The past weekend was all about the decisive allied intervention in Normandy that turned the tide of the Second World War.
For Paris, liberation was not too far in the future.
But, one would imagine that the atmosphere would have been tense and uncertain in occupied Paris.
Late Night News
Delivered by night, overhead. Freedom was coming soon.Source: Coll. Laurent Albaret, DR
On the 10th of June, the British tract, Le Courrier de l’air would be printed and then delivered over the course of the following days, overhead and at night, to occupied areas of France, informing them about the success on the beaches of Normandy.
The experience of the city remained that of an occupied territory. The sights, sounds, and the broader sensory experience of Paris were oppressive, one might imagine.
Here are a few images of the time that I found striking, while combing through archives of the time:
Age and a Sense of Occupation
Earlier on during World War 2, children playing, a reminder that experience of the city, even in times of war, is ‘sensed’ and defined according to different ‘temporalities’, (senses of time, age…)
Fabulous and Fierce Under Fire
The show had to go on, even in occupied Paris. This is an image of Jean Cocteau and cabaret chanteuse, Suzy Solidor. Music and entertainment and even queer life took on new shapes and forms during the occupation. Source: Hexagone Gay
The Fearful Sound of Thudding Boots
This image of the onset of occupation is a frightening one to imagine – the moment of deathly silence among inhabitants of the city, and the domination of the soundscape by the thud of army boots and other military sounds. Thankfully, the soundscape today reflects that of a free city Source: LAPI/Roger Viollet
Stripping the city
Paris was not subject to some of the more extensive damage of other parts of the country and continent. But, this image demonstrates how occupied forces loaded sculptures and art to strip them of precious metals to finance the extended stay. Talk about outstaying one’s welcome. -when the ‘guest’ begins selling the silverware… Source: Roger violet//LAPI
In this image, Parisians queue for vouchers for food and heating. This image ought to demand that one enjoy Paris of today – the freedom to go out and the power we have over our sense of taste and the luxury to choose from a variety of some of the best restaurants on earth. Source: Roger Voillet/LAPI
Still to come…
Here, in a liberated city, Parisians gather to listen to Gen. Charles de Gaulle. Source:LAPI/Roger Viollet