Sufferings and betrayals in Paris under the German Occupation in the Second World War have been recorded in many memoirs, novels, and movies, but the literature on the city in the First World War is more sparse. I decided to look through our collection of postcards and books to learn more.
I have two postcards showing zeppelin damage. Compared with what was to come later, the destruction was fairly limited. The first postcard shows a damaged shopfront (it had sold secondhand goods) and some scattered cobblestones. On either side, children line up to get into the frame of the picture. “Crimes odieux des pirates boches,” (“Odious crimes of the Kraut Pirates”) says the caption. Clearly the point of the postcard is to stir up anti-German feeling.
The shop was on the rue Ménilmontant in the 20th arrondissement. Look at the number 91 in the top right-hand corner. Amazingly, the building exists to this day – you can still see the distinctive heart-shaped wrought-iron decorations in the windows on Google Street View.