Remaining Nazi Sites in Alsace-Lorraine

Alsace 1944-2015
At the beginning of the Occupation, French leaders expected to pay a price for France’s defeat and accepted German measures with a degree of resignation. The annexation of Alsace and Lorraine surprised few observers. French policemen turned over common enemies and undesirable refugees to Himmler’s ϟϟ. Laval passed legislation that sent hundreds of thousands of French workers to Germany in exchange for a few prisoners of war and short-lived exemptions for select Vichy supporters. 

 France surrendered on June 22 in a humiliating ceremony in the very same railroad car that they had made Germany sign the armistice November 11, 1918.
The Compiegne Wagon being pulled into position for the signing of the Armistice
From William L. Shirer's account in Berlin Diary (419–25):
On the exact spot in the little clearing in the Forest of Compiègne where at five a.m. on November 11, 1918 the armistice which ended the World War was signed, Adolf Hitler today handed his armistice terms to France. To make German revenge complete, the meeting of the German and French plenipotentiaries took place in Marshal Foch’s private car, in which Foch laid down the armistice terms to Germany twenty-two years ago. Even the same table in the rickety old wagon-lit car was used. And through the windows we saw Hitler occupying the very seat on which Foch had sat at that table when he dictated the other armistice.
The humiliation of France, of the French, was complete. And yet in the preamble to the armistice terms Hitler told the French that he had not chosen this spot at Compiègne out of revenge; merely to right an old wrong. From the demeanour of the French delegates I gathered that they did not appreciate the difference.
... The armistice negotiations began at three fifteen p.m. A warm June sun beat down on the great elm and pine trees, and cast pleasant shadows on the wooded avenues as Hitler, with the German plenipotentiaries at his side, appeared. He alighted from his car in front of the French monument to Alsace-Lorraine which stands at the end of an avenue about two hundred yards from the clearing where the armistice car waits on exactly the same spot it occupied twenty-two years ago. The Alsace-Lorraine statue, I noted, was covered with German war flags so that you could not see its sculptured work nor read its inscription. But I had seen it some years before – the large sword representing the sword of the Allies, and its point sticking into a large, limp eagle, representing the old Empire of the Kaiser. And the inscription underneath in French saying: “TO THE HEROIC SOLDIERS OF FRANCE ... DEFENDERS OF THE COUNTRY AND OF RIGHT ... GLORIOUS LIBERATORS OF ALSACE-LORRAINE.”

I saw the Führer stop, glance at the monument, observe the Reich flags with their big Swastikas in the centre. Then he strode slowly towards us, towards the little clearing in the woods. I observed his face. It was grave, solemn, yet brimming with revenge. There was also in it, as in his springy step, a note of the triumphant conqueror, the defier of the world. There was something else, difficult to describe, in his expression, a sort of scornful, inner joy at being present at this great reversal of fate – a reversal he himself had wrought.
Now here aches the little opening in the woods. He pauses and looks slowly around. The clearing is in the form of a circle some two hundred yards in diameter and laid out like a park. Cypress trees line it all round – and behind them, the great elms and oaks of the forest. This has been one of France’s national shrines for twenty-two years. From a discreet position on the perimeter of the circle we watch...The time is now three eighteen p.m. Hitler’s personal flag is run up on a small standard in the centre of the opening. Also in the centre is a great granite block which stands some three feet above the ground. Hitler, followed by the others, walks slowly over to it, steps up, and reads the inscription engraved in great high letters on that block. It says: “HERE ON THE ELEVENTH OF NOVEMBER 1918 SUCCUMBED THE CRIMINAL PRIDE OF THE GERMAN EMPIRE ... VANQUISHED BY THE FREE PEOPLES WHICH IT TRIED TO ENSLAVE.”
 Hitler reads it and Goering reads it. They all read it, standing there in the June sun and the silence. I look for the expression on Hitler’s face. I am but fifty yards from him and see him through my glasses as though he were directly in front of me. I have seen that face many times at the great moments of his life. But today! It is afire with scorn, anger, hate, revenge, triumph. He steps off the monument and contrives to make even this gesture a masterpiece of contempt. He glances back at it, contemptuous, angry – angry, you almost feel, because he cannot wipe out the awful, provoking lettering with one sweep of his Prussian boot. He glances slowly around the clearing, and now, as his eyes meet ours, you grasp the depth of his hatred. But there is triumph there too – revengeful, triumphant hate. Suddenly, as though his face were not giving quite complete expression to his feelings, he throws his whole body into harmony with his mood. He swiftly snaps his hands on his hips, arches his shoulders, plants his feet wide apart. It is a magnificent gesture of defiance, of burning contempt for this place now and all that it has stood for in the twenty-two years since it witnessed the humbling of the German Empire...
Now we get our picture through the dusty windows of that old wagon-lit car. Hitler and the other German leaders rise as the French enter the drawing-room. Hitler gives the Nazi salute, the arm raised. Ribbentrop and Hess do the same. I cannot see M. Noël to notice whether he salutes or not. Hitler, as far as we can see through the windows, does not say a word to the French or to anybody else. He nods to General Keitel at his side. We see General Keitel adjusting his papers. Then he starts to read. He is reading the preamble to the German armistice terms. The French sit there with marble-like faces and listen intently. Hitler and Goering glance at the green table-top.
The reading of the preamble lasts but a few minutes. Hitler, we soon observe, has no intention of remaining very long, of listening to the reading of the armistice terms themselves. At three
forty-two p.m., twelve minutes after the French arrive, we see Hitler stand up, salute stiffly, and then stride out of the drawing-room, followed by Goering, Brauchitsch, Raeder, Hess, and Ribbentrop.

