Photo of the Week

ParisUpdate-LaDefense

Sunset over La Defense © Paris Update

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save  

Paris Update What’s On

Links to events happening this week in Paris

English-language theater festival

ParisUpdate-ParisFringe-Geometrika300

> Paris Fringe returns for its second year of English-language theater and comedy. Various venues, Paris, May 18-28.

Pre-Edinburgh play
> Sugar Baby, by Anne Penketh and starring Holly-Rose Clegg, will play in Paris before moving on to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  La Chapelle des Lombards, Paris, May 20.

Annie in English
> The International Players present the musical Annie. Le Quai 3, Le Pecq, May 18-21.

Late-night art
> Museums stay open into the night for free and hold special events for the Nuit Européenne des Musées. Various locations. Paris, May 16.

Left Bank gallery crawl
> Open house at 50 galleries for Art Saint Germain des Prés. Various venues, Paris, May 18-June 3.

Gold in galleries
> The Carré Rive Gauche, an association of Left Bank galleries celebrates its 40th anniversary with an event called ExtrORdinaire, featuring gold in works of art. Opening night: May 18. Various venues, Paris, May 18-June 3.

All that jazz...
> Jazz acts ranging from amateurs to big names at the Festival Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Various venues, Paris, May 11-22.

Literary Latin Quarter
> Readings, book signings, storytelling, concerts and more at the Quartier du Livre festival. Various venues, Paris, May 17-24.

Emerging artists
> The Salon de Montrougehas been exhibiting the work of young artists every year for 62 years. Le Beffroi, Montrouge, through May 24.

Plays from all over Europe
> The Chantiers d'Europe festival presents theatrical performances from Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain, Greece, Croatia and the United Kingdom. Théâtre de la Ville–Espace Pierre Cardin, May 2-24

Hollywood glam
> Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich and more in classic films from Hollywood's Golden Age for the Glamour cycle. Forum des Images, Paris, May 3-31

Photo shows galore
> Le Mois de la Photo has been moved from autumn to spring, with 96 exhibitions taking place all over the greater Paris area. See Web site for locations and dates.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Emmanuelle Cuau’s Pris de Court, preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, May 19.

Virtual reality
> Drop in on Saturday or Sunday from 2pm to 8pm for a free virtual trip at the VR Express festival. Forum des Images, Paris, through June 30.

Dance in historic sites
> Monuments en Mouvement offers free dance performances in national monuments like the Pantheon in Paris, the Abbaye de Cluny and châteaux. Various locations, through Oct. 21.

African culture festival
> The 100% Afriques festival showcases dance, theater, music, fashion, design, art, food and more from all over the continent. La Villette, Paris, through May 28.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save  

Hot Topics - Exhibitions

 

C'Etaient des Enfants

Search and Deportation:
The Children Speak

Paris-Update C Etait-des-enfants2

Before they could be rounded up by the police, these orphans were evacuated from Paris and placed in non-Jewish families in the countryside. © Archives CDJC-Memorial de la Shoah. Coll. OSE.

Children absorb and reflect the world of their elders. At Drancy, the internment camp in France from which over 67,000 Jews, 6,000 of them children, were deported to the Nazi extermination camps, “ordinary life sometimes took over,” said Odette Dattroff-Baticle, an internee there in 1943. “The children played, but they had their own games: ‘Search’ and ‘Deportation’.”

That chilling image comes from the new exhibition “C’Etaient des Enfants” at Paris’s Hôtel de Ville, which attempts to conjure the world of the Parisian children whose families were dragged from their homes beginning exactly 70 years ago, in July 1942, by the French police. On that date, the 14,000 Jews arrested were sent to the Vélodrome d’Hiver near Paris for future deportation to Drancy and then onward to Auschwitz.

The exhibition tells the story from the point of view of the children themselves, with photos, drawings, poems, toys, eyewitness testimony and more. Altogether, 11,400 Jewish children, most of them Parisians, were deported from France or died in one of the French internment camps. Only 200 of them returned.

