“as if nothing had happened”. About a guidebook to France
Probably in the second half of 1942 Doré Ogrizek, the owner of the Odé publishing house in Paris, published a German-language guidebook Frankreich. Paris und Provinzen, designed with elaborate care, ingeniously and not without a sense of humour.
The guidebook, most of which was devoted to the capital city, attempted to confirm the reader’s profound conviction that the old German proverb “To live happily as God in France” was apt. For France appears in it as a land of prosperity and never-ending happiness, and its inhabitants are cheerful, diligent and imaginative, enjoying the delights of everyday life, especially food — a large part of the text is devoted to gastronomy. The Odé guidebook may be perceived, probably not only by the Polish reader, as a kind of curiosity because of an obvious cognitive dissonance experienced, at least to some extent, by those who are knowledgeable about the history of occupied France. In the guidebook there is no sign of war and occupation, there are neither the patriots from the Résistance, nor the German soldiers in the streets of Paris, nor the swastika fl ags. Nevertheless, one can discern or interpret some parts of the text as allusions to the real situation, for instance, by analyzing the inside of the endpaper of the cover. After the liberation Doré Ogrizek’s publishing activity was not condemned as collaboration. Her publishing house thrived for years, cooperating with eminent authorities, including members of Académie française and highly regarded artists. Attention has also been drawn, by contrast, to the modest, propaganda, German-language guidebooks to some cities of Poland, for example Cracow and Lublin, published by Germans during the years of the Nazi occupation.