Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have your city liberated from enemy occupation? Anyone living in Paris in 1944 would have had that experience. Some were obviously overjoyed. Others were branded as collaborators.
Despite Hitler’s orders that the French capital “must not fall into the enemy’s hand except lying in complete debris.” General von Choltitz, the commander of the German garrison and military governor of Paris, surrendered on August 25 at the Hotel Meurice, the Free French headquarters. Thanks to him, Paris avoided the almost total destruction of Berlin. He wrote his memoir Brennt Paris? (“Is Paris Burning?”), first published in 1950 and later made into a film, where he calls himself savior of Paris. The cut-out dolls below commemorating the liberation neglect to give Herr General the credit he sought to have bestowed upon him.
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About Steven Heller
Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →