Dartmouth's Daily Blog
News, commentary, criticism and praise for the College on the Hill, enlivened with history, culture and travel when we feel so moved.
This is an archived post. Please click here to see the latest entries.
Paris Diary: Layers of History
In Paris, eras of significant history can fall over themselves. This small plaque commemorates a death during the August 1944 rebellion against the German invader. At multiple points in the city, people, led by the municipal police, rose up and expelled the enemy from entire districts. In this way, and after the tip-of-the-spear entry into the city by General Philippe Leclerc’s 2nd French Armored Division, the French claim to have liberated Paris from the Nazis.
The plaque reads:
Here, René Revel, a keeper of the peace from the 15th arrondissement, winner of the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, was killed by the Germans, August 19th, 1944.
Revel, a police officer, was guarding the Pont Neuf, an approach to the Île de la Cité, the site of the Paris Police prefecture and the center of the revolt. In a skirmish with German soldiers, he was hit in the neck by two bullets. He died shortly thereafter.
The Pont Neuf, despite its name, is the oldest bridge in Paris (built between 1578 and 1607). It links the Île de la Cité to both the Left and Right Banks of the Seine. It also leads to the Square du Vert-Galant (1884), one of Paris’ loveliest parks. In the distance one sees the Louvre, whose construction as a fortress began in the 12th century; it is ongoing.
Addendum: The reference to the people who killed officer Revel ranks high on the anger scale among French monuments. Plaques commemorating wartime events exist throughout the Hexagone (as the mainland is often called) with varying words referring to “l’ennemi” (the enemy), “l’envahisseur” (the invader), “les Nazis,” and “les Allemands” (the Germans). My experience is that ever more bitterness is displayed as the categorization rises from a description of activity, to ideology, to national origin.
Addendum: The conquest of Paris took place without significant destruction primarily due to the courageous independence of mind of German General Dietrich von Choltitz, who surrendered the city despite orders given him directly by Adolf Hitler to turn the city into “another Stalingrad.” Von Choltitz believed that the destruction of Paris would end all possibility of Franco-German reconciliation for generations.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
- The Dartmouth College Case
- 2007 Trustee Election
- Dartmouth Constitution
- Sunday Morning Sinatra
- The Indian Wars
Subscribe by Email
This website reflects the personal opinions of its authors. Any e-mails received may be published along with the full name of the sender. If you wish otherwise, please say so.
All content appearing at Dartblog.com should be presumed copyright 2004-2018 its respective bylined author unless otherwise noted or unless linked to original source.