in history. But I don’t think of that now, it took me a while to decide what to focus on in school.


Tortorice: But you came from a Jewish milieu in the sense that your family identified as Jewish. They weren’t overly religious in that identification. But you also came from a community that had somewhat of a Jewish identity.

Caron: A very strong Jewish, I mean, most of the people were Jewish. Not everybody, but the vast majority.

Tortorice: So the Holocaust was not in those years as central to Jewish identity as it seems now. I mean, you could be Jewish in those years and not have a deep interest in the subject? Or knowledge of it?

Caron: Yes, although I think, you know, in my family, my mother’s family, many of the members were in Poland. And so they lost—although we never really talked about it very much. But it was always there in the background. And even in the Hebrew school where I went, I’d say that it was a big thing. Now there’s a museum, a Holocaust museum, in Skokie, which I have not yet visited. But I think even then it was there, but not really discussed explicitly a lot of times, so.

Tortorice: So where did you do your undergraduate work? Was it Illinois?

Caron: So, I did my undergraduate work, the first two years here. And that’s where I first took Mosse’s course. And then again, as I mentioned before, that was the first time he had offered that course on modern Jewish history. And then, partly because I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do, I had actually started here as a biology major. But when I had to take a physics course and nearly failed, that ended that. And so I went into history. Bu it wasn’t really sure. So I took a year off and went to Israel. And went to an Ulpan 4:35 in Israel. Then when I came back, the tuition had gone up. And my parents they were encouraging me to go to the University of Illinois. So I went there and I got my degree there. And actually finished within a year. But as I mentioned, Mosse’s course did have a huge impact on me. What’s funny about it is that he tried to kick me out of the course.

Tortorice: You’re kidding! Oh my God. Another—(laughter)

Caron: I was in, it was only, I think that upperclassmen were going to get preference and it was oversubscribed. So I was a sophomore, but I was in an honors program that should have given me the right to be in there. But for some reason, you know, the axe came down. And so I went to talk to him and he wouldn’t discuss it. (laughs) But Alex[ander] Orbach, who was the TA, told me to just be persistent and keep coming to the class and other people would drop out, because there was a very heavy workload there. Which was true very quickly. People started to drop. And so I was able to stay in the course. And it was a terrific course. There were other students there, Nancy Green, who also, I don’t know if you know her.

Tortorice: Oh, yes.

Caron: But she has been here to give a talk. She was in that same class. And yeah, both of us went on to pursue careers in French Jewish history.

Tortorice: That’s amazing, because that course seems to have been quite influential in shaping people’s subsequent careers. To some extent, anyway. We have the tapes of that course.

Caron: Oh, really?

Tortorice: Yeah.

Caron: Well I remember they had a service where they came and took the notes. I probably don’t have those notes anymore. Somebody officially took notes, like written notes.

Tortorice: Oh, really?

Caron: Yeah, those were great. And you could keep those. It was great for studying for exams. I do have my notes. I have my personal notes that I took.

Tortorice: Oh, we would love to have those.

Caron: Really? (laughs)

Tortorice: Sure. Yeah.

Caron: I can xerox those.

Tortorice: Oh, wonderful. We have the tapes and we’re actually going to use, we used some of them for an online course we’re doing. And some excerpts. And we’re going to do, to use some of it for another course. The course was heavily focused on Jewish German history.

Caron: Right.

Tortorice: And then Alex Orbach and a few others gave talks on Russia and the Bund.

Caron: Right.

Tortorice: That was the first time that Mosse—

Caron: That was the very first time, so there was tremendous interest. It’s true though on Eastern Europe, we actually read Isaac Bashevis Singer (1903-1991), The Family Moskat (1945). So there he gave us a novel. But I still remember—I’m sure you’ve heard this a zillion times—his discussion of his own encounter with East European Jews. And how he came like in a limousine and was shocked at the, you know, these people have anything to do with me? So there’s still, I actually probably remember that course better than most other courses that I took.

I also took a course with Harvey Goldberg, of course, who even though he never dealt with Jewish issues, I found out later in his book on Juarès 8:21 he did deal with Jean Jaurès’s (1859-1914) attitudes towards antisemitism. So he was interested in that as well.

So, yeah, and then, well, when I went to graduate school, I actually did apply here. But I ended up deciding to go to Columbia. And I worked there with Paula Hyman and Robert Paxton, who were terrific advisors.


Tortorice: Oh, yes. Yeah. So your, we can go right to Columbia. So you decide to study European history. And then move into European Jewish history?

Caron: No. I went there to study actually Jewish history.

