And the Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris
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On June 14, 1940, German tanks rolled into a silent and deserted Paris. Eight days later, a humbled France accepted defeat along with foreign occupation. While the swastika now flew over Paris, the City of Light was undamaged, and soon a peculiar kind of normalcy returned as theaters, opera houses, movie theaters, and nightclubs reopened for business. Shedding light on this critical moment of twentieth-century European cultural history, And the Show Went On focuses anew on whether artists and writers have a special duty to show moral leadership in moments of national trauma.
playwright, however, was not the fight against evil as such. Rather, it was his belief that, echoing Antigone, Collette’s individual, heroic and futile gesture represented the quintessence of tragedy. Following the plot of Sophocles’ verse classic, Anouilh’s play opens with Antigone in the court of her uncle, King Creon, who has assumed the throne after her two brothers, Eteocles and Polynices, killed each other in a battle for power. Defying Creon’s order that Polynices be left unburied,
be used on Jews and others responsible for France’s humiliation. In this book, there is no hint that the Jews are already being persecuted in France and across Europe; rather, he portrays them as all-powerful, still using their wiles to obtain everything since “they want everything, they want more, they want the moon, they want our bones, they want our guts in hair curlers to present on the Sabbath, to dress with flags at carnival time.”41 He also had no time for the Catholic church, since it was
told me about their lives, their admirable fraternity, companions so different from himself, their deprivation; the fight against snow and cold, the war against the Italians, then the Gestapo, the informers. He had become head of a unit, then of a camp. Fourteen of his comrades had been shot.”1 The maquisards were not always popular. The main complaint was that maquis attacks on German patrols brought reprisals against unarmed villagers. In some areas, where maquisards robbed banks and post
Police. Alongside his signature, the document carried that of General Leclerc and, to de Gaulle’s annoyance, above it, that of the resistance leader Colonel Rol-Tanguy. Soon German soldiers were being rounded up and taken to the Louvre’s main courtyard, where they were held for the next three days. Later that afternoon, de Gaulle himself arrived in Paris and, standing in the main hall of the Hôtel de Ville, where Pétain had spoken four months earlier, he addressed a vast crowd. Matching the
defeat. The charges now thrown at them by Fascists in Paris and Vichy were many: that even French Jews were not really French because they owed allegiance more to Judaism than to France; that foreign-born Jewish refugees, about one-third of France’s 300,000-strong Jewish community, were fifth columnists; that Jews had pushed France into war with Germany; that Jews had infiltrated the government and the armed forces; that Jews had too much financial and cultural power in France. Fearing the