Hitler and his aides stride down the avenue towards the Alsace-Lorraine monument, where their cars are waiting. As they pass the guard of honour, the German band strikes up the two national anthems, Deutschland, Deutschland über Alles and the Horst Wessel song. The whole ceremony in which Hitler has reached a new pinnacle in his meteoric career and Germany avenged the 1918 defeat is over in a quarter of an hour.

Place Kléber, renamed Karl-Roos-Platz  by the Germans, then and now. After the ceasefire following the Fall of France in June 1940, Alsace was annexed by Germany and a rigorous policy of Germanisation was imposed upon it by the Gauleiter Robert Heinrich Wagner. When, in July 1940, the first evacuees were allowed to return, only residents of Alsatian origin were admitted. The last Jews were deported on 15 July 1940 and the main synagogue, a huge Romanesque revival building that had been a major architectural landmark with its 54-metre-high dome since its completion in 1897, was set ablaze, then razed. 
In September 1940 the first Alsatian resistance movement led by Marcel Weinum called La main noire (The black hand) was created. It was composed by a group of 25 young men aged from 14 to 18 years old who led several attacks against the German occupation. The actions culminated with the attack of the Gauleiter Robert Wagner, the highest commander of Alsace directly under the order of Hitler. In March 1942, Marcel Weinum was prosecuted by the Gestapo and sentenced to be beheaded at the age of 18 in April 1942 in Stuttgart, Germany, his last words being "If I have to die, I shall die but with a pure heart". From 1943 the city was bombarded by Allied aircraft. Whilst the First World War had not notably damaged the city, Anglo-American bombing caused extensive destruction in raids of which at least one was allegedly carried out by mistake. In August 1944, several buildings in the Old Town were damaged by bombs, particularly the Palais Rohan, the Old Customs House (Ancienne Douane) and the Cathedral. 
On the left is the wife in front of  le maison des tanneurs and the site during the occupation. On November 23 1944 with permission from the British and Americans, the city was allowed to be 'officially' liberated by the 2nd French Armoured Division under General Leclerc. He achieved the oath that he made with his soldiers, after the decisive Capture of Kufra. With the Oath of Kuffra, they swore to keep up the fight until the French flag flew over the Cathedral of Strasbourg.  Many people from Strasbourg were supposedly incorporated in the German Army against their will, and were sent to the eastern front, those young men and women were called Malgré-nous with some said to have tried to escape from the incorporation, join the French Resistance, or desert the Wehrmacht but many couldn't because they were running the risk of having their families sent to work or concentration camps by the Germans. Many of these men, especially those who did not answer the call immediately, were pressured to "volunteer" for service with the SS, often by direct threats on their families. This threat obliged the majority of them to remain in the German army. After the war, the few that survived were often accused of being traitors or collaborationists, because this tough situation was not known in the rest of France, and they had to face the incomprehension of many. In July 1944, 1500 malgré-nous were released from Soviet captivity and sent to Algiers, where they joined the Free French Forces.
The University Palace of Strasbourg in 1941 during the annexation 

The staircase of the Metzig, Nazi headquarters in annexed Molsheim, adorned with swastikas and Nazi eagle during the Kreistage of October 20, 1941 and today. Here a speech in front of the Metzig was delivered to arouse enthusiasm towards the annexation. 


