By Pierre Birnbaum

Léon Blum (1872–1950), France’s best minister thrice, socialist activist, and brave opponent of the pro-Nazi Vichy regime, profoundly altered French society. it truly is Blum who's answerable for France’s forty-hour week and its paid vacations, that have been one of several reforms he championed as a deputy and as top minister, whereas performing as a proudly obvious Jew, a Zionist, and at last a survivor of Buchenwald.
 
This biography totally integrates Blum’s Jewish commitments into the bigger tale of his lifestyles. in contrast to prior biographies that downplay the importance of Blum’s Jewish historical past on his revolutionary politics, Pierre Birnbaum’s portrait depicts a unprecedented guy whose political convictions have been formed and pushed by means of his cultural historical past. the writer powerfully demonstrates how Blum’s Jewishness was once crucial to his outlook and undertaking, from his earliest access into the political area in response to the Dreyfus Affair, and the way it sustained and encouraged him in the course of the rest of his existence. Birnbaum’s Léon Blum is a serious bankruptcy within the higher heritage of Jews in France.

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I think you were deliberately silent about this, and I don’t really know why. Anyway, until tomorrow. ”79 Lise was ill, however, and declining rapidly despite treatment. She died in December 1931. 80 Thérèse followed the daily progress of Léon’s campaign and commented as a committed militant on the traps that were being laid for him. From a distance she railed against his rivals: “You tell me that you don’t feel these attacks. . But since you’ve put in so much effort, it would be good if you were successful.

In notes he made while preparing to write Du mariage, we find this pregnant sequence: “Lise last night. The moment there is suffering, there is anger and a desire for vengeance. But no. ”38 It was apparently during the summer of 1911, if not earlier, that Blum began a passionate relationship with Thérèse Pereyra, which lasted until Lise, whose health had long been precarious, died in 1931. Thérèse, whose sister married the composer Paul Dukas, came from a wealthy Sephardic family and was one of the Blums’ closest friends.

I admire every sentence. ”44 From the military hospital where she began volunteering as a nurse in September 1914, she wrote among the dead and wounded: “Sir, I love you. That is what I wanted to say. I could say the same thing in every line of this letter. ”45 In another letter she wrote: “There, Sir, is your destiny. You are condemned to be loved by this little slip of a woman whether you like it or not. ”46 When her work allowed, she wrote: “The state I’m in when you’re pressed against me. Darling, darling, I realize that I love you more every day.

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