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Jules Salvador Moch

MOCH, JULES SALVADOR (1893–1985), French socialist leader. Born in Paris, Moch worked as an engineer and industrial manager from 1920 to 1927. From 1928 to 1940 he sat as a socialist deputy in the National Assembly and in 1936 was made secretary-general of the prime minister's office under Leon *Blum, who held him in high esteem for his wide scientific and managerial experience. He was later under-secretary of state (1937) and minister of public works (1938).

During World War II, Moch served in the French navy; in 1940, after the fall of France, he was imprisoned for voting in the National Assembly against the granting of constitutional powers to Marshal Pétain. He escaped and joined the Free French Navy in 1943. In the following year he became a member of the Consultative Assembly and, on the termination of the war, a member of the National Assembly. From 1945 to 1947 Moch was minister of public works and between 1946 and 1951 be held important posts in 11 successive cabinets, serving as minister of the interior, vice premier, and minister of defense. In 1949 he was nominated premier but failed to secure a majority. Between 1953 and 1960 he served as French representative at the Geneva disarmament conference. He returned to the Ministry of the Interior in 1958 for a short period but resigned when General De Gaulle came to power.

Moch was one of the most respected figures in the French socialist movement. As a member of the French government he gave considerable assistance to Jewish refugees, as he took a keen interest in Zionism. He was an enthusiastic supporter of Israel, paying several visits, and closely following the development of the Israel labor movement. Among Moch's many publications were Restitutions et réparations (1921) and La Russie des Soviets (1925). He also wrote a number of books on financial questions including Le Parti Socialiste et la politique financière (1928), which were issued as handbooks by the French Socialist Party to demonstrate their ability to handle economic affairs.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.