Sunday, April 19, 2009

unusual monuments

Paris is full of monuments as we well know-particularly and most prominently are the war memorials. It seems you can turn a corner and see some stone or (or bronze) faced "hero" on their horse or in strapping pose reminding us of some war "well fought." Napoleon and WWII monuments seem to be the most prevalent, but after living here for awhile now I have to confess I barely pay attention anymore. However this smallish bronze pedestal that I cam across in St. Ouen, a small "suburb" just outside the north of Paris, near the flea markets of St. Ouen, grabbed my attention. I was on my way to see M's new atelier and was kind of taking in the area when I saw it tucked into a small park full of blooming cherry blossom trees, the only sign of beauty in what seemed to be a rather gray, industrial town. The monument is dedicated to a small convoy of French citizens who were deported to Auschwitz, but I don't think the only French victims of this horror? Why here in this tiny little park just off of nowhere? Was it because it was a road leading outside of Paris? Maybe the small convoy they mention in the plaque were of people who once lived in this area which now, coincidentally I guess, seems to be a very Arab neighborhood. I couldn't grasp it from the text here, but in any case found it all quite strange and interesting.


Starman said...

Somewhere between 200,000 and 400,000 people, mostly Jewish, were deported during the war. Many with the help of their neighbors. It's an episode of which the French are considerably less than proud. There is some information on Wikipedia about the monument behind Notre Dame.

Anonymous said...

"Audonien" on the monument apparently refers to residents of St-Ouen, which is why it was installed there. It is meant to commemorate members of the Resistance who lived in the area and were deported on the two transports noted on the monument.