Adolf-Hitler-Platz then and now 
After the Prussian victory in the Franco-Prussian War Mulhouse was annexed to the German Empire as part of the territory of Alsace-Lorraine (1871–1918). The city was briefly occupied by French troops on 8 August 1914 at the start of World War I, but they were forced to withdraw two days later in the Battle of Mulhouse. The citizens of Alsace who unwisely celebrated the appearance of the French army, were left to face German reprisals. Alsace-Lorraine was invaded and annexed by France after World War I. Although never formally restored to Germany after the Battle of France in 1940, it was occupied by German forces until returned to French control at the end of the war in May 1945.


The corner of Rue Kleber and Boulevard du Champ de Mars in 1940.
The Germans arrived in Colmar June 17, 1940, taking possession of the city in the name of the Führer as they tore the tricolour of the City Hall's balcony and replaced it with a swastika. The kommandierender des Sturmtruppenregiments Adolf Hitler, Colonel  Koch, and his men thus accomplished the first act: changing the flag and made it clear that Colmar was German again.Within a few days Colmar became Kolmar. By July a working group was being set up to determine how best to start Germanising the town chaired by Stadtkommissar Hellstern and moderated by Albert Schmitt, city librarian since 1924 and specialist in the history of Colmar, whose sympathies for the Nazi regime would be revealed- under the pseudonym Morand Claden he published in August in the Strassburger Monatshefte an ode to Hitler. In the end, over three hundred street names, places or localities, were changed. Adolf Hitler-Strasse, now avenue de la République Ahnenplatz. Strasse des 17 June now replaced by another military event- avenue de la Liberté. Schillerstrasse replaced rue Victor Hugo and Robert-Koch-strasse replaced rue Pasteur. Avenue Foch was replaced with the name of another general- Hindenburgstraße.


On the bridge at the Château de Kaysersberg with an American cavalryman
Beside the church with an M4 Sherman Tank accompanied by soldiers of the CC5 in the Grand'Rue - Today incongruously Rue de General de Gaulle 


La Tour de Fripons - Then and Now. Ammerschwihr has undergone numerous invasions throughout its history beginning with those of the Armagnacs in 1444, the Peasants' War in 1525, the Thirty Years' War, and then the invasion of the Lorrains in 1652. During the Second World War Ammerschwihr was burned down by the bombings of December 1944 and January 1945 during the Battle of Alsace. 85% of the village was destroyed during the liberation by French and American troops. The town hall, the old houses in the Place du Marché and the Grand'Rue were destroyed. Only the relatively undeveloped Church of St. Martin, the high door and two towers of the fortifications still bear witness to the picturesque interest which this little town was once known for. It was after particularly bitter fighting that the city became French again on December 18, 1944.  The commune was decorated on February 12, 1949, with the Croix de guerre 1939-1945.
Looking at the church from the place de l'Ancien-Hôtel-de-Ville
The fountain before the war and today

A M4 Sherman next to the Catholic church
US M4 Sherman tank in today's rue de la 1ere Armee
Riquewihr under the Nazis
Allied cars on Rue de la Gen de Gaulle. Unlike other villages in the region (such as Mittelwihr, Bennwihr or Sigolsheim), Riquewihr miraculously escaped the destruction of the Second World War because of its cul-de-sac position. This preservation of its ancient heritage makes it one of the most visited villages of Alsace.
German troops in front of the Obertor
German PoWs in today's Rue de la 1ere Armee
US Stuart tanks in today's rue de la 1ere Armee
The first Americans arrive in Riquewihr - December 5, 1944
The Altes Fachwerkhaus

German POWs marching along the Rue des Chevalieres in Bergheim, January 1945 in front of troops from Combat Command 6

