Opening night in Casablanca for the movie “Indigènes” (English title “Days of Glory”) provided a special opportunity for some of the subjects of the film to reflect upon their past, and for Moroccans and the French to talk about their future.
What was life like for the poilus, the French soldiers of World War I? In sum, much, much harder than our lives. Subjected to bullets, bombs, death, and all the atrocities of war, these soldiers fought bitterly to protect their homeland, and one another.
Lazare Ponticelli was the last of the “Poilus” — French infantry soldiers who served in World War I. Ponticelli, who was actually an Italian immigrant to France, first served in the French Foreign Legion and then eventually, the Italian army. He died in 2008 at the age of 110.
What is the best way to explain the horrors of the Holocaust to nine-year-old children? France’s Holocaust memorial has taken measures to avoid disturbing children by placing the most graphic photographs out of their line of sight and by offering a tour specifically designed for younger viewers. The idea is for children to learn about this dark moment in our history without being overwhelmed.
On the 9th of November, 1989, the wall that divided the German city of Berlin began to fall along with the East German state that built it. Claudia Rusch, a young Francophile, was one of the first to scramble over what remained of the divide, meeting up with a French friend on the western side. She’s recently recounted her story in a book, which is a best-seller in her native Germany.
A Lockheed P-38 Lightning, last piloted by noted writer Saint-Exupéry, who presumably went down with it on July 31, 1944, has been found and identified off the coast of Marseille. This gives credence to a local fisherman who, six years ago, claimed to have netted the author’s ID bracelet.