Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Unfree French - post IV

If there is one theme that summaries what it must have been like for the French under German occupation it is ‘confusing’. That might sound flippant but it is not meant to be because some of the consequences of that confusion could be deadly with lives lost or saved as a result.

The confusion, that stemmed from the top, also allowed those wished to a chance to exploit the situation. So there were collaborators that slipped through the net, neighbours that settled old scores and Generals who used their Machiavellian abilities to return not just as conquering heroes but also heads of state.

What is clear is that for the vast majority of people there were problems. If you were Jewish you were in trouble; a soldier then you wasted years as a prisoner of war; if you were a young man then you got sent to work in Germany; and finally if you were a woman you risked being denounced and having your hair shaved for showing affection to personnel from the occupying forces.

The other word that might be used is complicated with no one quite sure who was good or bad in some cases after the liberation with French communists finding the Russians not quite what they expected and returning prisoners finding a country that had in some cases forgotten them.

An interesting read and a very interesting choice to be sold in the shop on a cost channel ferry to France.

A review will be posted soon...

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