Rare color photos of German-occupied Paris during World War II, 1940s

These images were taken in German-occupied Paris by André Zucca using rare Eggfacker film supplied by the Wehrmacht for the German propaganda magazine Signal.

Photographs showed fashionable young women and travelers mingling with German soldiers on the bustling streets of Paris. The famous streets of the French capital are lined with symbols of German rule, but Parisians appear delighted.

Andre Zucca was born in Paris in 1897 as the son of an Italian dressmaker. Zucca spent part of his youth in the United States before returning to France in 1915.

After the outbreak of World War I, he joined the French Army where he was wounded and decorated with the Croix de Guerre. After the war, he began his career as a photographer.

In 1941, he was contracted by the occupying Germans to work as a photographer and correspondent for Signal magazine, the propaganda organ of the German Wehrmacht.

His photography was used to support a positive image of the German occupation in France, as well as to encourage French men to volunteer for the Army of French Volunteers against Bolshevism, an Allied French militia serving on the Eastern Front. it was done.

It is disputed whether Zuchka's work for the Germans had any ideological sympathies with Nazism, and some have argued that he was a right-wing anarchist.

In addition to his contributions to the signal, he was one of the few photographers in occupied Europe with access to Agfackler film, a rare and expensive piece of color film at the time, due to its close ties with the Germans. He is best known today for his color photographs of daily life in Paris under German occupation.

After emancipation, he was put on trial by the French Provisional Government in October 1944 in the épération legale, where his journalistic privileges were permanently revoked.

The court ruled that no further legal action should be taken against Zukka, largely thanks to the credentials of a resistance member who spoke on his behalf.

With his journalism career in shambles, Zucca assumed the name André Piernicke and settled in the French commune of Drax, where he opened a small photo boutique photographing weddings and banquets. He died in 1973.

His photo collection was purchased by the Bibliothque Historique de la Ville de Paris in 1986, which mainly consisted of his photographs of Paris taken during World War II.

During the occupation, the French government moved to Vichy, and Paris was governed by the German army and French officers approved by the Germans.

For the Parisians, the occupation was a series of disappointments, shortcomings and humiliations. Curfew was in force from 9 pm to 5 am; The city was dark at night.

From September 1940 rationing of food, tobacco, coal and clothing was implemented. Every year the supply became less and the prices got higher.

One million Parisians left the city for the provinces, where there was more food and fewer Germans. There was only German propaganda in the French press and radio.

The attitude of the Parisians towards the occupiers was very different. Some saw the Germans as an easy source of wealth; Others, as Prefect of the Sean, Roger Langeron (arrested 23 June 1940), remarked, "looked at them as if they were invisible or transparent."

The attitude of the members of the French Communist Party was more complex; The party had long condemned Nazism and Fascism, but after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact on 23 August 1939, the direction was reversed.

Finding food soon became one of Parisians' first pursuits. The German occupation authorities turned French industry and agriculture into a single machine to serve Germany.

Shipment to Germany was the first priority; What was left went to Paris and the rest of France. All trucks manufactured at the Citroen factory went directly to Germany. The largest share of shipments of meat, wheat, milk products and other agricultural products also went to Germany.

The rationing system also applied to clothing: leather was reserved exclusively for the shoes of the German army, and disappeared from the market altogether. Leather shoes were replaced by shoes made of rubber or canvas (raffia) with wooden soles.

A variety of ersatz or substitute products appeared, which were not exactly what they were called: ersatz wine, coffee (made from chicory), tobacco, and soap.

Finding coal for heat in winter was another hectic activity. The Germans had transferred power over the coal mines of northern France from Paris to their military headquarters in Brussels.

The preference for coal that arrived in Paris was for use in factories. Even with ration cards, it was almost impossible to get enough coal for heating. Supply for normal heating needs was not restored until 1949.

Parisian restaurants were open but faced strict regulations and loopholes. Meat could only be served on certain days, and some products, such as cream, coffee, and fresh produce were extremely rare. Nonetheless, restaurants found ways to serve their regular customers.

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