Wednesday, April 10, 2013

La ligne de démarcation

After Nazi Germany invaded France in 1940, in the early days of the Second World War, the occupiers divided the country into two zones: Occupied France and Free France. The line separating the two curved in a great arc from the Pyrenees in the south to France's border with Switzerland in the east. The Line of Demarcation followed the Cher River for part of its course.

A plaque on the Saint-Aignan bridge memorializes the demarcation line.

Saint-Aignan was on the free side of the line with Occupied France just across the river. It's hard to imagine what life must have been like here at that time. Ken and I just watched an interesting documentary on television about the line, including interviews with people who lived along it then and their memories of helping to secretly move people across to Free France.

The line was dissolved in 1943 after the Nazis moved across the line to effectively occupy the whole of France.

10 comments:

  1. Wow, I love these historical tidbits.

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  2. Is there an internet link for the documentary?

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  3. i have read several books/memoirs about the subject, which I find fascinating

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  4. Philippe Grimbert's autobiographical book, "Un Secret" tells the story of his Jewish family escaping Paris and being harbored in the rural town of Saint-Gaultier (50 miles south of Saint-Aignan). It was made into a movie in 2007 with Patrick Bruel and Julie Depardieu. Both the book and film are excellent.

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  5. I'll look for the movie, "Un Secret". Today is Holocaust remembrance day in Israel. I'm going to our annual Holocaust lecture tomorrow night.

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  6. Fascinating! I've always been interested in World War II history, especially the European theater. I hope someday to visit these landmarks. Thanks for sharing. :)
    Retired in Delaware

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  7. Thank you for letting us know about "the secret" Dean! More stories could be written about the occupation (some wonderful, some shameful but
    all lessons to learn).
    (Walt, I really like "des racines et des ailes" and "Thalassa". I unfortunately cannot watch them here. I miss all the good french programs).

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  8. The problem is that people never seem to learn from these things!

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  9. I too love history bits - France is loaded with history!

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