Fashion and Fascism

The English Rock Band, The Kinks once sang “He is a dedicated follower of Fashion” I can assure you , I am not that. However there are so many people who work in the fashion industry, be it as designers, manufactures or models, who often don’t know the history of the brands they represent. On the other hand there are people who buy a fashion item, regardless what price tag is on it, just because of the brand name not realizing how that particular brand got where it is now. If people really knew, or cared, they would pay a lot less for these fashionable items. Often the brand was boosted on the backs and lives of others.

There have been several Fashion house who were in bed with the Nazi regime, all over Europe, but especially in France. I will only focus on a few.

The picture on top is of Renee Puissant, daughter of Jewish parents Alfred van Cleef and Esther Arpels, made her way to the Nazi-backed Vichy regime in the south of France to operate the Van Cleef & Arpels boutique there, only to commit suicide by throwing herself out of a third-floor window when she understood the law requiring all Jews to wear a yellow star would apply to her, too. Her suicide was beneficial to the Louis Vuitton fashion house. The sad thing is that there is hardly any mention of her suicide.

During World War II, Louis Vuitton collaborated with the Nazis during the German occupation of France. The French book Louis Vuitton, A French Saga, authored by French journalist Stephanie Bonvicini and published by Paris-based Editions Fayard[15] tells how members of the Vuitton family actively aided the Vichy government led by Marshal Philippe Pétain and increased their wealth from their business affairs with the Germans. The family set up a factory dedicated to producing artefacts glorifying Pétain, including more than 2,500 busts.

From historical archives she discovered that Louis Vuitton had a store on the ground floor of a fabulous property, the Hotel du Parc, in Vichy where Pétain set up his puppet government. While the other shopkeepers, including the jewellers Van Cleef & Arpels, were shut down, Vuitton was the only one allowed to stay.

Bonvicini says she talked to surviving family members and found that Vuitton’s grandson, Gaston, the wartime head of the company, had instructed his eldest son, Henry, to forge links with the Pétain regime to keep the business going.

Henry, a regular at the local cafe frequented by the Gestapo, was one of the first Frenchmen to be decorated by the Nazi-backed government for his loyalty and his efforts for the regime.

But the most damaging allegation is that the family set up a factory dedicated to producing artefacts glorifying Pétain, including more than 2,500 busts, a fact not mentioned in any of its business records.

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was the top of the league when it came to haute couture ,she created the look of the modern woman. By the 1920s she had amassed a fortune and went on to create an empire. But her life from 1941 to 1954 has long been shrouded in rumor and mystery, never clarified by Chanel or her many biographers. Historian Hal Vaughan exposesd the truth of her wartime collaboration and her long affair with the playboy Baron Hans Günther von Dincklage—who ran a spy ring and reported directly to Goebbels. Vaughan pieced together how Chanel became a Nazi agent, how she escaped arrest after the war and joined her lover in exile in Switzerland, and how—despite suspicions about her past—she was able to return to Paris at age seventy and rebuild the iconic House of Chanel.

So next time when you put that bottle of Chanel No 5, back in your Louis Vuitton handbag, just think of the history of those 2 items.

sources

https://www.vogue.co.uk/article/vuittons-nazi-past

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/jun/03/france.secondworldwar

https://www.capital.fr/economie-politique/renee-rachel-puissant-1896-1942-son-audace-et-son-flair-ont-illumine-van-cleef-arpels-1099242

https://www.timesofisrael.com/the-women-in-wwii-paris-who-did-what-they-had-to-for-survival/

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Vel’ d’Hiv-July 16-17 1942-Round up of the French Jews.

It always amazes me how easy it was for some Europeans to give up their Jewish neighbours. I know it is easy for me to say that in retrospect, because I don’t know how I would have reacted if I was put in that situation. But I have a feeling I would have least spoken out about it.