Tortorice: Oh, you did!

Caron: Yeah.

Tortorice: So even in those years, they had a graduate program in Jewish history.

Caron: Because Columbia was the first to have a graduate program in Jewish history because of Salo Baron (1895-1989). But there, well, the person in charge at the time was Zwi Ankori (b. 1920) 9:32 but I ended up working with Paula Hyman (1946-2011). But she was just actually finishing her own degree at that time. So I didn’t start working with her until like the second semester. I’m not sure I would have stayed, had she not been there. There was also Arthur Hertzberg (1921-2006) was there as an adjunct professor. No, but the Columbia program had been pretty well established. On the other hand, somebody with a background like I had from a much more secular, most of the students came from a more religious milieu with a much better Jewish education. I didn’t have that traditional Jewish education. I had some background in European history. So I was actually coming in from a very different place. And in fact, the successor, when Yosef Yerushalmi (1932-2009) took over, I probably never would have been accepted into that program, because I didn’t have enough of a Jewish background. But I ended up working both in European and Jewish history. And that was really the strength of that program, just as it was the strength of this program, I think, as well.

Tortorice: Embedding Jewish history within the larger framework.

Caron: Yes. And that’s really where I sort of, I think one of these questions asked about where I kind of situate myself. I mean, I’ve always felt that it was really important to embed Jewish history within that larger context. I mean, that’s certainly where the field has moved now. But at that time, that wasn’t really the case. And yeah. So I think things were just beginning to change at that time.

Tortorice: So really, in those years, you could say that that was the founding generation of Jewish studies in secular universities or public universities? I mean, I assume there had been Jewish studies in specifically Jewish institutions. But you didn’t really see it too much in other universities up until—

Caron: No, although again, at Columbia, there had been this tradition because of Salo Barron. But maybe the generation in the 1960s, where my mentor, Paula Hyman, people like Marion Kaplan in German Jewish history, and she had worked with Fritz Stern (1926-2016). Deborah Dash Moore, who’s now at Michigan. So those people, I think. Maybe I’m, and then the people like me in the [19]70s. Yeah, but they were the first ones, Todd Endelman to really get jobs in secular universities. And to really establish Jewish studies.


Tortorice: Those were the years when Mosse started to really move more towards Jewish history, too. Mid to late [19]70s, and into the [19]80s.

Caron: Right. Well this was, the course that I took, it had to be maybe in the spring of [19]72, or maybe, I don’t know, it was either the fall of [19]71 or the spring of [19]72.

Tortorice: I think it was probably the fall of [19]71, I think is what, yeah.

Caron: Okay.

Tortorice: One aspect of that course that I found amazing was that in the discussions with the students and Professor Mosse, there was a profound lack of information on the Holocaust. And a lack of understanding of the origins of this killer antisemitism in Europe, and where this, a kind of incomprehension of how this could have happened on the part of, and you could really feel this almost deep emotional hurt or engagement in a subject that they knew very little about. And that was 1971. And so, and I would assume most of the students in the class were Jewish. But I found that, because now you wouldn’t find that to that extent. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong. But I would think that the Holocaust is much more to the fore in not only Jewish education, but in education broadly, more broadly. So I found that quite striking in that discussion part of the course, and how George responded to that.

Caron: No, I mean, there were books published on Nazi Germany that hardly mentioned the Holocaust. So if one thinks about how that’s changed now with, I mean, the huge expansion of work on the Holocaust. Whether it’s changed in the high school curriculum, I don’t know. When I ask students they would sometimes say that it was still a very minor part of what they did in high school or learned even about the Second World War. So I’m not sure. But certainly, I think, in universities, I mean, it’s really changed. I mean, that’s been the fastest growing, probably the fastest growing field of all. Or certainly one of the fastest growing fields of all. And certainly in terms of my interests, I’m interested in the same question. Again, how did this happen and what are the roots?

I mean, that was also when Raul Hilberg’s (1926-2007) book was just being published. I mean, I think that had a huge impact. I remember, actually, from in between when I took off, when I graduated, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Even now that I’m retired, maybe I’m still not sure. (laughs) And I remember I had this job in San Francisco. And I went out to California for a while and I was working in an insurance company. I was bringing Hilberg’s book like to read at lunchtime. I think they probably thought I was crazy. But that was something again that I’d just heard about in Mosse’s course. Yeah, so I mean, that book, if one thinks about it with people like Christopher Browning, it’s just had a huge impact, I think. So, both antisemitism and the Holocaust are both fields that have developed tremendously since the 1970s.

