Je me souviens
Directed by Eric R. Scott
Produced by Eric R. Scott
Written by Eric R. Scott
Esther Delisle (book)
Distributed by Les productions des quatre jeudis inc.
Release date(s) Canada 28 April 2002
United States January, 2003
Running time 47 min.
Language French

Je me souviens is a 2002 documentary film about antisemitism and pro-Nazi sympathies in Quebec during the 1930s through post World War II made by Montreal filmmaker Eric Richard Scott. The title of the film is French for I remember, and is the official motto of Quebec.


Eric Scott's documentary film was inspired by the 1993 book The Traitor and the Jew by Dr. Esther Delisle that exposed the prevalence of antisemitic and extreme right-wing ideology within mainstream French Canadian nationalist thought during the 1930s and 1940s.

Scott's documentary pointed out that antisemitism existed in other parts of Canada, but as The Canadian Encyclopedia says, it was in fact particularly intense in Quebec. The Roman Catholic Church, to which almost every French Canadian had been exclusively bound for centuries and who controlled the Quebec education system, was at the forefront of the attacks on the Jewish population. Publications such as Jules-Paul Tardivel's La Vérité, L'Action sociale, and La Semaine religieuse disseminated anti-Jewish views throughout the province. In the 1920s, the leader of this racism was the priest, Lionel Groulx whose vicious attacks against the Jews influenced other clerics and teachers. Such was the influence of Lionel Groulx that French-Canadian politicians such as Henri Bourassa urged Canada to put a halt to Jewish immigration. Mainstream media such as the French language newspaper Le Devoir also took up the attacks on a Jewish population that was nothing more than a tiny minority representing only 1% of the population. [1]

Books by the French antisemite Maurice Barrès and the racist L'homme, cet inconnu (Man, This Unknown) by Alexis Carrel were widely read and approved reading material for Quebec students. In their 2006 book Young Trudeau: Son of Quebec, Father of Canada, 1919-1944 which was based on the private diaries and papers of the late Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau, academics Max and Monique Nemi wrote on the back cover that what was being taught in the 1930s and 1940s at Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf and the Université de Montréal, was that:

"Democracy was bad and that Fascism -- as represented by Mussolini and Pétain -- was good. The picture that emerges is of a Quebec elite that was raised to be pro-fascist, and where Nazi atrocities were dismissed as English (Canadian) propaganda."

Je me souviens recounts the support given to the Nazi regime in Germany by Montreal's Le Devoir newspaper and by some French-Canadian intellectuals as well as their support for the Nazi puppet regime of Vichy France. The film also documents the collusion between members of the Roman Catholic clergy and Nazi collaborators. Convicted war criminal Jacques de Bernonville and Georges-Benoit Montel and Jacques Duge were all given help to get into Quebec after World War II by prominent Quebec nationalists such as Robert Rumilly, Lionel Groulx, Montreal mayor Camilien Houde. (Additional confirmation by McGill University Professor Harold M. Waller and antisemitism expert [1] in a 1996 article in the American Jewish Committee Archives [2]

Filmmaker Eric Scott began the project in 1995, receiving grants from Telefilm Canada and Société de développement des entreprises culturelles du Québec. The film would be made in 1998, but Scott could not get the production aired for four more years. As a result of the effort of Bill Merrill, Vice-President of programming and production with CFCF-TV in Montreal, Je me souviens was broadcast on April 28, 2002 in Quebec on Canal D.

The film's United States premiere came in January 2003 through the auspices of the Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center at the annual New York Jewish Film Festival. [3]


See also



External links

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