Paris, this time, 70 years ago…

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
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.

Occupied Life

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 orld War 2, a reminder that the city, even in times of war, is 'sensed' and defined according to different 'temporalities', (senses of time, age...) Source: Roger-Viollet/LAPI parisenimages.fr
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…)
Source: Roger-Viollet/LAPI

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. Source: Hexagone Gay
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 - as a moment of deathly silence and the domination of the soundscape by the thud of army boots. Source: LAPI/Roger Viollet
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 -a nd continent. But, this image shows occupied forces loading images to strip them of precious metals to finance the extended stay. Talk about outstaying one's welcome. Source: Roger violet//LAPI
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

Forced Taste

In this image, Parisians queue for vouchers for food and heating. Source: Roger Voillet/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
Here, in a liberated city, Parisians gather to listen to Gen. Charles de Gaulle. Source:LAPI/Roger Viollet
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