The Parisians during the occupation
André Zucca (1897-1973) was the only photographer to take colour photographs of Paris during the occupation. After working as a war correspondent for Paris Match and Paris Soir in 1939, he was requisitioned by the Germans (who rigorously controlled and selected all photos at the time) to work for the propaganda magazine Signal, a sort of copy of Life magazine. However, none of his colour photographs were ever used, as colour printing was reserved specially for photos of the war itself.
André Zucca walked extensively through Paris, taking personal shots that deliberately avoid the scenes we are used to seeing during wartime. Here, people bathe in the sun near the Seine, talk quiet walks through the Paris gardens… It’s almost as if the war wasn’t taking place at all.
After the war, Zucca’s work for the Nazis led to him being arrested and his press card was withdrawn. However, he left over 7,000 photos behind, 6,000 of which are in colour. 250 of these have been meticulously restored to be shown in the exhibition at the Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris. They give a unique, personal view of how life went on during a surreal and barbaric period in history.