…and yet more on old signage in France….

Further to my previous posts on ‘ghost signs’ on various walls in the Touraine, the BBC has just posted an interesting article on the subject:



My previous posts can be found at:

Posted in 20th Century, 21st Century, architecture | Tagged | Leave a comment

Angie Palmer….Barrou…..next Friday


Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Flooding in the Loire

CaptureFurther to the problems of flooding in Central France over the past few weeks. My previous blogs on flooding in the Loire Basin have had an unusual number of daily hits!

If you’ve been effected then you might want to visit:



Other websites of possible interest:


Posted in 21st Century, Loire River and Loire Basin | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Breaking news….opening up the Vichy regime archives

1621690_10153912292428267_695443947151839148_nToday, France is finally opening up police and ministerial archives from the Vichy regime which collaborated with Nazi occupation forces in World War Two. More than 200,000 declassified documents are being made public. They date from the 1940-1944 regime of Marshal Philippe Petain.

Amongst other issues, the documents should shed light on the deportation of some 76,000 Jews to Germany by officials of the regime (see image above) – and will be of interest to those in the Touraine region which straddled the Demarcation line.

Also visit: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35188755



Posted in Demarcation Line, Jewish history, Jewish persicution | 2 Comments

….a little more on Marcel Marceau

1621690_10153912292428267_695443947151839148_nThis portrait of Marcel Marceau, using oils on concrete, is by Francine Mayran. She painted it in order to “transmit his courage against the devil, and his humanity which stayed stronger than Nazi barbarism”. It is part of a series, “witnessing these lives – témoigner de ces vies ” where she attempts to transmit the humanity of victims by recalling that behind the numbers of victims of barbarism there were women, men and children all with their own identity and individuality.

Francine’s paintings will be exhibited for the Remembrance of the Holocaust and of other Genocides of the XXth century. The next stop for this exhibition will be in Duisbourg (Germany) and then in the Château des Rohan, Saverne (France) . You can see further examples of her work @ www.fmayran.com

Posted in Jewish history, Jewish persicution | Leave a comment

Marcel Marceau ~ une vie extraordinaire

Bip the Clown ~ 1974

Bip the Clown ~ 1974

Marcel Marceau’s extraordinary talent for pantomime entertained audiences around the world for over sixty years but did you know that it also saved hundreds of Jewish children during the Holocaust.

Born to a Jewish family in Strasbourg, France in 1923, young Marcel Mangel discovered Charlie Chaplin at age five and became an avid fan. He entertained his friends with Chaplin imitations, and dreamed of starring in silent movies.

When Marcel was 16, the Nazis marched into France, and the Jews of Strasbourg – near the German border – had to flee for their lives. Marcel changed his last name to Marceau to avoid being identified as Jewish, and joined the French resistance movement.

Masquerading as a boy scout, Marcel evacuated a Jewish orphanage in eastern France. He told the children he was taking them on a vacation in the Alps, and led them to safety in Switzerland. Marcel made the perilous journey three times, saving hundreds of Jewish orphans.

He was able to avoid detection by entertaining the children with silent pantomime.

Documentary filmmaker Phillipe Mora, whose father fought alongside Marcel in the French resistance, said, ”Marceau started miming to keep children quiet as they were escaping. It had nothing to do with show business. He was miming for his life.’’

Marcel’s father perished at Auschwitz. Marcel later said, “The people who came back from the camps were never able to talk about it. My name is Mangel. I am Jewish. Perhaps that, unconsciously, contributed towards my choice of silence.”

While fighting with the French resistance, Marcel ran into a unit of German soldiers. Thinking fast, he mimicked the advance of a large French force, and the German soldiers retreated.

Word spread throughout the Allied forces of Marcel’s remarkable talent as a mime. In his first major performance, Marcel entertained 3,000 US troops after the liberation of Paris in August 1944. Later in life, he expressed great pride that his first review was in the US Army newspaper, Stars and Stripes.

In 1947, Marcel created his beloved character Bip, a childlike everyman with a stovepipe hat and a red carnation. For the next six decades, Marcel was the world’s foremost master of the art of silence. He was made “Grand Officier de la Légion d’Honneur” (1998) and was awarded the National Order of Merit (1998) in France. He won an Emmy Award for his work on television, was elected member of the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin, was declared a “National treasure” in Japan, and Michael Jackson credited Marcel with inspiring his famous moonwalk.

In 2001, Marcel was awarded the Wallenberg Medal for his acts of courage during the Holocaust. When the award was announced, people speculated on whether Marcel would give an acceptance speech. He replied, “Never get a mime talking, because he won’t stop.”

Until his death at age 84, Marcel performed 300 times a year and taught 4 hours a day at his pantomime school in Paris. He died on Yom Kippur, 2007.

For risking his life to save orphans, and entertaining generations of fans without uttering a word, we honor Marcel Marceau.

(With thanks to Essia Cartoon-Fredman)
Posted in Arts, Jewish history, Jewish persicution, Off the wall historical stuff | Leave a comment

Liberation celebrations, Descartes, 1944

Here’s a fascinating photo of the liberation celebrations of Descartes in on a sunny autumn day in September 1944.

The population of Descartes at the time was about 1,500 and it seems that up to a half of them were in the town square to celebrate.

The resistance against Nazi occupation was well organised in the district as the Conte-Freslon and, among other actions, on 31st August 1944 the Forces Françaises  de l’Intérieur  (F.F.I.) blew up the town’s bridge, Pont Henri IV,  on the Vienne/Buxeuill side of the Creuse. Naturally, the local resistance fighters were represented in the Liberation celebrations and you can see that they are still operational and carrying their weapons.

Descartes_1944_LOC_fsa_8e02720 Americans and local resistance members children guns and child

See also my following posts:

Posted in Descartes/La Haye, Resistance in the Touraine Region, World War II | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment