The Occupation of Paris (1940-1944) and the Occupation of the United States of America (2017-2018).
In 1940 African-Americans in Paris had to sit in the last car in trains (le Métro) and that came about through Mein Kampf and Hitler as the Negro race was declared a degenerate race. In 1942 Jews, too, were forced to sit in the last car. That came about through much harsher regulations to determine who was Jewish (lots of Jews looked Aryan).
The French race was mixed with Neger (German word) and Jewish blood and there were also Slavs, Arabs, and Asians to segregate (or worse). The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews is noted in the bibliography of the book When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation 1940-1944 by Ronald C. Rosbottom which I read to provide most of the details. We know that Hitler borrowed much from the history of America and its own racism.
Josephine Baker was in France before and after 1940 (born in St. Louis, Missouri). She was a huge hit in Europe and even in Berlin before Hitler, but things soured fast. Her race and her act considered decadent by Hitler and the Nazis caused that. She had also married a French Jew. Baker left Paris and would not return until after the occupation was over. She worked with the French Resistance and she later fought for civil rights in the United States, working closely with the N.A.A.C.P.
Baker adopted 12 children (think of the impact that she had on Angelina Joli) from all over which became known as the “rainbow tribe.” In 1951 at the Stork Club in New York City, Baker became upset when she was apparently refused service at the club and she stormed out of there with Grace Kelly, future princess of Monaco who became great friends with Baker. Josephine Baker was buried in France with military honors. Even Beyoncé performed a famous dance of Josephine Baker in 2006 in Radio City Music Hall.
Turning to François Mitterand who became President of France we learn that Mitterand at first was with the Vichy government of Marshall Pétain, but he chose to join the resistance movement. Robert Anthelme (a Jew) was arrested by the Gestapo, but his wife, Marguerite Duras, escaped the trap with the help of Mitterand. Mitterand went on to experience Dachau which was just liberated. Mitterand observed the pile of cadavers and dying inmates. I visited Dachau in 1984 which is about 530 miles from Paris. “François, François, c’est moi,” a voice called out to Mitterand from the pile. It was Robert Anthelme, “ill with typhus, starved, and dying.”
Anthelme was brought back to his wife in Paris by Mitterand. The marriage did not survive, but Anthelme died in 1990. Marguerite Duras earned an Academy Award nomination for her screenplay Hiroshima, Mon Amour.
Many Parisians saluted Jews in the streets as they saw the yellow stars. This was an example of
The Yellow Star and the Grande Rafle. No there was no raffle in France.
Better Hitler than Blum was on the minds of anti-Semitic Frenchman as was the lesser of two evils in the Election Campaign of 2016.
Well they (the Parisians) got Hitler as he came into Paris for a brief victory tour (tourist). Hitler went to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the eternal flame, where he placed flowers to the memory of French soldiers. Hitler actually took time to visit le Marais (the Jewish section of Paris). This area was known to Jews everywhere like the Lower East Side of New York City was known. Le Marais was known as the Pletzl or Little Place. The Nazi propaganda machine was at work there.
Winston Churchill was calling for unity between England and France and no armistice with Germany. No armistice, no disunity, and no Brexit in 1940 as citizens from both countries would have been the same. What would Trump have said about that in 1940 since he was a huge advocate of Brexit?
Both police and Nazis protected even Jews from thugs in the street so that Paris would remain calm during the occupation.
Immigrants poured into Paris from Spain (as Franco and the fascists won), Germany, and Eastern Europe. The Right rejected them as the right rejects immigrants today. The Right, the Right the Right. The Fox News of the 1940s? There was an admiration of Hitler’s National Socialists and America sat on the sidelines. Just as large Americans sit on the sidelines today. The wealthy fled Paris to and the working class could not even afford a train ticket to get out.
In France there was the repeal of naturalized citizenship for immigrants. People lost citizenship if they were naturalized after 1927. People should not lose their citizenship easily, but in their personal cases there was no fraud. The government was fraudulent and immoral.
Many Jews were convinced that France was just trying to control immigration and “terrorism” or attacks against German occupiers.
Many Parisians saluted Jews in the streets as they saw the yellow stars. This was an example of sanctuary minds and hearts when there was no sanctuary city of Paris. And in the Métro there was an incident where an angry Nazi was upset that a Jew entered first class. He pulled the emergency cord of the car, ordering the woman to get out. All the Gentiles left with her in support. We always need support to fight against oppression.
Soon Jews were not allowed in any public establishments including “restaurants, cafés, cinemas, theaters, concerts, music halls, swimming pools, beaches, museums, libraries, expositions, châteaus, historic monuments, sporting events, racecourses, parks, campgrounds, and even phone booths (what’s that?), and fairs….”
When the Grande Rafle or Great Roundup of Jews took place in Paris and public transportation took over 13,000 to Vélodrome D’Hiver or Vel D’Hiv for days in the heat of summer in Paris (July 12th and 13th). It was expected that about twice that amount would be sent to Drancy, the French concentration camp set up in 1942. Over 4,500 of Paris’ and France’s Finest (police) were involved in this roundup that would torment France until today. Some of Paris’ Bravest (firemen) behaved much more humanely in the Vélodrome as they defied police orders and sprayed the Jews who needed to cool off and have water. And these men went further than that. But first a word about Paris’ “Finest.”
