Honoring Victims of War at Paris’s Anne Frank Garden

Anne Frank Garden-10

Visitors to the City of Light who enjoyed today’s annual Armistice Day parade and the ceremonial placement of a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier under the Arc de Triomphe might also wish to take a moment to solemnize the second World War, in particularl the millions of Jews who were murdered by Nazi Germany (including about 77,000 French Jews). What better place to honor them than with a visit to a serene city park dedicated to perhaps the most well-known of all the victims of the Holocaust—Anne Frank? The charming but difficult-to-locate Jardin Anne Frank memorializes the teenaged girl known worldwide for the diary she kept while she, her family and friends hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam during World War II. But the quiet green space in Paris also more broadly memorializes all those who’ve lost their lives to war. Continue Reading →

Remembering the Nazi Impact on Paris

Deportation Memorial 7

Straddling the eastern tip of Ile de la Cite just behind Notre Dame is the Memorial de la Deportation, a tribute to the more than 200,000 French men, women and children—including homosexuals—who died in Nazi extermination camps during World War II. The memorial is a poignant reminder of the role racism, antisemitism, homophobia and flat-out hatred played in the deaths of nearly 50 million people worldwide during WW II. Continue Reading →

Marais Museum Chronicles History of French Jews

Musee du Judaisme 9

There are more than 150 museums in the City of Light, ranging from tiny exhibitions to huge world-renowned institutions like the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay. But many Parisian museums fall between the obscure and the famous, and one of the most interesting of these is the Musee d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaisme/MAHJ (Museum of Jewish Art and History). The museum, housed in an historic 17th century Marais mansion, chronicles the rich and sometimes very complex history of Jews throughout Europe and North Africa—with a specific focus on French Jews—from the Middle Ages to present day through its world-class collection of paintings, sculpture, religious objects, manuscripts, textiles and historic documents. Some of the most fascinating artifacts are nearly 800 years old. Continue Reading →

V.E. Day: 69 Years Ago, the Nazi Nightmare Ended

Deportation 2

Today, May 5, marks the 69th anniversary of the Victory in Europe during World War II, known as V.E. Day. A national holiday in every major Western European nation, V.E. Day is celebrated particularly boisterously in France as the country suffered a long occupation by the Nazis and even the establishment of a collaborationist government in the southern half of the nation. In Paris, locals and visitors alike can find several historical sights and monuments related to World War II and the Nazi occupation, particularly locations that are directly linked with the mass arrest and deportation of French Jews in the city. Continue Reading →