WHEN Paris fell to the Germans in world war two, what was life like in the city of lights? Paris-born photographer André Zucca took photos. They appeared in Signal, the German propaganda magazine, between 1941 and 1944. Are they propaganda? Or are they just what the photographer captured?
Ian Buruma looks at one photo and says:
Even the polar bear at the zoo in Vincennes looks disgusted with the Germans. His head lies on the slab of rock, contemptuous of the German soldier staring at him.
That same polar bear would later put on his best coat and dance for the allies.
One deputy mayor of Paris, Christophe Girard, looked at the photos and said:
“It’s complete manipulation. And it makes me vomit.”
Pierre Assouline wrote in Le Monde:
“In the shadows of these same streets, they were dying of hunger and cold. Raids and torture were taking place. Here we see only relaxation, joie de vivre, the nonchalance of a kind of happiness.”
Not everyone suffered all of the time in the war…
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