Friday, June 06, 2008


I've been obsessed with World War 2 since I was little and when I think of France not only being occupied by the Germans, but also collaborating actively with their loathsome policies, my heart shrinks; that's pretty much the only time I feel very French deep down. So naturally June 6 is always a special day for me. That is when the allies landed on the beaches of Normandy and started liberating Europe from the German grip, bringing with them jazz, gum and my dear liberté.
Update: a reader posted Paul Eluard's poem "Liberté" in the Comments! Enjoy this masterpiece...

If you want to read about France during the war, one of the best novels ever is Irène Nimerovsky's splendid Suite Française, which I have already recommended on this blog. Another unforgettable read is Carmen Callil's Bad Faith, about Darquier, a French official who shamelessly championed the Nazi agenda in France. Feel free to share other recommendations!

Can anyone guess what product the poster above promotes?


design for mankind. said...

That would make an excellent reproduction! :)

rohit said...

Love the pictures you have posted. you HAVE DONE AMAZING WORK them?They are fabulous!these are gorgeous illustrations!Very nice,Lovely pictures.

Anonymous said...

oh i am almost afraid to guess....
oh and i saw this great documentary about recently about vichy and WW2 (when i remeber the title, i'll get back to you on it).

karina said...

Je tiens à chanter la Marseillaise quand je vois un film de guerre II.

Jill said...

I read Suite Francaise last was a great read, especially since she was writing it as the war was going on around her. Irene's own story is so tragic and chilling. Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris is another interesting novel about France during WWII.

Rina said...

Tema super interesante! Con respecto a lo que me preguntabas en mi blog,tuve la suerte de ir a una muestra importante que se hizo de Victoria en Buenos Aires, y de conocer su casa en Mar del Plata. Silvina es su hermana que estaba casada a su vez con Bioy Casares. Victoria fue la principal y cabeza de la revista Sur, que publicaba a gente importante e interesante para esa e´poca, como por ejemplo a Rabindranth Tagore, que además lo hospedó e invitó a su casa. El libro que te puedo recomendar es una biografía, se llama "Victoria Ocampo, El mundo como destino", de María Esther Vázquez, porque cuenta todo, no sólo ella en su trabajo sino su personalidad, sus errores y sus amores. Se que una vez que conozcas a Victoria te va a fascinar, una mujer de carácter, con mucha personalidad, inteligente y marcó los primeros cambios de la liberación de la mujer argentina. Una genia.

the traveler's soul said...

Some of us have seen
countries torn by war
Some of us have seen
enslaved people
fighting for freedom.

I remember
as I was a teen
the 1973 Athens uprising
against the Greek military junta,
that ended in bloodshed
in the early morning
of November 17.
I do remember a tank crashing
through University gates.

or was it in Asia?
or was it in Africa?
or was it in South America?

A WW2 poem is enshrined
in our child's eyes
like a love song:


Sur mes cahiers d'écolier
Sur mon pupitre et les arbres
Sur le sable de neige
J'écris ton nom

Sur les pages lues
Sur toutes les pages blanches
Pierre sang papier ou cendre
J'écris ton nom

Sur les images dorées
Sur les armes des guerriers
Sur la couronne des rois
J'écris ton nom

Sur la jungle et le désert
Sur les nids sur les genêts
Sur l'écho de mon enfance
J'écris ton nom

Sur tous mes chiffons d'azur
Sur l'étang soleil moisi
Sur le lac lune vivante
J'écris ton nom

Sur les champs sur l'horizon
Sur les ailes des oiseaux
Et sur le moulin des ombres
J'écris ton nom

Sur chaque bouffées d'aurore
Sur la mer sur les bateaux
Sur la montagne démente
J'écris ton nom

Sur la mousse des nuages
Sur les sueurs de l'orage
Sur la pluie épaisse et fade
J'écris ton nom

Sur les formes scintillantes
Sur les cloches des couleurs
Sur la vérité physique
J'écris ton nom

Sur les sentiers éveillés
Sur les routes déployées
Sur les places qui débordent
J'écris ton nom

Sur la lampe qui s'allume
Sur la lampe qui s'éteint
Sur mes raisons réunies
J'écris ton nom

