Sunday, August 20, 2006

Paris Liberation

If you have been to Paris you may have seen these plaques throughout the city. They are meant to commemorate the death of several Parisians who have been shot by the Nazi either during the war period or right at the liberation of Paris that occurred between August 17 and August 25, 1944. That is exactly what happened to this guy (Jean Pilot) who was shot near the Assemblée Nationale (Parliament) on August 20, 1944, exactly 62 years ago.

Note: I am currently on vacation at the moment and I will be back on August 27. I can read your comments, but will not be able to reply until I return, thank you.


  1. When I was growing up in France and saw these kinds of memorials, as a kid, I used to think we were incredibly lucky to have never known War in the streets of our neighborhoods as most of our parents and grand-parents did.

    I don't know if you can still see it nowadays, but up until the late 70's you could still see walls of buildings damaged by bullets here and there ... and in the forests around Paris, if you dug a just a little below the surface, you could still find shells and other stuff, left over from WW2. Once, a kid found an old german helmet, but that was kind of rare; usually we found shells, lots and lots of large brass (?) shells.

  2. A meaningful post, and it's good that this kind of individual memorial exists reminding people they were real people and lives lost instead of nameless memorial.

    Tomate's comment adds a nice touch to this post as well ;-)

    HK's liberation day is on August 30 officially.

  3. A very heartfel post Eric. Agree with Lisi. It's very easy to forget the people who actually lost their lives during that time. The memorial reminds us of their heroism, all in the name of true democracy.

    Philippine's liberation is June 12 :)

  4. It's a beautiful picture Eric.
    And the best thing is that it has flowers, so, it still is taken care of. That means people remember and still know the importance of those acts.

    You can see a lot of memorials or plaques that are totally forgotten, and the sad thing is, so are the people whose actions are supposed to honor...

  5. A lovely tribute. The colors against the grays of the wall speak of a living memory. How sweet that you post it on the anniversary. Tomate, I recall seeing bullet holes in the columns on Rue De Rivoli, and also at Le Ecole Militarie.

  6. Of course WWI and WWII were a big part of my heritage as a kid growing up in France, because of all the stories I heard from my grandparents, parents, teachers, and other people in my life who had lived (and died) though one or both wars. Like Tomate Farcie, I have always felt lucky never to have had to live through a war - and I cannot help but be repulsed by the ignominy of war. Is there something inherent to the fabric of mankind that, at all times, there has to be a war or wars somewhere on this planet? I ponder about this quite a bit.

    I like very much the fact that such memorials are scattered around Paris.

  7. This is a cool tradition/rememberance Eric. I don't remember if we do the same in the USA or not.

  8. We became aware of many of the plaques in Paris but the ones that really depressed me were reminders of the many Jewish children who were massacred or captured from their schools. I would have been of elementary school age at that time.

  9. "Cool" remembrance?No more apt adjective than the ubiquitous (and frankly insulting to anybody who actually lost anyone or the one before it) "cool" Get real mate ! And how do you feel about the place who paid the most in blood for the Allied victory? Did they tell you in the USA about the 26 MILLION dead of the Soviet Union? Do you seriously think you would be hear bleating about "cool memorial" if it hadn't been for those dead? neither your country mine and certainly not France, amongst all the others of Europe, would have been anything like they are today? Superficial, insensitive moron, buty don't worry, it be back to normal theme park business tomorrow. My father & grandfather would wonder why they bothered to do what they did for imbeciles like you to grow and publicly show such ignorance! "cool", that word!!Obscene.

  10. Stewart: hey there, take it easy!!! Why so defensive?!!

    That "cool" comment was really not meant to offend anyone! Why such an aggressive comment in return?!!

    The word "cool" has been around for a number of years, maybe more than a generation, and is in the dictionary. Like it or not, it's part of the language, now.

    Maybe you don't like the association of such a casual word to that kind of memorial? Still, there is still no need to jump all over the blogger who made the comment when it is obvious that he meant no harm.

    Unless, perhaps, you felt a little extra defensive because he happens to be American?, is that it? If that's the case, let me remind you that a lot of US lives were lost, too, during that war, and if you have any doubts about that, feel free to drive through the fields of Normandy near Omaha Beach and see for yourself, mile after mile after mile. Nothing cool about that, I'll agree with you there.

    But I think what Michael meant when he said "cool rememberance" was that it is a good thing that people still bother to honor the fallen, even after all these years.


  11. ooh la la...I love thıs blog. It's very "cool". Thanks Tomate - you knew what I meant and I definitely meant no disrepect Stewie. Thanks for reminding me.

  12. OK, Michael. I don't want to get further into this, it's not appropriate here.It's just that it came across as trop à la légere. Anti-American, FAR FROM IT, be assured! I know those figures too and am far happier with the saving role of the US than many French have ever been, starting with De Gaulle. I seek balance and the facts speak for themselves.
    If 'cool' becomes acceptable, because of current idiom/vernacular, it means we are the means to express ourselves in accordance with what we we aretalking about.
    'Defensive', no. I was roused to defend those who can no longer assert themselves. Living in a French family in Paris for years from my teens, I learned plenty from ordinary, innocent people about life under the Nazis and the collabo officialdom & police. E.G. people the same age as me whose parents were taken away by French police to Drancy then Auschwitz,from where they never returned, while the kids were spirited into hiding. E.G. Parisian women who as young girls were made to tailor those 'cool' black leather coats for the Gestapo, so that their fingers were afflicted for the rest of their lives.
    Michael, forgive my aggressivity last night,it's not my normal way. But if you are there, and if you haven't already, take a walk in Rue des Rosiers, look at the memorial plaque for the Jewish school kids who were brutally taken away from there to the camps. Then try to get anyone in their 80s to talk about that time. Just listen. and please don't say 'cool', or the current French equiv (lol).

  13. Nowhere Man...I've just been to your blog and have seen what you are going through lately. Please forget about me here and concentrate on what's important in your life right now. Those who know me will understand that I'm not the nonchalant guy you might think I am from a casual comment on a blog. It was a harmless miscommunication in the bigger scheme of things and you have much more important things going on in your life. Good luck.

  14. Yeah, Stewart, ditto from me.

    It's the "Did they tell you in the USA part in your comment that made me kind of defensive, and I also know that Michael is a sweet, caring individual and he couldn't have possibly meant anything offensive. So, sorry if my comment came at you a little harsh.

    The truth is when we comment in these little windows, we sometimes want to type something real quick according to the mood of the moment and we don't realize until later how the words can be misinterpreted by someone else in a different culture, different state of mind...

    This on-line medium is absolutely fantastic in linking people from all the over the world together, but it is also very, very limited.

  15. Thanks , guys and really sorry. I'm glad you saw what was really pushing my buttons and it wasn't right. I like making peace much more than war!

    However TF, you know what? I have to tell you that it's not just possible, but easy to transcend those limits. I have the poof every day and it's beautiful.
    Anyway, tonight, it's nearly over.

  16. You hang in there, nowhere man, and come on back and hang out with us some more... Personally, I find (and I have a feeling Michael probably could tell you something very similar) that hanging out at PDP has certain healing properties ...