Nazi Propaganda in Misleading Paris Occupation Photos


Via my Internet subscription to the french newspaper “Le Figaro” I found an article named “Cette exposition est tout à fait légitime”. Seeking an English written article on the same subject I found one on “FRANCE24″ named “German occupation photo exhibit causes scandal” . The opening lines describes in a few words what it’s all about “A controversial new photography exhibit entitled, ‘Parisians Under Occupation’ shows scenes of daily life that contrast sharply with the reality of the German occupation from 1940 to 1945″. (Photography exhibition, “Parisians Under Occupation” at the City Hall Library in Paris features 250 color photographs by French photographer André Zucca taken for the Nazi propaganda daily).
Paris 1940-45
  Looking at the exhibition’s video clips reminded me of the same years in Brussels, where as a kid, I was living and hiding from the Nazis, with my family.The architectural resemblance between Paris and Brussels are striking; the same houses, streets., the same fashion, the false Idyllic look of a good living world. And all this, only a propaganda veil hiding the atrocities of the Nazi regime all over Europe.
What ignite the fire of scandal was , I quote, that… “These unedited images, taken by a 24/36 Leica, were taken between 1942 to 1945, the height of the German occupation. The absence of any explanation about the propaganda element in the exhibit is striking…
  ..Most of the photos contrast sharply with the history books recalling the Vel d’hiver roundup and deportation in July 1942. Where are the snaking lines outside food stores? Where are the witnesses of the occupation? Rare are the photos where a yellow star sewn on coat lapels is seen on passers-by. This unexpected take on “German France” does not leave one indifferent.”…see here.
Here are more photos:
I extracted the photos from  France 24″ here and from ”Le Figaro” here.
Meanwhile the scandal continue,  I quote,..”WIthout questioning their beauty, the photos are disturbing. Even worse, the very title of the exhibit is rather shocking, due to its inaccuracy. Christophe Girard, the Parisian deputy mayor in charge of culture, is quite clear.”… “We should stop this exhibit!” …”Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë says the incident was “badly managed”, and is trying to put things right. He preferred not to ban the exhibit to avoid accusations of censorship, but removed the posters advertising the show. Organisers are also planning a debate titled “Is the camera an objective witness?” in a last-minute attempt to correct their early mistakes”..see more.
 Well, I was a witness of those past days. What I remember are photos like these  from the “..’round-up’ or ‘raid’ of the Velodrome d’Hiver’,(see here), mirroring similar photos of Nazis raids in Brussels.

I published this story on NowPublic and add here the comments by  NowPublic editors and contributing members.




good stuff:For me, the only way to take those exhibited images beyond revisionism/propaganda would be to show them alongside documentary counterparts: the image and the reality… sort of like what you did in the story above!

jordan thanks for the comment and the GS.

The curators of the exhibition trayed to minimize their mistakes, “..A large excerpt from the preface to the exhibition catalogue (Ed Gallimard / Paris Library), prepared by Jean-Pierre Azema, a specialist historian of this period is included in the exhibition since its opening and also recalls the historical context in which these photographs were taken, for more see here ..

…A weak palliative for bad conscience.

good stuff:korzac, I like this story. It’s good stuff. Excellent story and coverage Korzac

Barry Artiste, thanks for the comment and the GS.

good stuff:One must always guard against revisionist history. 

Karen Hatter, the exhibition is a form of visual deceit under the decent patronage of ‘culture’. But the french living witnesses of those years denounced the fraud..

Thanks for the comment and the GS.

I think all governments contribute propeganda to their citizens.

History reveals many things, sometimes it takes a while to come out. Many Germans, I believe, had no idea what was happening far away.

Of course they would prfer to be thinking of good things happening from their nations actions, just as we all are wishing to belive good things are happening from current conflict zones.

Matte, about your..”Many Germans, I believe, had no idea what was happening far away”..

