Friday, March 6, 2009

Change of Address

The occupant of 93, rue Lauriston in the 16e wants to change the address to 91bis, and the political leadership of the swank district is in disarray. Claude Goasguen, the mayor, says he "doesn't know what to think."

Why? 93, rue Lauriston was Gestapo HQ during the Occupation, as all readers of Patrick Modiano know. The Franco-Arab Chamber of Commerce, which now occupies the site, doesn't like the association. Hence the request to change the name.


Anonymous said...

The Paris German Gestapo headquarters was Rue des Saussaies. The name "rue Lauriston" (the actual building number is usually not known) still makes today's Parisians shudder because that's where the "French Gestapo", basically a bunch of French gangsters headed by an ex-policemen, operated from. This unsavoury group had been tasked by the Nazis to find out about Resistance networks and used to torture people in the cellar towards that end.

In my opinion, the Franco-Arab Chamber of Commerce chose this building because, like the rest of that sinister street, it was very well located in an expensive part of Paris, but much cheaper than the rest of the neighbourhood, not knowing why.

My perception of this pseudo-affair is that, when Mr. de Charette came to head the Chamber, he became immediately uneasy about the address, as would most Parisians. What made it worse is that now that there is a big propaganda campaign to equal Arab with Nazis, knowing about the sinister location of this Chamber would be shamelessly utilised.

Anyway, the project to rename the building has been dropped and Mr. de Charette has decided to move the Franco-Arab Chamber to another location in Paris.

Unknown said...

Thanks for correcting my faulty memory.