The name of the Rosents

Published on 20 January 2010 at 14:51
Libération, 20 January 2010

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Faced with the lingering menace of anti-Semitism and to ease their integration, many French Jewish families opted to Frenchify their family names in the aftermath of World War II. So Rubinsteins Gallicised to Raimbauds, Rozenkopfs became Rosents, Wolkowiczes Volcots and so on. “Now, many of their children are searching for their roots and trying to ‘recover’ their original name,” reports Libération. In a class action brought by an association called La force du nom (The Power of the Name), they have just stated their case before the Council of State, the highest administrative court in the land. “Though any foreigner can Frenchify his name, the reverse is prohibited,” observes the paper. In the US, in contrast, the right to reclaim one’s name has been in force “for several decades now”.

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