Star Crossed: A True Romeo and Juliet Story in Hitler’s Paris

Citadel. Aug. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9780806541440. $27.95. HIST
During the German occupation of Paris, painters, writers, and philosophers continued to produce art, while young adults found ways to resist and survive. Macadam (999) and Worrall (The Very White of Love) delve into the love story of Annette Zelman, a young French Jewish girl and art student at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts, and her boyfriend Jean Jausion, a Catholic poet and member of the Surrealist artist group Les Réverbères. The pair met in the famed Café de Flore, where they were surrounded by influential artists and writers. As Nazi restrictions on Jews tightened, the couple planned to marry, believing it would provide a modicum of protection. After an informant betrayed Zelman, she is swept into the hell of German concentration camps. Jausion joined the French Resistance and was killed searching for Zelman, just as the war neared its end. This harrowing story of love lost is based on interviews and a personal archive of letters and sketches bequeathed to Zelman’s sister, Michele, which gives the story a sense of immediacy and relays the human cost of the war.
VERDICT Readers interested in World War II, French history, the arts, and stories of true love will enjoy this title.
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