Sur le fruit coupé en deux
Du miroir et de ma chambre
Sur mon lit coquille vide
J'écris ton nom

Sur mon chien gourmand et tendre
Sur ses oreilles dressées
Sur sa patte maladroite
J'écris ton nom

Sur le tremplin de ma porte
Sur les objets familiers
Sur le flot du feu béni
J'écris ton nom

Sur toute chair accordée
Sur le front de mes amis
Sur chaque main qui se tend
J'écris ton nom

Sur la vitre des surprises
Sur les lèvres attendries
Bien au-dessus du silence
J'écris ton nom

Sur mes refuges détruits
Sur mes phares écroulés
Sur les murs de mon ennui
J'écris ton nom

Sur l'absence sans désir
Sur la solitude nue
Sur les marches de la mort
J'écris ton nom

Sur la santé revenue
Sur le risque disparu
Sur l'espoir sans souvenir
J'écris ton nom

Et par le pouvoir d'un mot
Je recommence ma vie
Je suis né pour te connaître
Pour te nommer

Paul Eluard
in Poésies et vérités, 1942

tangobaby said...

Oh dear Aurea,

You are so lovely. I too feel very connected to WWII. My birthday is on Veteran's Day (formerly Armistice Day) so I always have a soft spot in my heart for veterans, but also because my grandfather was part of the invasion that landed in Normandy at Omaha Beach. In my mind, he is a true hero.

He did not like to talk about his war experience because I think he saw many terrible things, but I do know for a fact that he had some time for romance with a girl from Paris.

I have not yet read Suite Francaise, but will put it on my list of books to read.


Kira Fashion said...

It´s really awfull to know how bad a man can be...when i look back, i have hopes that the future can be different...better than people were...all wars must end...that´s my wish...

a kiss,
very important post :)

Fashion Ivy said...

Hey Mary-Laure. Are you interested in fashion design? If so then check my blog for deatils on a great contest coming up


do you feel free ?

it's friday night, i am happy,
i just wanted to share it and wish to blogs i like and the new blog i find nice a great week end

cheers from Paris

street style romancer in Paris


Octavine Illustration said...

liberty is the most important thing to me. i cannot fathom life without it. yet i know so many others do not share my privilege and many before suffered for mine. for liberty i am most grateful. a most beautiful post to remind me.

enc said...

I've been looking for something new to read, and I think I'll try "Suite Française."

Laura said...

THank you for reminding us about June 6.

mansuetude said...

I think the poster
is an ad for Pillates classes

liberty from a girdle.
What mood must i be in.

Paul Celan--


one more word
like flower
and the axe
will swing over open ground.

He could broke; could barely use his native language after witnessing.

Against Forgetting: Carolyn Forsche's collection. It can be such a heavy place in there; memory of this.

Mary-Laure said...

NANCY - I'd love you to tell me the name of the documentary when you remember it...

KARINA - no sabia que hablabas frances tan bien! Te felicito!!!

RINA - gracias para las informaciones, voy a averiguar el libro que me recomendaste.

TANGOBABY - oh, I'd love to hear more about your grandfather. He is a true hero. I will be forever grateful to him, and so are all French people. I wish he had written about his experience... What a beautiful, if devastating thing he did. I thank him in my heart.

OCTAVINE - Liberty is the most important thing for me too. I've lived in countries where the people didn't have any, so I know how precious it really is.

MANSUETUDE - thanks for the book recommendation, I'll definitely look it up!
And no, it's not an ad for Pilates!

karina said...

Google traductor to honor the day.
but Learn french is a thing I want to do.

chloe van paris said...

Super difficile ?
An advertising for a car ? a bank ?

Taocito said...

Bring back the royal pooch!!!

Mary-Laure said...

CHLOE - mais non, ce fond rouge avec des lettres blanches... c'est une pub pour The Economist bien sur!

d i a n a m u s e said...

Thank you for this.

Hila said...

I can't tell you how much I love this post, because I feel as strongly as you do about this subject. I've spent years studying this war in all it's complexities and am still trying to understand it.

You have a great blog - it looks like we have a lot in common (not least of which is our love of Yves Saint Laurent, Audrey Hepburn and Sylvia Plath!).