Street name plaques in Paris help us navigate the city, obviously! But additionally, the act of ambulating can give us right insight into Paris’ cultural, artistic and economic history. Basically telling us stories along the way. So taking strolls in the wide streets high up in Paris’ 20th neighbourhood, I was taken aback by its rich, communist, legacy all indicated through its place names.
Between the evening of 9th, to the early hours of 10th November, the month again marks another remembrance anniversary of when over 250 synagogues were burned, and over 7,000 Jewish businesses trashed and looted, killing dozens of Jewish people during a pogrom which became chillingly known as Kristallnacht, the ‘Night of Broken Glass.’
Leaving a particular legacy here on rue Helene Jakubowicz is also where her parents would have lived along with this young resistance fighter, before the 17 year old’s deportation to the gas chambers in Auschwitz. Thankfully though, this macabre past gets somewhat healed in the form of this lacquered blue plaque.
This neighborhood in Paris upper 20th has an air of calm, and you’re almost overlooking the city. In the public square adjacent is Saint Simoniens where Jakubowicz’s memorial plaque too almost overlooks, observing the people as they go about their day to day. Being one of my favourite neighborhoods for its stillness, this is a place where I go to escape the hustle of the bloated city below.