Kati Marton’s most recent book, “Paris: A Love Story,” is now available. Her blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:
Now that I live part-time in Paris, I explore the city’s complex and sometimes disturbing relationship toward its Jewish citizens — which given my own Jewish heritage, feels personal to me. In “Paris: A Love Story,” I probe this aspect of the city which most tourists miss.
In Paris, life and death, beauty and violence are forever colliding. I take the rue de Poissy, a picturesque, cobblestoned street with stunning windowboxes that spill over with geraniums, toward my home. At number 5, I pass the Ecole Maternelle. Like all French schools, it flies the French flag. But this nursery school also features a gold lettered, black marble tablet, which stops me in my tracks. “To the memory of the children — students of this school,” it states, “deported from 1942-1944 because they were born Jewish. Victims of the Nazi barbarity with the active complicity of the Vichy government. They were exterminated in the death camps. Let us never forget them. October 5, 2002.”