The occupation of Paris was a dark period in the city’s history. From June 1940 to August 1944, the German forces held control over a city that had been declared an open city. However, the story of the German soldiers during this time remains largely untold.
The living conditions experienced by these young soldiers were harsh and often unbearable. Many of them were placed in cramped quarters with little food or supplies, and faced extreme weather conditions that tested their endurance. They had to contend with rationing, curfews, and other harsh restrictions imposed by the Nazi regime.
Despite these challenging circumstances, many German soldiers managed to forge connections and relationships with Parisians during their stay. An estimated 1 million French civilians worked for Germany during the occupation, while others found ways to resist in spite of the danger posed by doing so. As a result, there are stories of Germans helping out civilians in times of need, as well as instances where citizens provided shelter for those trying to escape persecution from the occupying forces.
This human element of World War II is on full display in “Les Boches de Paris”, an award-winning documentary that brings viewers into the experience of the German soldiers who occupied Paris throughout this period. Through interviews with witnesses from both sides, archival footage and images from this era, we get a glimpse into what it was like for those soldiers; including how they interacted with locals despite their differences and how they coped with life under occupation in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.
By watching “Les Boches de Paris” we can gain insight into a different perspective on World War II – one that is often overlooked but no less important than those traditionally told about wartime conflicts. It provides a unique opportunity to understand what it was like for soldiers who were forced into