Look at this ..”In a seminal study published thirty-five years ago, The Destruction of the European Jews, Raul Hilberg observed that the perpetrators of the Nazi holocaust were “not different in their moral makeup from the rest of the population…. [T]he machinery of destruction was a remarkable cross-section of the German population.”..see here.

Or look at this ..”To think that the Germans were unaware of the genocide is ignorant and absurd. The Germans saw as well as the Jews did what was going on. Why do you think so many Jews fled the country? They knew that death awaited them in the hands of the Nazis. The Germans saw the Jews being humiliated, corralled through the city, loaded up in trains and sent off to die horrible deaths in the concentration camps.’.. see here.

And look at the link with the title ..’The Genocide Generals: secret recordings explode the myth they knew nothing about the Holocaust“…see here.

I think Matte perhaps is stating that German civilians and soldiers far away from the conflict of the cities, perhaps the countryside and soldiers stationed outside of Germany may not have known about the concentration camps. Though I am sure rumours circulated, and perhaps even the rumours were infathomable to believe that humans could do that to humans.

Propeganda means different things to different people, and people belive what they want to believe. A study after a war cannot accuratly deduce what was going on inside people’s heads at the time. Yes people were being taken away – but at the time I belive NO ONE knew to where or for what fate.

People belive until they know otherwise, as has happened with the Iraq situation – people are fed propeganda and lies, until the truth is finally revealed. There is no blame for this on the part of the population, they just belive what they are told.

Just as in the Seconf World War the Japanese being portrayed as devils….but they were only following their leaders and fighting their war the way they were told, as is the US military, the Chinese military etc.

Matte about your “Yes people were being taken away – but at the time I believe NO ONE knew to where or for what fate.” What I most liked in this sentence is the irrevocable absoluteness of “..NO One knew..”

 Well, by ‘my what I where told by myself’  I know that SOME know what where the fate of the people taken away…

For example, the Belgian Benedictine priest, Reverend Henry Reynders  who saved my life and the life of  many other children from deportation, he and the whole Belgian rescues organisations knew perfectly well what would be our fate..see here  So,It would be very comforting that you indulge yourself in upgrading your knowledge from ‘No One knew’ to Some knew. The remaining question  will then be: how many is some.. 



Seattle’s Power Lines Paranoia


Since 9/11 taking pictures is a dangerous act. If you take a picture of your girlfriend and in the background there is some electrical infrastructure you are under suspicion of planning a terrorist attack. See what  UW Art professor  Shirley E. Scheier didn’t know.

Professor detained for taking pictures sues. Snohomish police handcuffed her, searched car...”Artist Shirley Scheier drove to Snohomish to make the kind of picture you couldn’t get in a city — power lines against an unobstructed sky”…“She wound up being patted down, handcuffed and put into the back of a police car on that day two years ago, in a detention that lasted 44 minutes.”..

The electrical substation she photographed had been identified by the Department of Homeland Security as a “critical infrastructure” target.”…”A camera is not dangerous,” said Scheier, 54, a printmaker who has exhibited at the Seattle and Portland art museums and in galleries across the country. “I was terribly frightened about how I was going to be treated, because everything seemed so completely out of proportion with my activity,” she said.

…”She had been shooting photographs in Snohomish that she planned to incorporate into her etchings. “They have those beautiful high-voltage power lines and support structures that look really figurative, as if they’re marching across the landscape,” she said.””..

She took 17 pictures from publicly accessible spots outside the security fence, including city streets, the suit says. There were no signs warning against taking photos, Scheier said.

..”They asked her to exit the car, searched and handcuffed her, put her in a patrol car and started asking strange questions, such as whether she had children, Scheier said.The Snohomish officers said she would be contacted by Homeland Security, which never happened, Scheier said.”..see here.

For illustration, the following pictures is a good example of an electrical infrastructure,


To get a visual ‘idea’ of artist Shirley Scheier’s artwork see the picture,


For more pictures look here.

In Bangkok, Thomas Kalak ‘s taking urban pictures of electrical wires is an act of Art published by “Polar Inertia“, (and until now he has not been arrested).


