Recommended Books ABout Nazi-Occupied Paris
July 6, 2013 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Greetings MetaFilters. I am doing some research into Nazi-occupied Paris during WW II. Specifically, I am interested in the Nazi's confiscation of degenerate art and other treasures in Paris and the German Leadership that oversaw it; the underground movement; the role of the Catholic Church; fashion and the arts during this period; and the role of the civilians. Can you provide some good books on the era, either fiction, or non-fiction. Thank you.
posted by DudeAsInCool to Education (12 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
The Best book I have read this year is - Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris

It's more of a crime story with the police trying to solve a grisly murder in Paris. I delves into many of the topics you speak of.
posted by Che boludo! at 9:59 AM on July 6, 2013 [4 favorites]

Alan Furst's books are about the occupation, not so much art confiscation.
WSJ list.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:03 AM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky will give you a good picture of civilian response. Especially around evacuation of Paris.
posted by brookeb at 10:03 AM on July 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yes, I recommend all of Nemirovsky's books.
posted by janey47 at 10:06 AM on July 6, 2013

La Douler, by Marguerite Duras, is a fictionalized account of her experiences in the French Resistance during the war.
posted by Tsuga at 11:15 AM on July 6, 2013

"Degenerate Art": The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany (digital version here) is an exhibition catalogue focused on the confiscation of art and the ensuing exhibitions that took place in Germany in the late '30s, so it won't give you any direct info on occupied Paris; however, the bibliography contains a fairly sizeable section on culture under the Third Reich, which may point you to some sources that do cover your topics.
posted by scody at 11:50 AM on July 6, 2013

Best answer: Memail me if you're still looking by Monday. I'm a librarian at the Holocaust Museum and could probably whip up a bibliography for you.
posted by arco at 1:04 PM on July 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'd highly recommend And the Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris for an overview of arts and culture during that period.
posted by Awkward Philip at 2:31 PM on July 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

One of my favourite books about the Second World War is entitled Is Paris Burning by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. It reads more like a novel than a non-fiction book, and outlines how Paris was saved in spite of Hitler's orders to have it burned to the ground.
posted by Fastest Pokemon at 3:39 PM on July 6, 2013

The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War won a National Book Critics Circle award:

The cast of characters includes Hitler and Goering, Gertrude Stein and Marc Chagall--not to mention works by artists from Leonardo da Vinci to Pablo Picasso. And the story told in this superbly researched and suspenseful book is that of the Third Reich's war on European culture and the Allies' desperate effort to preserve it.

From the Nazi purges of "Degenerate Art" and Goering's shopping sprees in occupied Paris to the perilous journey of the Mona Lisa from Paris and the painstaking reclamation of the priceless treasures of liberated Italy, The Rape of Europa is a sweeping narrative of greed, philistinism, and heroism that combines superlative scholarship with a compelling drama.

The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspiracy To Steal The World's Greatest Works Of Art:

Between 1939 and 1944, as the Nazis overran Europe, they were also quietly conducting another type of pillage. The Lost Museum tells the story of the Jewish art collectors and gallery owners in France who were stripped of rare works by artists such as Vermeer, Rembrandt, Degas, C├ęzanne, and Picasso. Before they were through, the Nazis had taken more than 20,000 paintings, sculptures, and drawings from France...
posted by mediareport at 4:21 PM on July 6, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I've already begun ordering the books.
posted by DudeAsInCool at 8:35 PM on July 6, 2013

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