Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Sorbonne at war

This month is appearing a book entitled "La Sorbonne en Guerre (1940-1944)", followed by the short "Journal de la Liberation de Versailles". It is a primary historical document from a manuscript written by my grandfather Georges Mathieu about life as a professor (of ancient Greek) at the Sorbonne during the Occupation. My father typed, edited, prefaced and indexed the text.

In there, you read about such topics as faculty meetings discussing how to deal with new laws restricting Jewish students and faculty. If a Jewish professor goes into hiding, should the department hire someone to fill the prestigious position, or should they make do with temporary replacements? If loudly voicing disagreement with the laws means that you will be fired and arrested, then what is the best way to react to unjust measures? How do you work with a colleague whose collaborationist attitude you despise? How does one deal with anonymous letters at such a time? The book is not a guide of what one ought to do, but a report of what happened.

The Liberation of Versailles is a thrilling account of the Allied forces arriving in Versailles in 1944 and being greeted with great rejoicing by the ecstatic population.


  1. English translation please!

  2. Very interesting. When did your grandfather write this?

  3. The gist of it was written in 1944, using notes from 1940-44. We believe that he revised it around 1946. He died in 1948.


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