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What The Nazi Occupation Of France Was Really Like

There are layers and layers of history under the simple phrase, "The Nazi occupation of France." And perhaps even more layers in Paris than in the rest of la patrie. Of course, the French have always had a hard time looking at their past. That past never bore much resemblance to how it was officially depicted.  Charles De Gaulle was a master-mythmaker, and so his glory somehow metamorphosed in the glory of France.  The Communists also struggled to make their part of the resistance seem like the whole of it: broad-based, heroic, ideological. The maquis was actually quite small, infested with turn-coats, and blessed with many successes. The rising in Paris did not happen until the Nazis were almost beat.

There is now showing in Paris a photographic exhibition of the streets of Paris while the swastika flew on many public buildings.  How quickly a proud people can be brought low.  But the museum presentation is not of a people being brought low.  It is the other side of the story, the story of normalcy and utter indifference.

An article -- with photographs from the show itself -- in the Daily Mail brings the repressed past alive.