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Europe’s Summer of Memories

  • September 3rd, 2014
  • Posted by EU Australia

belgium-open-fields-reduced2 Anzacs Western FrontThis not very golden Summer – occasionally cold, with rain belts across Northern Europe at least—was a season of memory, of wars past.

The anniversary of the D Day landings in Normandy, 6.6.44, and the associated battles, has seen several commemorations over the decades, though with each milestone it becomes more significant as the number of eyewitnesses diminishes.

Going back further, the forbidding days of late Summer 1914 had to be recalled, leading up to the fateful day, 28.7.14, the commencement of a series of declarations of hostilities that started the First World War.


It is still within living memory; if old soldiers can no longer be found, there remain many of their widows and children who grew up without their fathers, now themselves grown old.

The world disaster of 1914 had to be recalled, as a warning, amid the rumblings and posturings going on, once again, in South-eastern Europe, that regional zone where it began.


As for D Day a quarter of a century later, in Paris on the anniversary, August 2014, the Prefecture of Police was making much out of the 1944 strike in which police barricaded themselves inside the complex on the Ile de la Cite, and fought it out with the remaining boches, alongside the Resistance and the Free French army moving up from Normandy.

Amid the anxiety surrounding that combat in the streets, the psychological lift given to an oppressed population, to see it happening, can be imagined – a  time to remember keenly.


Prefecture 3 2014  Prefecture  4 2014 2014 EU PICS COPS 6-44Hence, a poster display this year around the Prefecture building (pictures), re-telling the great tale.

It does need to be noted that the police action in 1944 had a self-redemptive  element in it.

Maybe it was about time.

The police had responded to information they were going to be disarmed and interned by the Germans; while the allies, having landed, were already on their way.


All of their actions were too little and too late for Jewish families in the city, who had found themselves rounded up by their own police, handed over to the Germans, and sent off to be murdered.

2014 EU MUSEEVisitors to Paris looking at the patriotic display at the Prefecture might also have taken in sites like the formidable museum, the Hotel de Camondo in rue de Monceau, Paris 8 (picture) – and have noted its story.


It was the home of Count Moise de Camondo, from a renowned Jewish banking family, built in the early 1900s in the style of a baroque mansion to house his collection of treasures – furniture, furnishings and paintings from the 18th Century.

He died in 1936, bequeathing the home and contents to a trust.

His only son Nissim, for whom the museum is named, had been killed fighting for France as a World War I pilot.

2014 EU SHOA GROUPHis only daughter, and her two children, by then in their early twenties, were caught in the deportations and killed in 1943.

See picture: shocked bystanders loiter in front of a memorial to five French children, two to four years old, who were deported. Normally the children are remembered in memorial plaques outside of the schools they went to, but these were too little to have been able to go to school yet.


Le Monde, L’ete 44, le grand recit de la liberation (Summer 1944, the great story of the liberation), 12.8.14.