More than one of the exhibits here will sicken you. Here’s a long pale-yellow dress trimmed with burgundy ribbon with an ugly pumpkin-colored star marked “Juif” sewn onto it. Next to it is a photo of its owner, Tauba Szmukler, proudly wearing it – sans yellow star – in a school photo a year before.

Then there’s the poem by 10-year-old Fanny Gicht, a refugee in a home for children in the South of France, comparing her people to toads: “Nature made us so ugly/that everyone is afraid to touch us/But cowardice isn’t afraid/to touch us with its rough hands. It strikes us as if we had done something to it.”

Or how about “Youpino,” a propaganda Dick-and-Jane-style book to teach children about the perfidy of Jews, in which, for example, a Jewish boy cheats at games so he can win more toys.

There are toys made out of wood for their children by fathers interned in camps, paper dolls and drawing books from Drancy and even a beautifully dressed but sad-looking baby doll next to its little suitcase full of clothes. It was one of the few survivors of the looting by the German occupiers of 38,000 Parisian apartments once inhabited by Jews who had fled or been deported. When the family of Francine Christophe returned to their apartment after the war, they found her doll still there—an unusual occurrence, since the Germans usually took everything, right down to the rolls of toilet paper.

The exhibition grew out of a project led by a group of Parisians who wanted to give names to the children who had been deported from the city’s schools and received support for their research from Mayor Bertrand Delanoë.

The “good” news from the exhibition is that around four-fifths of France’s Jewish children survived the war; some escaped with their families, some were helped by aid and resistance networks, some were hidden by individuals or in Catholic institutions (where they were often pressured to convert).

One survivor, François Szulman, who from the age of 12 hid with his family in an apartment on Rue Sainte-Marthe in the 10th arrondissement, was a talented artist who spent his time in hiding drawing his surroundings and forging ration tickets for bread (which the local baker recognized as forgeries but accepted anyway). A number of his drawings are on show, including a couple of his mother, who, unable to seek medical help, died of asthma in hiding in 1943.

Two other survivors, André Kahn and Charles Zelty, 16 and 19, are shown in an especially poignant photo sitting on a hotel bed in Paris after their return from Auschwitz, emaciated, half-dressed, with bandages on their legs, avidly eating from the same plate.

Even those who seemed to have survived unscathed, however, like the woman whose mother told her that as a little girl she hadn’t been affected by the war or even missed her absent father, recognize the invisible scars. “Were there any Jewish children who weren’t ‘marked’?” she asks.

Heidi Ellison

Hôtel de Ville de Paris: 29, rue de Rivoli, 75004 Paris. Métro: Hôtel de Ville. Tel. 01 42 76 51 53. Open Monday-Saturday, 10am-7pm. Admission: free. Through October 27. Web page.

Reader Andy Carpentier writes: "It was very moving to read your post and then go the expo's own site. What a tragedy! A courageous opening and testimony to such a painful experience for all. Having seen the movie Sarah's Key, I found this so very poignant."

Reader Perci Chester writes: "This exhibit 'C'Etaient des Enfants' is long overdue, and I really appreciate knowing about it. I have a friend who as an infant in Paris was given to a lady when her parents were deported and only her father survived. He was never quite the same."

Reader Richard Ewan writes: "There have been many discussions in our household about the French penchant to deny their racial prejudices and refuse to admit this ugly side of humanity. The more exhibits in France of this atrocious behavior by the French as well as Germans the better. It was the French who arrested these citizens for the deportations."

Reader Bruce Carolan writes: "The only thing missing from the exhibit is any English translation for the many non-Francophones in Paris in summer."

Reader Reaction: Click This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to respond to this article (your response may be published on this page and is subject to editing).

Please support Paris Update by ordering books from Paris Update’s Amazon store at no extra cost. Click on your preferred Amazon location: U.K., France, U.S.

More reviews of Paris art shows.

© 2012 Paris Update