In the Netherlands 75% of all Dutch Jews, or Jews residing in the Netherlands were murdered during the Holocaust. It wasn’t so much that all Dutch were complicit in this crime. A big factor was the very efficient Dutch civil administration which enabled the occupiers to carry out their plans for the final solution. As I stated before only relatively few Dutch were complicit, but there were a great number that were complacent and hid for the facts that were so plain to see.

In France however, it was the French Vichy government that were complicit and were quite happy and eager to help the Nazi occupiers.

I remember a scene in the movie “Mr. Klein” about a man profiting off the misfortune of French Jews during World War II. In the scene it was the French police knocking at the door of the Jews and not the Gestapo. Although the film is fictional, it does give a good indication of the French attitude towards their Jewish neighbours. This 1976 film directed by Joseph Losey. Alain Delon plays the immoral art dealer, Robert Klein, leads a life of luxury, until a copy of a Jewish newspaper brings him to the attention of the police, linking him with a mysterious doppelgänger.

On July 16th 1942, French police acting on orders of the Nazi occupiers began rounding up thousands of Jews living in Paris. They were assembled at the city’s indoor velodrome the victims were held at the Vélodrome d’Hiver, cycling stadium in Paris’s 15th arrondissement. From there they were being deported to Auschwitz. Many died at the velodrome itself, left in searing heat with almost no food, water or sanitation. This shameful chapter in France’s history is known as “la rafle du Vel d’Hiv'”. The French police, code named the round up Opération Vent printanier (“Operation Spring Breeze”)

The roundup was one of several aimed at eradicating the Jewish population in France, both in the occupied zone and in the free zone. According to records of the Préfecture de Police, eventually 13,152 Jews were arrested including more than 4,000 children. They were all put in rail cattle cars to be deported to Auschwitz for their mass murder.

Over 3,000 children remained interned orphaned, until they were deported to Auschwitz as well.

Many wartime French authorities and police played an active role in the deportations, but one Paris policeman, Théophile Larue, took a stand. He warned his Jewish neighbors, the Lictensztajns, of the upcoming “Vél d’Hiv” roundup. He arranged for the family to escape to southern France and obtain false papers. The Lictensztajns were saved by one man who made a choice to uphold his position to protect all citizens, but unfortunately, not all French Policemen took that position.

Théophile Larue didn’t save only the Lictensztajn.

In March 1941, the Larue and his wife Madeleine offered their hospitality to Léon Osman, who thus managed to avoid being sent to the Pithiviers camp. He remained under their care until July 1942, when he was able to escape to the south of France. Osman was on the Gestapo’s list of wanted people; giving shelter to such a person was a grave offense and carried a heavy punishment.
On July 15 1942, Larue gave advanced warning of the planned large-scale roundup of Jews that was to start the next day to eight Jewish families who lived in his building, thus allowing them a chance to flee and find refuge.
The Larue couple sheltered Chuma Brand, and her daughter Fanny in their apartment for a week, in July 1942. Then Théophile accompanied them to the train station in his uniform so as to facilitate their flight to the unoccupied zone. In November 1942, Simon Glicensztajn, also on the Gestapo’s list, found refuge in the Larues’ home for a few days. Moreover, one night, Larue broke in to the police-sealed apartment of Glicensztajn’s sister, Laja Tobjasz, to help remove a stock of merchandise that would provide the family with a livelihood.
Once, when Mrs. Tobjasz returned to Paris from southern France, she was arrested and taken to the prefecture. When Larue heard this, he donned his uniform, went to the prefecture and asked to speak to the prefect.

He said that Mrs. Tobjasz was Catholic and his daughter’s godmother. Although skeptical, the prefect must have had a change of heart, because he released her into Larue’s custody. Théophile Larue believed that it was his duty as a man of honor, and one who had respect for human values to help people in need, even at the risk of putting his family in harm’s way. As a member of the French Resistance, Officer Larue took part in the battle for theliberation of Paris. After the liberation, the Larues continued to be in touch with the families of those they rescued. On September 23, 2007, Yad Vashem recognized Théophile and Madeleine Larue as Righteous Among the Nations.