There were two French police reports about the Grande Rafle and 2018 is a year that strikes up memories of the past. Parisians were troubled about the actions taken against the “Israelites” who were rounded up. There were two reasons, one was the separation of children from their parents that was seen everywhere. And the other is the belief that public opinion (writing that most Parisians were anti-Semitic) would have been better if only foreign Jews had been rounded up. Tens of thousands of those Jews had rushed into France from Germany and Poland seeking safety. Churchill warned about the role police could play when he took power in England and here is widespread evidence of wrong doing by police in the name of duty. Minister of the Interior George Mandel leaves Paris and tells the Chief of Police to maintain order.
The “Bravest” collected notes (about 144) from Jews who were desperate to communicate with their families before being moved from the Vel D’Hiv. The firemen had approval to take a day off from their duties to honor the requests of those Jews who gave them notes. The men were given Métro tickets to move around various arrondissements to mail the notes, but their boss said also that they were acting on their own (due to the huge climate of fear that permeated Paris). Defiance was the order of the day and it was commendable.
Jewish children who did not know what to do without parents and loved ones were wandering the streets. Homes were sealed off preventing children to enter their apartments. Some of those children were helped by the Eclaireurs Israélites de France, a Jewish scouting organization that sent out teenagers (at great risk themselves) to find hundreds of children.
Once Drancy and Bobigny were used for transporting Jews to Auschwitz, that continued until the very end. And it continued even when it was clear that Germany was losing the war. Some Jewish “clerks” were assigned to do the work of collecting and sending off stolen things on orders of the Nazis and there was great sadness to think about how some of those Jews saw family “picture frames, tchotchkes, and children’s toys” that were theirs before being rounded up and now they were packing them and sending them off “as if they belonged to someone else.”
Let’s now go back in time and create hashtags for the Occupation, just as we create hashtags now for gun control, rape of women, and more.
# Pablo Picasso (stayed in Paris during the occupation)
# Henri Matisse (stays)
# Maurice Chevalier (stays until 1943)
# propaganda ministry
# Pétain dictatorship
# massive seizure of business and property
# Resistance # student resistance
# nighttime curfews
# Left Bank safer for Parisians
# Marseillaise outlawed (but sung and whistled in defiance)
# French prisoners of war in Germany (about two million)
# food rationing (tickets given out for food and waiting on lines) lines
# frightful noise or doorbell ring
# French taken from France to work in Germany for the German war effort
# restricting the uses of bicycles as Germans control all transport
# movie theater lights turned on to see who was making fun of Nazi newsreels (control of human thought and expression as in N.F.L. protests during the playing of the national anthem)
# Black Market
Everything was important and life had changed so much, making conditions intolerable (not all conditions and the wealthy lived pretty well). They were people resisting and people denouncing others. Over 5,000 youth resisted in Paris during those years working with Jacques Lusseyran, a student at the Lyceé Louis -le-Grand on the Left Bank. I always loved being in that part of Paris and love it more now. Jacques Lusseyran had been blind for half of his life, but he could see more than others and was selected by the students for his leadership role.
Finally, after two years, these amazing youth were denounced. These youth believed in liberty and opposition to the Germans (a hatred for them) and the Vichy Regime. We hear so much about hate for Trump, don’t we? Only 2 percent of French people were involved in the resistance.
Thinking of the violence that has plagued American schools and the solidarity of purpose that we need to find the best in us, a Parisian school principal read a letter about a professor of German (Daniel Decourdemanche who was killed (so that his students could be free men some day). In the Lyceé Rollin which was renamed after the war for that professor, there were Pétainists, Gaullists, and even collaborationists among others who heard the principal read the letter that horrified everyone and not one student denounced the principal to the authorities.
There is a dignity in patriotism and not just patriotism for patriotism’s self. That lyceé was named the Lyceé Jacques-Decour, the nom de guerre (war name like Rambo for example) of that teacher (not nom de plume).
From beginning to end (Genesis to Exodus) there was a lot wrong in France. Parisians mostly resisted contact with German troops, but there were between 80,000 and 200,000 baby Fritzes (Fritz is the nickname of Friedrich) born of French-German couples in four years of occupation.
Although a poster cited in 1944 appeared all over France, it reveals the propaganda used for well over a decade and as the Nazis entered Paris. Foreigners command the French that “pillage, steal, sabotage, and kill….” The Jews inspire “the unemployed and professional criminals to do their job.” The message was about foreign plots and therefore is an anti-French plot. Then the quote “Strangle it before it strangles you, your wives, and your children.”
Just this last week there was a protestor, a white supremacist in Florida holding a sign that Jews Rape Kids and within days Donald Trump was tearing into South Africa for racism and murder of whites and ignoring problems in his base in Florida.
The Commandant of the Wehrmacht of Greater Paris wrote that under protection (occupation) Paris has known four years of peace. Any chaos has been made by the people themselves. He cited “false nationalists” which must include false news. A strong recommendation was made to turn to the humanity of the German nation and Parisians owed “loyalty” to them for to fight against “terrorists” (resistance) so that life could be preserved (and I assume that there would be four more years).
And Trump is expecting violence if the Republicans lose in November. Real violence! It could happen in this country, but he only mentioned Antifa and not both sides.
Who has replaced the Jews in the American Occupation of 2017-2018. Mexico? Other nations that are not White like Norway (Trump mentioned Norway earlier this year)? Now that America is finally great again to Trump, we have to Keep America Great!
France got rid of its greatest military hero in the 20th Century. Marshall Pétain, who was found guilty of treason against France. Trump was draft deferred and is no hero to the vast majority of Americans. His support is diminishing. It would be great to end the United States Occupation this year! Please do not disturb me. I am being occupied! The Maginot Line which the French people believed made France invincible was no such thing and the Imaginary Line which Americans use to protect our nation under Trump cannot accomplish that. He, too, may become a traitor in the not too distant future.