Purim Satire: A Statement from The Papa Vichy Jam Company

Bonne Maman, a popular French preserves company available in most grocery stories and online, is going viral for an unverified but heartwarming story of Nazi resistance” New York Post, Feb. 18, 2021

We realize there is a “feel-good” story going around about a certain rival jam company from our part of the world, in which an elderly woman in a supermarket told another shopper that she always buys Bonne Maman jam because its owners saved Jews in World War II. Some of you may have also heard the “feel-bad” story involving our company, when an elderly woman saw a jar of our product and proceeded to shriek in horror, before nearly passing out in disgust.

We at the Papa Vichy Jam Company would like to set the record straight regarding our own French jams of excellence and some of the controversy surrounding our brand.

While it is part of the historical record that our great-grandfather Jean-Claude (the “Papa” of the title) was an enthusiastic Nazi collaborator, “Jams and Preserves” magazine has noted that our products are organic, minimally processed, use fair trade produce where possible and that we haven’t made any racist utterances in years. Unlike our competitors, our company has no expensive attic remediation costs, since we never hid any Jews from Nazis — so we pass the savings on to you.

The jingles, “Papa Vichy, Hitler’s favorite jam” and “Mmm the Führer Loves Papa” were never official slogans, per se, simply creative brainstorms by Papa and his colleagues that happened to take off. Yes, we were briefly known as Bonne Nazi (from 1943-1948). And the logo from those days, shall we say, could be seen as offensive through a contemporary lens (don’t Google it).

But those days are behind us. It’s our creative, easygoing, collaborative spirit that survives, which you can taste in our two-berry blend jam — truly, the best of both worlds!

Our jams have won many, many blind taste tests — which is good! Because we understand our name could be off-putting to the more sensitive consumers. As they say, don’t judge a fruit preserve by its label. Just put it in a paper bag if you’re embarrassed! We’re just saying, maybe prioritize your health and taste over historical qualms!

After all, everyone knows the Smucker family tortured Viet Cong, but no one makes a big deal out of that. (What, not everyone knows this? You say this is a pernicious rumor Papa Vichy has started to deflect attention from our own sordid history? Nonsense!).

We at Papa Vichy have made many compromises over the years — enthusiastically! But one thing we will never surrender is quality.

Does it really matter that our founders crossed the line? Many, many times? Not when you take a bite of our delicious plum preserves! Plums have no political affiliations. (Although some say the modern apricot was first grown by Stalinists.) The point is, live and let live!

Plums have no political affiliations.

Our organic blackberries are grown without industrial chemicals, just bursting with rich blackberryish flavor. History is complicated, but our blackberry jam is simple, and delicious. And, yes, sticky — like our history! But good with butter on a slice of fresh country loaf.

Yes, it is sad that we don’t have a feel-good story about our ancestors, but this only compels us to make up for their historical decisions by making the best spreads. There’s no time for sour grapes. So we’ve turned ours into delicious — and sweet! — grape jam.

When there is no glorious past, we can only focus on the present, the future, and our forthcoming collaboration with Goebbels Sourdough Bakers of Distinction.

As part of our efforts to smooth over some misconceptions about the ethics of our jam, we are graciously donating any jars of our prune and cherry jams nearing their expiration dates to any Kosher bakery that needs some to make Hamantaschen for the upcoming Jewish festival of Purim.

To be honest, we’re not exactly sure why “Haman hats” are cool while yet a certain (long in the past!) “Führer marmalade” is not. But it goes without saying, though we are supporting the making of these cookies, we do not support Haman and his genocidal tendencies — just the jam and merrymakings.

And merrymaking — like tucking into a big pot of our limited edition Himmler’s Choice Huckleberry jam — is something we can all collaborate on. 


Emil Stern is the co-creator of the podcast “King of the Egg Cream,” starring Richard Kind and Michael Stuhlbarg. Sigmund Stern is a contributor to The Onion and McSweeneys. Yoni Weinberg has written for the HBO series “Crashing.”

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