Bergheim German Cemetery
Inaugurated on June 7, 1975 Bergheim German war cemetery, surrounded by vineyards, lies on the Grasberg 337 metres above sea level upstream of the Vosges. Behind lies the Hoch-Königsburg only a few kilometres away. The 15th century fortress was destroyed during the Thirty Years War by the Swedes and from 1901 to 1908 it was rebuilt for Kaiser Wilhelm II. The 5, 308 dead here lie in four grave fields. Originally they were buried in 225 villages throughout the Haut Rhin. The cemetery is four hectares large and is partly limited by a retaining wall. The gravestones of natural stone carry the names and data of three fallen soldiers each. At the top, a six-foot high cross overlooks the cemetery. In the entrance building with a covered entrance hall is an orientation plan as well as an inscription with the number of dead whilst in the room next to the cemetery administrator's office is the book of names of those lying here. Only thirteen kilometres south of the German war graveyard, the French grave service has created the national cemetery Sigolsheim "Blutberg". The dead of Bergheim and Sigolsheim largely fell in the winter of 1944-45 during the fighting in southern Alsace.

Rue principale with the Hôtel de Ville on the left

The town church with the plaque commemorating 51 of its citizens who were apparently press-ganged into the Wehrmacht
Maison Rittimann then and now
The M4 Sherman "Renard" then-and-now

Le Bonhomme
The rue du 3eme Spahis Algeriens then and now

The bridge over the Ill, since rebuilt after the war
 Remains of an anti-tank emplacement 

In the Second World War, Germany retook the town in 1940. In November 1944 the area surrounding Haguenau was under the control of the 256th Volksgrenadier Division under the command of General Gerhard Franz.  On 1 December 1944, the 314th Infantry Regiment of the 79th Division, XV Corps, 7th U.S. Army, moved into the area near Haguenau, and on 7 December the regiment was given the assignment to take it and the town forest just north that included German ammunition dumps. The attack began at 0645, December 9, and sometime during the night of 10 December and the early morning of December 11 the Germans withdrew under the cover of darkness leaving the town proper largely under American control.  Before they withdrew, the Germans demolished bridges, useful buildings, and even the town park. However, as experienced by Haguenau throughout its history, the Germans came back and retook the town in late January. Most of the inhabitants fled with the assistance of the U.S. Army. The Americans launched an immediate counterattack to retake the town. The 313th Infantry Regiment of the 79th Division was relieved by the 101st Airborne Division on 5 February 1945. The 36th Infantry Division would relieve the 101st on 23 February 1945. On March 15 the Allied Operation Undertone, a combined effort of the U.S. Seventh and French 1st Armies of the U.S. Sixth Army Group was launched to drive the Germans back along a 75 km line from Saarbrücken to Haguenau. The last German soldier was not cleared out of the town until March 19, 1945, after house-to-house fighting.  Much of the town had been destroyed despite the Allied reluctance to use artillery to clear out the Germans. Technical Sergeant Morris E. Crain, Company E, 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for providing covering fire for his men on 13 March 1945.

The liberation of Sigolsheim was particularly dramatic on December 19, 1944 when the village was conquered by the five tanks of 1st Platoon, 2nd Squadron of the RCA first under the command of Camille Girard. But the American infantry had not followed, three tanks were destroyed and 25 men, three were wounded, six captured and mortally wounding Girard.
The church of Sts. Peter and Paul after the battle and today
The door after the battle, still displaying a rare version of the theme in which Christ holds keys out to St. Peter (Traditio Clavium) at the same time that He holds an open book out to St. Paul (Traditio Legis). The bullet holes remain 
Rue Principale with a tank roadblock in front 

The Capuchin Monastery in ruins 
Rue Sainte Jacques
At the crossroad with the Grand Rue on the left 
Sigolsheim today as seen from Hill 351,  known also as Bloody Hill. Atop Mont de Sigolsheim is this monument honouring the American soldiers who fought for the liberation of Alsace