And even somebody like Robert Paxton, with whom I worked at Columbia, really, it wasn’t until they did the book Vichy France and the Jews that he wrote with Michael Marrus that I think he really realized how prevalent, or how important antisemitism was. Up until then, he had told Paula Hyman that she was putting too much emphasis on that in her book. So I do think again in the [19]70s and [19]80s, as you said, that people’s attitudes were really changing.


Tortorice: Well, Christopher Browning is one of our graduate students from UW.

Caron: I don’t think I knew that.

Tortorice: He got his PhD here. George was on his committee and worked very closely with him. He’s a person I’d like to interview also at some point. Michael Marrus studied with George, too, at some point. I’m not sure if it was at the Hebrew University or here or what. But, so your main advisor was Paula Hyman. And I assume you and Professor Hyman were, well, there weren’t that many other women in the field at that point? Or was it fairly—

Caron: In our program, there were quite a few women. But she, as you might know, she was one of the first to really push for that. She was an ardent feminist. But Marion Kaplan, Marsha Rozenblit, another scholar. So at Columbia, there were a lot of women in our graduate program. Not all of them went on to pursue careers in academia. But there were a lot of women there.

Tortorice: So your dissertation, how did you decide on your topic? How did you shape the direction of your research?

Caron: When I think I first chose a topic, I think it was something related to the Dreyfus Affair. But that didn’t really pan out. And so I took a year off an just did a lot of reading. I mean, I’m still interested in those issues of Jews and nationalism. And so, maybe Paula Hyman, too, was working on a book on the Jews of Alsace and Lorraine, but from an earlier period. So this seemed like a focus topic. It was. And so that’s how I got onto that. So I mean, and again, it worked out well with having Paula Hyman and Robert Paxton as my advisors. But there’s no family history or anything linking me to Alsace and Lorraine.

Tortorice: What were your experiences like in graduate school? Did you find the experience for you, I would never say graduate school is easy, but that it was enriching and supportive and that you worked with a great group of contemporaries? Or would you –


Caron: I mean, the way it ended up, I was very happy. I mean, it was difficult at the beginning. Arthur Hertzberg wasn’t always so invested in his students. And the group, it was very small. So there weren’t really that many people to talk to. Although I have to say when I look at the graduate program at Cornell, I mean, that’s very tiny, too. So that’s just the direction that graduate school has taken. But maybe I wasn’t so integrated with the Europeanists there. I never actually even did a seminar in European history. Because the demands in Jewish, I’m not sure if this is still the case, but in Jewish history you had to, for your comprehensive exams, do from biblical times to the present.

Tortorice: Oh, my.

Caron: And so I had to take courses on, you know, ancient Israel and the Jews in the Middle Ages. I think at a lot of places now, you would do more European, you know modern Europe. So I didn’t have time, really to take those. We were able also to take lecture courses and get credit for those. And again, for me, I had not that much background. So that was actually a really good thing. So I did take a few lecture courses.

Tortorice: Well and being in New York and that whole incredible milieu there of lectures, culture—

Caron: We, and Columbia had ties to the Jewish Theological Seminary and YIVO. So the resources were fantastic, and the lectures and the people coming through. So, Leo Baeck Institute, so all of that made New York a really good place to do graduate work.

Tortorice: So, to get back to Mosse for a bit, so you had had this undergrad course with him. And it sounds like you were quite influenced by his course and his teaching. So as you started to move into your career, how did his work have an impact on you? Did you find that it was an important influence on you as you move forward?

Caron: I used his books in my courses up until the very end. Especially The Crisis of the German Ideology. And sometimes the students would say, “Why are we using such an old book?” I’d say it’s because it’s the best. (laughs) And so I think, actually, I mean, I only thought about this when I started to think about these questions. But in a way, like I know some people criticize that book for defining the völkisch ideology too broadly. And I think he may have changed—I actually didn’t see the second edition, but I know he did some explaining about why he did that. But in a way, I think it’s those broader definitions. I mean, he’s not somebody that narrows things down. And I think that’s the strength, really, of the book, to show how wide-reaching these ideas were. And it wasn’t only antisemitic political parties or very specific antisemitic groups, but that this infiltrated everybody. Religious groups, the conservative party. I think that’s how this worked. So that’s really how I see it. I don’t know if my view on that came specifically from him. But that’s just a view I think I share with him.


Tortorice: That sounds from your presentation today that that’s how you still approach the subject.

