Nazi savagery in occupied Paris (1942)

“Another act of cold-blooded murder by German military authorities in France is announced officially by those guilty of it,” declared a News Letter editorial during this week in 1942.

Adolf Hitler standing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris during the Second World War
Adolf Hitler standing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris during the Second World War

“Yesterday the Nazi Military Governor of Paris made public the fact that, as a ‘reprisal’ for the shooting of a German sentry in Paris more than a week ago, twenty ‘Communists and Jews’ had been executed, and the people are warned that if the four youths responsible for the attack on the sentry are not arrested within the week ahead a further twenty hostages will be shot.

“The cruelty and injustice of such a policy are matched by its utter senselessness. Out of French nationals under German arrest men are picked at random to be butchered because of some action of which they know nothing.

“This is done in the name of the nation which offers Europe a ‘New Order’ of peace, enlightenment, and prosperity; the nation to which the Vichy Government panders and describes its crawling policy as ‘collaboration’.”

The News Letter’s editorial continued: “According to a Geneva despatch to the Soviet News Agency, 85 per cent, of the total output of France’s motor industry is being exported, across the Rhine and more than 3,500 aeroplanes produced in French factories last year were handed over to the Germans, while at a military parade in Paris recently the German troops were equipped exclusively with French arms.

“Marshal Petain has described the raid by the Royal Air Force on the Renault Works In the industrial suburbs of Paris as ‘a criminal aggression’, and Goebbels, suggesting that only workmen’s dwellings and hospitals bad been hit, called it ‘a cowardly attack’. Photographs taken from, the air after the raid show how extremely accurate the British bombers were in concentrating on factory buildings, and if it be ‘cowardly’ to destroy plant engaged in producing war materials for Germany, does Goebbels defend the murder of hostages as a justifiable act of war? Probably he does, though the sole effect is to heighten the passionate resentment of the French people against their oppressors.”