The residence at 7 Grand Rue further up the road that had served as the German Field Hospital. 
For the Americans, the capture of Jebsheim was necessary to protect the north flank of the 3rd Division's advance. With the 3rd Division advancing ahead of the French 1 March Infantry Division on the 3rd Division's north flank, General O'Daniel committed the U.S. 254th Infantry Regiment (part of the U.S. 63rd Infantry Division but attached to the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division for the duration of operations in the Colmar Pocket) to capture Jebsheim. On 26–27 January, troops of the German 136th Mountain Infantry Regiment defended Jebsheim against the advance of the 254th Infantry. On 28–29 January, Jebsheim was taken by the 254th Infantry, French tanks of Combat Command 6 (French 5th Armoured Division), and a battalion of the French 1st Parachute Regiment.
St. Martin's church in Jebsheim January 1945
The intersection of Rue des Vosges and Grand Rue where the Germans had established a roadblock and, right, a dead German soldier at that same roadblock

The main road into town with some of the houses still recognisable today such as that directly behind my bike. The Second World War caused considerable damage in the village and the bombing of the liberating American army had left a lasting impression on the population which had been forced to take refuge in the bunkers at the entrance of the village. Located on the bank of Wickerschwihr, these bunkers are still visible.
A German anti-tank gun January 23, 1945 beside the river outside the town

World War II was disastrous for Ostheim. Located in the “Colmar Pocket” (“Poche de Colmar”) and shelled for almost two months, from November 1944 to January 1945 in order to free the passage over the River Fecht (bitterly defended by the Germans), Ostheim was totally destroyed and its inhabitants evacuated to the surrounding area. The village was awarded the 1939-1945 Military Cross (Croix de Guerre).
The houses built since the war now obscure the church, the ruins of which are shown behind the tank.
The ruins of the church serve as a memorial to the town's liberators. As with the next photo, a stork's nest continues to be enjoy the same location then and now.
A light tank of the 12th Armoured Division in what's now the Place de la République February 5, 1945 and today. The Witch's Tower, built in the 13th to the 15th centuries to serve as a gaol sports a stork's nest in both photos. During the time of Nazi annexation, a Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalt (National Political Institute of Education, NEPA, popularly known as Napola) was housed in a former sanatorium of the city from October 1940.


The victory monument in June 1940 draped with the German war ensign and today. In 1916 the Germans tried to ’bleed the French dry’ in a battle that lasted for 10 months and which brought France to the verge of collapse. Both sides lost tens of thousands of soldiers. To reduce the pressure on Verdun, a joint Anglo-French attack was launched on the Somme. Tanks were employed for the first time but the offensive was a fiasco. On the first day of the battle alone, the British lost 60,000 men, killed, wounded or missing. By the end of 1916, casualties on both sides were horrendous. 
Between them both sides lost half a million men and how many still lie buried in that charnel soil may never be known. Verdun remained in French hands. For the French it was a magnificent victory, but one that had almost shattered their army. For the Germans it was their first undeniable setback, a heavy blow to the morale of both army and people.
Howard (77) The First World War
German victory march past the Memorial to Victory in June, 1940 and after the Anglo-American liberation of France

Nearby the Monument Maginot, erected to the memory of politician and soldier André Maginot and inaugurated in 1935. Maginot had served in the French army during the Great War and was badly wounded near Verdun – an event depicted in the sculptured group placed in front of the central symbolic shield. Maginot served as Minister of War three times between 1922 and 1932 and was the principal advocate of a new line of impregnable defences against a future German invasion, completed after his death and which bore his name. In the event, of course, the Germans bypassed the Maginot Line in 1940 as shown on the right.

 This nearby village was destroyed during the Great War. It is home to less than a dozen people but is famous for the terrible battle that took place there from March to October 1916 and for its military ossuary of the Great War. It became a target again of the Germans in the Second World War. Today the Douaumont Ossuary, which contains the remains of more than 100,000 unknown soldiers of both French and German nationalities found on the battlefield, stands high above the landscape. It is a monument to the soldiers of the Battle of Verdun of 1916, designed in the aftermath of the armistice of 1918 at the initiative of Bishop Charles Ginisty of Verdun. Inaugurated on August 7, 1932 by the French President, it is made out to be the site of one of the symbols of Franco-German friendship as symbolised by the handshake of François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl on September 22, 1984. It was classified as an historic monument on May 2, 1996.  Opposite the ossuary, the national necropolis of Douaumont gathers 16,142 graves of French soldiers, mostly Catholic, including a square of 592 stelae of Muslim soldiers.

