Les Parisiennes

3A769A0E-34E0-4029-BD8E-46C8E5FEB473.jpegI just finished an excellent book, Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved, and Died in the 1940s, by Anne Sebba. I think was the best book that I have read so far this year. Sebba makes it clear that the situation for women in France during the war was incredibly complex. Some women still went to couture shows and wore custom jewels from the greatest boutiques on Place Vendôme, while others queued for inadequate food. Women resistants were not recognized as combatants, so they were not eligible to be compensated after the war. They were, however, given honors by the government for their heroism. On the other hand, women who were deported to concentration camps were neither considered combattants nor heroic resistants, but rather victims. People didn’t want to hear their stories after the  war because they ran contrary to the national rhetoric that France was full of bold resistants who took on the Nazis and won, not victims of four terrible years of occupation. It’s a fascinating series of accounts based on eyewitness interviews, journals, and letters. I highly encourage you to you read it, especially since we just marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Paris.

 

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About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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