The ‘Vichy French’ relationship with the Nazi regime is never easy to summarise. Whilst some Frenchmen had fled France to continue the fight after the defeat in 1940, many did not have the opportunity. The Government established in the town of Vichy was nominally independent, running the southern half of France until the Germans took over the whole country in November 1942. Then the French Navy defied the Germans and had at least denied them the use of the French Fleet.
Others in France were rather more enthusiastic in their cooperation and collaboration with the Nazis:
For reasons of military order and to guarantee the safety of the population, the German military authorities notified the French administration of the order to proceed immediately with the evacuation of the north end of the Old Port.
For its part, the French administration decided on the grounds of internal security to carry out a vast police operation to rid Marseille of certain elements the risks of whose activities weighed heavily on the population.
The French administration worked hard to avoid mixing up the two operations. Sizeable police forces carried out numerous searches in the quarter. Entire neighbourhoods were surrounded and identity checks were made. More than 6,000 individuals were arrested and 40,000 identies were checked.
The Prefecture of the Bouches-du-Rhône 24th January 1943
A German photographer was on hand to document it all.