President Raymond Poincaré visiting Munster, badly damaged during the Great War, on Tuesday August 19, 1919. The whole region around Munster suffered grievously from the First and Second World Wars; Munster itself had been destroyed by up to 85% during the Great War and the commune was decorated on November 2, 1921 with the Croix de Guerre 1914-1918, and in July 1948 with the Croix de Guerre 1939-1945. the Anglo-Americans allowed Munster to be liberated by the Zouaves of the 9th regiment on February 5, 1945
The church at Lauterbourg, seen from across the road from the hotel where I stayed at whilst watching France defeat Germany in the semi-Finals of the Euro 2016 championships.  It is the easternmost commune in Metropolitan France (excluding the island of Corsica), across from the German town of Neulauterburg. In the crossfire between France and Germany in numerous wars, it had originally been developed in the early 18th century, into a French fortification of the Lauter-line, defined as the border of France in the Congress of Vienna of 1815. On August 13, 1793, it was the site of a battle of the War of the First Coalition.  After the Franco-Prussian War of 1871, Lauterbourg passed to the German Empire. Lauterbourg was now developed industrially and attached to a railway line. After World War I, the town passed to the French Third Republic. In the 1930s, Lauterbourg was in an uncomfortable position between the Maginot and Siegried-lines. Its population was evacuated immediately upon the outbreak of World War II. In May 1940, the lower town was destroyed completely. Part of its population returned to Lauterbourg in 1942. There was an attempt at taking Lauterbourg on December 15, 1944 by the US 79th Infantry Division, who were forced to hold out against Operation Nordwind until the German offensive was stopped on January 25, 1945. Lauterbourg was taken by the French 1st Army and U.S. VI Corps on March 19, 1945 after assaulting the Siegfried Line fortifications in the Bienwald during a week of heavy combat.  The town was rebuilt after the war in a rudimentary fashion.

Boulay (Bolchen)
Shown during the German occupation when Place de la République was Platz des Führers. On August 9, 1870, the Battle of Boulay took place during the Franco-German War of 1870, when the 2nd Hussars regiment was engaged. Like the other communes of the present department of the Moselle, the town of Boulay was annexed to the German Empire from 1871 to 1918. In 1871, the commune of Boulay, or "Bolchen", became a sub-prefecture of Bezirk Lothringen Within the Reichsland Elsass-Lothringen. During the First World War, the Bolshoi conscripts, like most Mosellans, fought under the colours of the German Empire. Boulay became French again in 1918. At the time of the second annexation, the municipality was renamed "Bolchen" and became the seat of the "Landkreis Bolchen". Much of the city was destroyed by the Americans in November 1944, during the progression of Patton's Third Army to the Saar. Thus, the old town hall of Boulay, built in the 18th century, place de la Vendée, was destroyed on 8 November 1944 by an Anglo-American bombardment. The city was eventually liberated by the Anglo-American liberators on November 27, 1944.

German forces occupied Arles when they took over all of France including its "free zone" administered by the Vichy Government in November 1942 as a precaution when the allies invaded North Africa. Within the the months before the allied landing in Southern France in August 1944 a large number of bombing raids were carried out by the allies in order to destroy railway lines and stations and cut the bridges across the Rhone to hinder the German retreat. Arles had endured eight raids between June 25th and August 15th which inflicted great damage to the buildings and a considerable number of civilian deaths. Van Gogh's Maison Jaune was destroyed (see below) as most of the bridges along the Rhone were bombed. The bombing was actually carried out by groups from the Free French Airforce - thus ironically by Frenchmen themselves - flying American B26 Marauder medium bombers. As the Germans retreated up the west bank of the Rhone this had been quite unnecessary.
One such bridge in Arles which remains destroyed is the so-called Lion Bridge. The plaque on its façade reads
The bridge was built in 1868 to allow trains of the PLM company [Paris-Lyon Marseille] to link Arles to Lunel cross the Rhone river, which is already quite wide at this point. This line in particular was dedicated to dispatch the coal produced in the Cevennes mountains.  The bridge was destroyed on the 6th of August 1944, during a bombing.  All that remains of the bridge are its pillars and imposing sculptured lions. The lion sculptures are the work of Pierre Louis Rouillard.
The pillars remain standing 
Van Gogh's Trinquetaille Bridge 1888, since replaced after being bombed during the war- note the tree in both
Maison Jaune 
The Maison Jaune, also the subject of Van Gogh, didn't survive the bombing and no longer exists. The place without the house looks almost the same. Although Van Gogh's building is gone a placard on the scene commemorates its former existence.
Marshal Petain and Admiral Darlan in front of the Town Hall with Petain's portrait on the façade when France was fighting the British and Americans in North Africa. By 1945 they had switched sides and Petain had been replaced with the portraits of Churchill, FDR, Stalin and, protecting national sensibilities, de Gaulle.
Arles amphitheatre 
Petain's image displayed at the amphitheatre. The central photograph shows German officers in 1944.
Bombed during the war with wife and son at the reconstructed spot today.