German authorities continued the deportations of Jews from French soil until August 1944. In all, some 77,000 Jews living on French territory were murdered in concentration camps and killing centers—the overwhelming majority of them at Auschwitz.

For his pivotal part in the deportation of Jews from France, Pierre Laval, formerly the French Prime Minister, was arrested and tried after the liberation of France. He was shot by firing squad on 15 October 1945.

The fate of two German officials most involved in the Vél d’Hiv mirrored the common fates of high-ranking SS administrators. Theodor Dannecker was arrested by American officials in Bad Tölz, Bavaria, in December 1945, and committed suicide while in custody. Helmut Knochen, sentenced by a British court to 21 years in prison for a separate offense, was sentenced to death by a French court in 1954. The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, and Knochen was released on orders of French President Charles de Gaulle in November 1962.

sources

https://www.france24.com/en/focus/20140716-france-vel-hiv-roundup-jews-nazi-death-camps-deportation-survivor

https://apnews.com/article/9603cd8d7461de30c1fe5c192b14c98c

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-velodrome-dhiver-vel-dhiv-roundup

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/photo/theophile-larue?parent=en%2F11768

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Time Magazine Person of the Year.

Pierre

Here are just some examples of people who were awarded the title “person of the year” by Time magazine. As you can see that doesn’t always equate of having a positive impact in the world.

Above : Pierre Laval, Man of the Year | Jan. 4, 1932. Had been a FrEnch politician and had held the role of prime miniters. During WWII collaborated withe the Nazi regime, while he held positions in the Vichy government. Was executed in 1949 for his role in WWII

hITLER

Adolph Hitler, Man of the Year | Jan. 2, 1939. There are 2 covers for that edition . There is another one with Hitler himself , displaying a Swastika on his arm.

Stalin

Joseph Stalin: 1939, 1942

Nixon

Richard Nixon, Man the Year | Jan. 3, 1972

Deng

Deng Xiaoping, Man of the Year 1979 and 1986. the supreme leader of the People’s Republic of China from 1978 until his retirement in 1992..

Khomeini

Ayatullah Khomeini, Man of the Year | Jan. 7, 1980. Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

To be honest I don’t know why anyone would think there is anything honorable in receiving the title. I would not want to be associated with any of these men in any way or shape or  form.

 

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Sources

Time Magazine

Freemasons-the forgotten Holocaust victims.

free

One group of Holocaust victims which is often forgotten , is the Freemasons. For a part this is due to the secrecy of the group. This is something that puzzled me because they were(and still are) so secretive how were the members discovered by the Nazi regime?

What is Freemasonry?

Freemasonry is the world’s oldest fraternal, non-political, non-sectarian society. It is concerned with high moral and spiritual values and is open to men of integrity, of any religion, who believe in a Supreme Being.

Freemasons are expected to adhere to three principles:

Brotherly Love – Every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and behave with kindness and understanding towards his fellow human beings.

Relief – Freemasons are taught to practice charity and to care, not only for their own members, but for the community as a whole, by both charitable giving and by voluntary effort.

Truth – Freemasonry strives for truth and requires high moral standards of its member

The Freemasons date back to the medieval times and its members often were influential people, it is estimated that 14 US Presidents were Freemasons.

Because many of the Freemasons who were arrested were also Jews or members of the political opposition, it is not clear how many members were placed in Nazi concentration camps or were targeted only because they were Freemasons.

In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler wrote that Freemasonry has succumbed to the Jews and has become an excellent instrument to fight for their aims and to use their strings to pull the upper strata of society into their designs. The Nazis also blamed the Freemasons for Germany’s defeat in WWI.

Although the numbers can’t be verified the estimation are of 80,000 and 200,000 Freemasons who were murdered by the Nazi regime.

Despite the secrecy of the organisation the Freemasons were targeted via propaganda in most of Nazi occupied countries.

The most famous piece of Anti Free Mason propaganda was the French movie “Forces occultes”

forces

It was the last film to be directed by Paul Riche (the pseudonym of Jean Mamy).

