David P. Boder Interviews Louis Kahn; August 21, 1946; Paris, France



Boder's interview with Admiral Louis Kahn centers in large part on the Kahn's opinions as to the reasons for France's sudden and devastating defeat in 1940 and his views on post-war refugee rehabilitation. Unfortunately, he provides little information on his war time experiences, such as his escape across the Pyrenees to join the Free French forces of General De Gaulle, or details of his service with those forces.

This interview is part of a group of interviews with the eminent Kahn family and their chauffeur taken in Paris on August 21, 1946 during an evening at the home of Admiral Louis Kahn. The interviews were conducted in the following order: Abraham Schramack (Mrs. Kahn's father), Jean Kahn (the family's younger son) Anne Marcelle Kahn, and her husband, Admiral Kahn. These are followed by an interview with the family's chauffeur, Charles Jean, who during the German occupation was in the French resistance. The Kahns were among the approximately 150,000 French Jews who had deep roots in France. (Another 200,000 Jews in France during the Holocaust were more recent immigrants.) Despite their long-standing residence in France, the Kahn family lived a precarious existence during the Occupation. Due to his service in the French navy, Admiral Kahn was separated from his family at the start of the war and was not in France during the war years.

—Elliot Lefkovitz