Thursday, April 10, 2008

La Vie Nazi en Rose ... II

- Continued from Part I -

Our post "La Vie Nazi en Rose" needs urgent updating. A problem has been detected that is reflected in the latter part of the post's title. Apparently André Zucca's colour photos of Paris during Nazi occupation were a bit too much, well ... en rose. This is hardly surprising given that Zucca was requisitioned by the Nazis to work for propaganda magazine Signal.

EURSOC is reporting on the fall-out of the recent exhibition "Parisians under the Occupation" at the Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris. It would seem that the shadow of World War II is still too overpowering to allow an objective, historical perspective. Either that, or ...

The People's Cube recently commented on the postmodern inability to take emotional distance - even from events as remote as Biblical times. Enjoy the Cube's correct opinions for progressive liberals in "The Renegade Exodus and Other Crimes of Moses". But now back to the Zucca exhibit:
EURSOC: "Don't Mention The War"

It seems the exhibition has caused red cheeks in the Paris city hall. The assistant cultural affairs mayor said that it the expo was "embarrassing, ambiguous and badly explained." The mayor's office quickly released a leaflet claiming that Zucca's photographs gave a "distorted" picture of life under Nazi rule. The work, it added, "chooses to show nothing, or little, of the reality of Occupation and its terrible consequences." The problem seems to be that Zucca depicted life as carrying on much as normal.

It's true, some of the images are almost glamorous. Little is seen of the suffering of the city's Jews (just two yellow stars in the show) and there isn't much in the way of the jackboot of Nazi oppression. According to the Paris city hall, this is because Zucca was following his German masters' brief to show Paris life continuing much as normal - hence his use of colour film for German magazines, a rare commodity in wartime France.

More sceptical souls, including the Independent's John Lichfield, suggest that Zucca was merely showing what he saw: In his defence, Lichfield quotes philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, who was scathing about the myth of Parisians being ordered about by gun-toting Nazi officers. Sartre wrote that Parisians invented this fantasy in order to assuage their guilt at not doing enough to resist the Occupation: In the years since the war ended, France has cultivated the image of suffering Paris, doubtless inspired by General de Gaulle's myth that during the war, Frenchmen were either Resistance (the vast majority) or collaborators. (...) >>>

Jean-Paul Sartre was a persistent Mao apologist in the face of genocide towards Rousseauian agrarianism. He should know about myths and self-delusion ...

2 comments:

Semaj Mahgih said...

Yes but where are you placed on this continuum, Cassandra?

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