- Contributed by
- People in story:
- John W Dillery and his friend Michelle
- Location of story:
- Paris, France
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 14 January 2004
The story of our poster begins at the start of World War Two in France. As the Nazi armies approached Paris in June of 1940, and many residents were attempting to flee the city, a poster in red, white and blue suddenly appeared on the streets. It was titled “A Tous Les Francais” and it urges the population not to lose hope. It admits that the battle is lost, but assures the reader that a free French army will return to liberate the people and win the war. It was signed by General Charles DeGaulle. Very few knew who he was. Within a day or two, the Nazis tore them off the walls and kiosks of Paris. My own mother lived through the occupation and recalls that people thought that maybe the poster was some kind of collective dream.
About this time a woman named Michelle made her way to the capital and joined the Resistance. She came across one of the posters that had never been put up, and hid it back at her home in the northern part of the country. When she met my father after the liberation in 1944 she gave it to him as a parting gift with a small inscription in one corner. Later, after my parents were married here in Minnesota, my Mom was surprised to find the poster neatly folded in my dad’s scrapbook. She knew it was a rare survivor, so she had it conserved and placed in a protective frame. This original, historic poster remains in our care today, and we would like to show it to interested viewers.
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