“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.