This year, the 60th since the liberation of Auschwitz and the discovery of the extent of Nazi atrocities, has been an active year in France for Holocaust commemorations. Memorials and services held to mark each significant anniversary have been particularly earnest, even as some question whether the culture is reaching a Holocaust “saturation point.”
Paris museums are participating in this “travail de memoire,” or “work of remembering,” through exhibits this spring summer that highlight the Jewish community in France and recall the oppression practiced against Jews long before the Holocaust.
An exhibit on the Jews of the Marais neighborhood, called “From Refuge to Trap,” opened recently at Paris’ City Hall.
Through photographs and documents, the exhibit illuminates the history of the Jews of the Marais, vividly recalling important moments in Parisian Jewish history from the 13th century to the present day.
At the Musee Jean Moulin, an exhibit opened at the end of April called “The Forgotten Women of Buchenwald,” which is the first exhibit dedicated to the 30,000 women — Jews, Gypsies, Catholics, Communists and other political enemies of Nazism — who were deported to Buchenwald after June 1944.
The exhibit includes oral testimonies of several Frenchwomen who survived Buchenwald, as well as photographs and an assortment of objects the women assembled clandestinely.
Finally, an exhibit entitled “The Deported Artists of Montparnasse” opened recently at the Musee de Montparnasse, which pays homage to the numerous artists deported from the neighborhood between 1941 and 1945.
In the first half of the 20th century, Montparnasse’s legendary artistic scene attracted artists from around the world to frequent its cafes, work in its studios and sketch its models. Among the artists who flocked there were many Jews, such as Modigliani, Chagall and Chaim Soutine.
Over 150 works and documents will be featured, most by Jewish artists who came to Paris from Russia, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Czechoslovakia and Greece, including Soutine, Jean Moulin, Robert Desnos, Violette Rougier Le Cocq, Hans Bellmer, Otto Wols and Max Ernst.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.