"Everything Had Ended and Everything Was Beginning Again": The Public Politics of Rebuilding Private Homes in Postwar Paris


Between January 1942 and August 1944, the Nazis stripped more than 38,000 "abandoned" Jewish apartments in Paris of furniture and other goods and shipped most of the stolen items to Germany. Following the liberation of the capital in August 1944, Jewish survivors returned to empty homes or found their apartments inhabited by other families. The French provisional government addressed housing and restitution issues for all war victims immediately; however, the process proved to be especially long and difficult for Jewish victims, many of whom found themselves utterly destitute. An examination of the process demonstrates that Jews used gendered strategies in demanding to be included in French public life through the reclamation of private homes.


History and Political Science


Research for this article was made possible by a Research Board Grant from the University of Missouri System, a Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society, and a Paula Hyman Memorial Research Award from the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. The author also wishes to thank the Department of History and Political Science at Missouri S&T for providing development leave.

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

8756-6583; 1476-7937

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2014 Oxford University Press, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Aug 2014