Caron: It’s exactly how I approach the subject. I had a quote, I don’t mention this, but just on this issue. Sorry. This is actually from his book, I actually use this. I like to have quotes at the beginning. I’m not sure they’re going to let me keep this in the final version. This press doesn’t do that, but I like to have these little introductory quotes. And in one chapter, I did use a quote from him, in his book Toward the Final Solution. He said, “Catholicism, as it evolved during the nineteenth century, like its Protestant counterpart, was separated from racism only by a thin line, which could be easily crossed. Baptism could not be denied, but the ancient hope of conversion was in the last decade of the nineteenth century overshadowed by hatred of the Jews.”

And I think that’s exactly true. And so he did have a sense of how even religion and racism worked together here. So that’s one way.

And the other way I was thinking about, the other view I share with him is his view of how even the most assimilated Jews should be considered part of the Jewish community. Because those people were often written out. Or not, like a lot of the studies that were done maybe in the 1960s used only Jewish communal records. So it was kind of an insular view. I mean, those were important works, because it was new. But I think David Weinberg’s book does this, and certainly Paula Hyman’s. The people who use general archival sources, too, and go outside the Jewish community. And certainly in my book on refugees, I’ve never written on this, but you could see a lot of assimilated Jews writing in the mainstream press as Jews, though. They were identifying as Jews there. But they didn’t, they weren’t really that involved with the Jewish community. And this was a more comfortable place for them. But most people don’t look at those papers, so they don’t even see that.

So some of those discussions, and he obviously included, I remember he included, like we read Trotsky and the Jewish Question in that class. I mean, people like that, who some people would say well they shouldn’t be considered Jews. But that’s not my view. So I think that more sort of all-encompassing view of what Jewish identity is is also more, it’s also more my view as well. So.

Tortorice: Certainly that was something that would have had a personal resonance for him and his family. Because they were very Jewish-identified but very secular, also, and assimilated.

Caron: Right. Right.

Tortorice: So, did you have any other interactions with Mosse over the years after that course, when he came east to give talks, or—

Caron: I wasn’t at Cornell when he was there as the A.D. White professor. I think I went to several lectures that he gave. And actually, I think the Journal of Contemporary History, I never discussed this with him, but the Journal of Contemporary History was the first place where I had an article published. So in that sense, he was very supportive. Even though he kicked me out of class, he always was very nice afterwards. (laughter)


Tortorice: Well, that’s good. Yes, because in the years that I knew him, and even the decade before, he went out of his way to really mentor and support young women. I mean, before that, I think he had been accused of being somewhat sexist. Which, given the milieu that he came from, the environment and the times, is perhaps not absolvable, but more understandable. But he really went out of his way to mentor younger historians, such as Isabel Hull and many others. And so I’d wondered if you had been part of that group.

Caron: I’m sure, I was, as I said, I was accepted to work with him here in the graduate program.

Tortorice: Right.

Caron: And I’m sure he would have done that. I didn’t, I remember, I still, I had gone once to ask him about doing an honors thesis with him in history. Maybe I thought I was going to continue on here. And he said, “Well, you can’t do it unless you read German.” (laughs) Well, I didn’t know German at that time.

Tortorice: He could be such a stickler about those things, really.

Caron: So, but I think maybe that was part of my fear in terms of not coming here, that maybe I’d be better off working with French historians. So.

Tortorice: You know, it’s interesting, because so many of his PhD students ended up working in French history.

Caron: Well, David Weinberg.

Tortorice: Yeah. There’s just a lot of them. Robert Soucy.

Caron: Oh, yeah. I didn’t, okay.

Tortorice: Oh, there’s quite a few. I wish I had the list. Is it Michael Orr? There’s quite a few that wrote books, significant books, it seems to me, in the field of French and French Jewish history. Because, like you said, he said German. But so many of his students ended up doing French history. Part of that might have been that he worked a lot with Harvey’s students, too.

Caron: Mm hmm. Well, that’s a really good, I mean, there’s somebody else in French history here. Ed Gargan.

Tortorice: Oh, yeah. Ed Gargan (1922- 1995).

Caron: And I think there was somebody else. I’m forgetting his name. Who was also an émigré, a German émigré. It started with a H. Anyway.

Tortorice: There was Ted, Ted Hamerow (1920-2013). He was in German.


Caron: Yes! Hamerow. Yes.

Tortorice: Yeah. Hamerow. Right.

Caron: That’s true, that wasn’t French history. Oh, so, you asked about my job.

Tortorice: Yes. And you know, we covered the field of Jewish history a bit. Well, being a woman in that period.

Caron: Although, well, just one last thing to add on that. Because my first teaching job was at the University of Washington in Seattle. And actually I think, well, they had just made an offer to Steven Aschheim, who I also was George Mosse’s student.

