Two types of Jewish communities were established in Nord-Pas-de-Calais on the eve of the war: the families in the large towns and cities (Lille, Valenciennes, Dunkirk), integrated into France and the Republic for generations; the Polish Jewish community, established in the mining area during the inter-war period, which had retained its own strong particularities.
The Morgenstein family, a Jewish family who were victims of the persecution, Lens, May 1942
Both were victims of a dual persecution: that of the Germans and that which resulted from the application of the "status of Vichy Jews". Discreet and methodical from the end of 1940, the persecution worsened abruptly in 1942: work camps were set up along the coast and, in June, it became compulsory to wear the yellow star. A big raid, organised on 11 September 1942, carried out by the German police with the assistance of the French police, led to the deportation and execution, in Auschwitz, of more than 500 people.