The Maison Carrée ("square house") during the Nazi occupation and today. It is the best preserved Roman temple façade to be found anywhere in the territory of the former Roman Empire. In around 4-7 CE it was dedicated or rededicated to Gaius Caesar and Lucius Caesar, grandsons and adopted heirs of Augustus who both died young. The inscription dedicating the temple to Gaius and Lucius was removed in medieval times. However, a local scholar, Jean-François Séguier, was able to reconstruct the inscription in 1758 from the order and number of the holes on the front frieze and architrave, to which the bronze letters had been affixed by projecting tines. According to Séguier's reconstruction, the text of the dedication read: "To Gaius Caesar, son of Augustus, Consul; to Lucius Caesar, son of Augustus, Consul designate; to the princes of youth." During the 19th century the temple slowly began to recover its original splendour, due to the efforts of Victor Grangent. Architecture Front view  Maison Carrée is an example of Vitruvian architecture. Raised on a 2.85 metre-high podium, the temple dominated the forum of the Roman city, forming a rectangle almost twice as long as it is wide, measuring 26.42 metres by 13.54 metres The façade is dominated by a deep portico or pronaos almost a third of the building's length. It is a hexastyle design with six Corinthian columns under the pediment at either end, and pseudoperipteral in that twenty engaged columns are embedded along the walls of the cella. Above the columns, the architrave is divided by two recessed rows of petrified water dripping into three levels with ratios of 1:2:3. On three sides the frieze is decorated with fine ornamental relief carvings of rosettes and acanthus leaves beneath a row of very fine dentils. 
Before and after its restoration
Germans marching past the former theatre which was destroyed by fire in 1952. Only its remarkable ionic colonnade was preserved and relocated to the Caissargues rest area on the A54 between Nîmes and Arles.
The Arena of Nîmes is a Roman amphitheatre built around 70 CE. As the Roman Empire fell, the amphitheatre was fortified by the Visigoths and was surrounded by a wall. During the turbulent years that followed the collapse of Visigoth power in Hispania and Septimania, not to mention the Muslim invasion and subsequent conquest by the French kings in the mid eighth century, the viscounts of Nîmes constructed a fortified palace within the amphitheatre. In 737, after failing to seize Narbonne, Charles Martel destroyed a number of Septimanian cities on his way north, including Nîmes and its amphitheatre, as asserted in the Continuations of Fredegar. Later a small neighbourhood developed within its confines, complete with one hundred denizens and two chapels. Seven hundred people lived within the amphitheatre during the apex of its service as an enclosed community. The buildings remained in the amphitheatre until the eighteenth century, when the decision was made to convert the amphitheatre into its present form. 
In front of la fontaine Pradier, inaugurated on the esplanade of Nîmes on June 1, 1851. Built by architect Charles Questel and sculptor James Pradier, it is a monumental fountain in white marble of which the main element, a young woman standing, represents allegorically the city of Nimes. The main statue is surrounded by four seated statues, whose basins collect water. The features reflect the Roman legacy found in the amphitheater and colonnade of the Maison Carree. The four characters, two men and two women, represent the four major rivers of the Nîmes region: Fountain Nimes, mother source of the Roman colony, the Gardon, the Eure Fontaine and the Rhone. Each of these representations is identified by its Latin name engraved on the base: Nemausa, Vardo, Ura and Rhodano.
Frenchmen enthusiastically saluting the occupying Germans in front of the fountain
German soldiers in the Nymphaeum

Aix en Provence

An American signal corps cameraman preparing to film troops