The film was commissioned in 1942 by the Propaganda Abteilung, a delegation of Nazi Germany’s propaganda ministry within occupied France by the ex-Mason Mamy.

It represents Vichy France’s most determined effort at nazi propaganda.

The film depicts the rise of a young MP who, to further his career, joins the French Freemasons. He subsequently starts to believe that along with the Jews, they deliberately want to push France into a war against Germany.

After the war Riche aka Marmy was sentenced to death and executed on 29 March 1949.

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

Lodge St Patrick

IMDb

USHMM

Wikipedia

 

 

The trans-Saharan railway

the_trans_saharan_railway_by_edthomasten.jpg

The phrase “From hero to zero” is probably the most appropriate way to describe Philippe Pétain.

Pétain was after World War I regarded ,without a doubt, the most accomplished defensive tactician of any army and one of France’s greatest military heroes and was presented with his baton of Marshal of France at a public ceremony at Metz by President Raymond Poincaré on 8 December 1918.

Foch_Pershing_Petain_and_Haig

However after the Nazi occupied France in June 1940 he was very eager to please his new lords. He would be their puppet and they would pull his strings. If they told him to jump, he would ask “How high?” If they ordered him to deport Jews he would say “How many?”. He and his Vichy regime would serve their Nazi masters any which way they could.

France had always been a colonial power therefore there would be many French Jewish citizens living and working  in the North African colonies like Algeria,Tunisia and Morocco.

In October, 1940, Pétain’s Vichy government, not the Germans, passed antisemitic legislation called the Statut des Juifs.

Statut_des_Juifs_-_page_1

There was no German pressure on Pétain to promulgate racial laws in the fall of 1940. Just to illustrate how eager the Vichy regime was to implement the Statut des Juifs, below a timeline comparison between the time it took for the Nazis to implement the antisemitic laws and how long it took for the Vichy regime.

timeline

Nor was there German pressure on Pétain to apply these racial laws to the colonies of North Africa. Finally, there was no German pressure on Pétain to repeal the Crémieux Decree, which had made the Jews of France and of Algeria and Tunisia full citizens 70 years before in 1870..

North Africa

One of the first moves of the pro-German Vichy regime was to revoke the effects of the Crémieux Decree, thereby abolishing French citizenship for Algerian Jews, affecting some 110,000 Algerians. Under Admiral Darlan and General Giraud the antisemitic legislation was applied more severely in Algeria than France itself, under the pretext that it enabled greater equality between Muslims and Jews.

Philippe Pétain signed a bill to construct a trans-Saharan railway, which was to be built by prisoners of war and Jews.

Approximately 2,000 Algerian Jews were put into labor and concentration camps throughout Algeria, including the camps at Bedeau and Djelfa. Though the camps were not a Vichy innovation, the plan to construct a trans-Saharan railroad to serve coal mines across North Africa was an exclusively Vichy initiative. Work camps were set up for this purpose. Prisoners were forced to labor in difficult conditions, performing strenuous work, for ten hours each day. They were poorly fed and housed, and lived in terrible sanitary conditions. Tortures and atrocities were inflicted by the guards for the slightest breach of the rules; the internees were not treated as human beings. Many died from beatings; even more died from outbreaks of typhus or just from exhaustion and hunger.

Although there is a lot of information available om the construction of the Burma railroad, there is relatively little information on the construction of the Trans-Saharan railway and how many perished.

The Algerian Jewish community survived due to the early Allied Liberation of Algeria in November 1942.

liberation

However, the Jews were not entirely “liberated.” It took until October of 1943 for all of the anti-Jewish laws to be cancelled and for the Jews of Algeria to be reinstated as citizens of France. Giraud  promulgated the cancellation of Vichy statutes on March 14, 1943, retained exceptionally the decree abolishing citizenship rights for Algerian Jews, in so far as he attributed France’s defeat to the Jews.[10] His decision was overruled, on appeal, by the CFLN( French Committee of National Liberation)in October of 1943.

 

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

Yad Vashem

Wikipedia