Tortorice: Right. He was. Yes.

Caron: And he had just made Aliyah and gone 31:31 to Israel. But they really wanted him, so they actually didn’t treat me so well. And they changed the terms. It was supposed to be a tenure track appointment. But they changed the terms to like a one-year position. And, but just in terms of, I mean, it was good that they were making an appointment in Jewish history. And there actually have been some people there. I think Deborah Lipstadt, she had already been there. But the way the job was set up was not, the history department actually, I was told, didn’t really want the position. Which only shows that, you know, Jewish history wasn’t accepted as a legitimate discipline in history. So it was set up divided between history and religious studies and international affairs. It was a very complicated arrangement. And I think it took a long time for these positions to really be recognized as legitimate fields within the discipline of history. It seems like here it’s pretty integrated.

But even at Cornell now, we don’t have, now that I retired, my chair was offered to Jonathan Boyarin (b. 1956), who’s an anthropologist. So there’s nobody teaching Jewish history there now.

Tortorice: Wow.

Caron: And I’m not sure, you know, the people in the history department still don’t really think that’s a big problem. So sometimes, I mean, one can look at the field in a way, and look at all the publications. And I have to say at conferences now, Jewish history is totally accepted. I mean, there’s so many panels on Jews, and it’s great. And even many non-Jews working on this field. So to me, that’s all terrific. But how accepted it really is in the profession, I don’t know. I mean, had Jewish studies people not put up the money for so many of these chairs, I’m not sure how accepted it would be.

Tortorice: Without that.

Caron: Yeah. I don’t know.


Tortorice: Yes. There certainly was a lot of resistance here for many, many years for it to be established here. And one of the main stumbling blocks was our Hebrew and Semitic studies department, which didn’t want to integrate into a larger Jewish studies program. And then we had a dean that was quite adamant that he wanted to resist this kind of ghettoization, he called it, of knowledge. He didn’t like all these fiefdoms being created, he said. So that took a long time. Really, it was only in the late [19]80s that finally Jewish studies was authorized here.  But George, I think, taught one of the first specifically Jewish history courses in a public university, I would say. That was very early for that, 1971. So even here, it’s always been a struggle. But I think that battle now is pretty much won. But it’s always that same thing of trying to sustain and keep the positions you have, and keep continuity as people retire. But, yeah. Well, I’m sorry to hear that. Because I think Cornell should have a Jewish studies historian. I mean, someone who is in history. 35:11

Caron: That’s a problem in history because there, Jewish studies is pretty much located within Near Eastern studies. And they, again, control the position. (laughs) So they may hire a historian one day, but I’m not sure it would be somebody necessarily that would have a strong presence in the history department. We’ll see. I hope that that works out.

Tortorice: Well, you have been so helpful in, you’ve been talking now for the last three or four hours, and so I don’t want to take up too much more of your time. But what would you consider your most important contribution to your field? Important publications, students that you’ve had that you feel especially notable?

Caron: Regarding students at Cornell, my graduate program was so small because I was the only Jewish historian. There were some people in European history. We had somebody, Mate Rigo, who actually I worked with Isabel Hull and Holly Case, who’s an East Europeanist. And he [Rigo] just got his PhD last year. So he has some interest in, some Jewish history interest for Romania and Hungary. But otherwise, there weren’t, there were a few. Federico Finchelstein, who works on Argentina. But I mean, again, I think that what I always tried to do in my work, again, was integrate Jewish history into the broader fields of French or German, you know, just European history. I think my work has been recognized—

Tortorice: Oh, yes.

Caron: —in that way. So, I guess that I would consider that to be the major contribution.

Tortorice: Is there a book that you feel is the book you’re most proud of, the most influential, or—

Caron: I don’t have that many. (laughs) I think my last book, I thought that that was a big, you know, study that encompassed a lot of sources. Yeah, I think it really sort of changed people’s view of—

Tortorice: This is the book on refugees? [Uneasy Asylum: France the Jewish Refugee Crisis, 1933-1942 (Stanford, 1999).]

Caron: Yeah. And also by bridging, you know, not looking only at the [19]30s, but sort of seeing continuities and discontinuities between the [19]30s and the Vichy period as well.

Tortorice: And the work you’re doing now, going back to the 1890s and early part of the 20th century, and then the post-World War One period and leading up to the war, that sounds like it’s a very vital and important topic. And I look forward to it. But thank you so much.

Caron: Thank you very, very much.

Tortorice: I won’t take any more of your time.


[End Interview.]

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