Wartime Sites in Paris

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Gregory Melikian, 95, now a hotel owner in Phoenix, was a high-speed radio operator working at Gen. Dwight D.


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Eisenhower's headquarters in nearby Versailles when Paris fell. The fight for the French capital was faster and easier for the Allies than their longer-than-expected battle through Normandy and its gun-filled hedgerows.

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More than 1, Parisians and 3, German troops were killed. In May , Melikian was in the Reims high school where the Germans surrendered.

He was the youngest radio operator available, and Eisenhower wanted him to send out the encrypted news of the momentous occasion so that he could talk about it the rest of his life. Harold Angle, 96, who served with the 28th Infantry Division, is shown during an interview Friday, Aug.

He landed in Normandy in , and moved quickly into eastern France, where his division fought through a brutal winter. For more newsletters click here. Fear of missing out? Thanks for signing up. Donald Cobb, 95, who was in the U.

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WW2: Eiffel Tower’s lift cables were cut so that Hitler would have to climb the steps to the top

Navy, shows his medals during an interview Friday, Aug. In this Aug. The French Resistance staged an uprising against the Nazis, leading attacks against German soldiers and vehicles and building barricades in the streets of the French capital. The towers of Notre Dame cathedral are in the background at right.

Neiberg on Lehrer, 'Wartime Sites in Paris: 1939-1945'

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Some Jewish collectors managed to get their art out in time, but due to a new law, anyone who left France just before the war was stripped of their French nationality, and their possessions could be seized. Confiscated art ended up in the Jeu de Paume, a former tennis court on the Place de la Concorde that was used for temporary exhibits of the Louvre.

It became something of an art supermarket where top ranking Nazi officials could help themselves to precious masterpieces. Luckily, the trafficking of this stolen art was secretly recorded by a Jeu de Paume curator, Rose Valland, whose assiduous work, along with those of the famous Monuments Men, helped bring 60, works back to France. Be that as it may, fewer than half of the missing works returned to their rightful owners.

During the Occupation, the Prefecture de Police had a special squad which collaborated with the Germans by tracking Jews, communists, and members of the Resistance. But with the news of the continued Allied victories in Normandy in , Parisians made it a target of a newly emboldened rebellion. This social movement was joined by other workers in the following days. Despite being poorly equipped, they managed to gain control of the Prefecture de Police that same day, assisted by members of the French police themselves.

After his surrender on August 25 at Le Meurice, General von Choltitz was taken to the Prefecture to sign the official surrender of Paris.

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It was therefore fitting that, upon the Liberation of Paris, General de Gaulle requisitioned it as the main repatriation center for displaced people, returnees from concentration camps, and prisoners of war. De Gaulle was personally fond of the hotel, having stayed there many times, including just before he escaped to London. In addition to the plaques, monuments, and damage found around the city, several significant memorials and museums have been established to pay homage and keep the memory of the horrific events of WWII alive.

Located in the Marais, the Memorial of the Shoah pictured; 17 Rue Geoffroy l'Asnier comprises a museum on the Holocaust, the Memorial of the Unknown Jewish Martyr, and walls listing deported people and those who risked their own lives to save Jews. By Lily Heise June 6th marks the anniversary of D-Day—in , the 75th one—but this epic military victory was just the beginning of the liberation of France.

WW2: Eiffel Tower's lift cables were cut so that Hitler would have to climb the steps to the top

It would take two and a half more months, until August 24, , before Paris would be freed from its four years of Nazi Occupation. The memory of these four dark years of suppression, deportations, and plundering, as well as the scars of the battle to liberate the capital, can be observed at various sites, both famous and lesser known, around the city.


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