See more pictures here.

I couldn’t resist the temptation to transform the above picture in the spirit of Lebbeus Wood.


For the legal side of this storie look at this article:

Misinformation about your photography rights continues to spread. …”The most notable was the story of Neftaly Cruz, a senior at Penn State who on July 19 was not only harassed but taken into custody by Philadelphia police for obstructing an investigation. How did he do this? By taking pictures of the cops while standing on a public street.”…..”‘Last week I received a note from a reader: “Today I was stopped by a security guard with the North County Transit District in Solana Beach, California, and prevented from taking photos of a great new train station they have,” he wrote. “The guard said they don’t allow it since 9/11.” ”  more here.


UPDATE. A casual list of photographers,  police and arrests.

This Was Today? (100)
View Maarten Dors’ mapTaken in (See more photos here)23.09.2007
Today should be a happy day, number 100 in my 365 days set. But it all turned out so different. Flickr decided out of the blue that smoking children can’t be photographed. Of course Flickr can show hardcore porn, violence and poverty …. but smoking, ofcourse not!  see here.
Chicago Police Arrest Photographer at Community Unity Rally Against Police Brutality and Misconduct
On August 6th 2007, 18-year-old Aaron Harrison was enjoying a summer night hanging out in front of the corner store at Roosevelt and Francisco on the West Side of Chicago when the police rolled up. A few minutes later, Aaron was dead, fatally shot in the back by the Chicago police, who claimed he pointed a gun at them. Witnesses insisted that Aaron didn’t have a gun, and multiple witnesses reported seeing police take a bag out of the trunk of a police car and plant a gun near Aaron’s body. Read more about the killing here and here and here. Community outrage over his killing, and that of several other police killings in recent weeks by the Chicago police, reached a boiling point. Many people from the community took to the streets, held rallies, and a group of about 100 people led by Fred Hampton Jr., son of the Black Panther leader murdered by the Chicago police (with assistance from the F.B.I.) in 1969, shut down a Police Board meeting on August 16th. A community unity rally and picnic against police brutality and misconduct took place in Douglas Park today (September 3rd 2007, see here.

Police Seize Cameras, Arrest Photographers and Solicit Information on Other Media at Anti-War Protest
Fairport, NY – Police arrested three anti-war demonstrators for allegedly trespassing at the privately-owned district office of Congressman Randy Kuhl (R – NY), apparently on the orders of Welker Property Management, the landlords. Two of the three arrested were carrying signs related to “9/11 Truth,” including Wendy Painting, one of those arrested, who is a member of “Rochester 9/11 Truth” and an Indymedia reporter.
Painting says all of those arrested were press members. She says that police confiscated her camera and later used its conditional return as incentive to provide information about other cameramen at the event.”I was told that if I identified the other people taking pictures, I would be allowed to keep my camera.”, see here.

False arrest claims photographer plans to sue police, see here.

Sheriffs unconstitutionally arrest KGO anchor/photographer
by KTVU/KGO Thursday Jul 12th, 2007 8:45 AM ,  see video of arrest

“Photography is not a crime; It’s a First Amendment right”
A blog on photographers and police arrests, see here.

City Proposes Limits on Public Photography, Filming (NY city)
The Mayor’s Office of Theater, Film, and Broadcasting, which coordinates film and television production and issues permits around the five boroughs, is considering rules that could potentially severely restrict the ability of even amateur photographers and filmmakers to operate in New York City, see here.

Artists Call on NYers to Send Mayor A Vision of His Crazy New Restrictions on Street Photography
A new group of artists and photographers, Picture New York, has formed to oppose these new insane photography rules created by Bloomberg’s office that would basically criminalize using a cameras and video equipment – of course at the NYPD’s discretion. And they want YOU to send the mayor your images and videos of how insane these rules are! There is also an online petition. You can already see some videos on the site. The rest of this is a press release from the group, it says it all as well as I could. Oh, except one part – where is Chrissy Quinn, The People’s Heroine(TM)? -Will, see here.