Detective for the Lost

Places

1949

War torn Europe

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Places

The Lost Spy takes place in France, Germany and England.  Paris had been saved from annihilation in the waning days of the war by German General Dietrich Von Choltitz who had been instructed by Hitler to leave no religious building or monuments standing. However, Germany was not so lucky. Determined to bring the Reich to its knees, the Fatherland was bombed into almost annihilation by the allies. If you look at the video above - you will see what Berlin looked like in the summer of 1945.  There are also some shots of the Trummerfrau who cleaned and stacked the bricks from the demolished buildings to re-use as building materials.

Two places in Germany featured in the Lost Spy are Karlsruhe and Hamelin.  Much of Karlsruhe's central area, including the palace, was reduced to rubble by Allied bombing during World War II but was rebuilt after the war. Located in the American zone of the post-war Allied occupation, Karlsruhe was home to an American military base, established in 1945. What's interesting about Karlsruhe is that it was visited by Thomas Jefferson during his time as the American envoy to France; when Pierre Charles L'Enfant was planning the layout of Washington, D.C.

Hamelin known for the Tale of the Pied Piper is also featured in The Lost Spy.  During the Second World WarHamelin prison (which is featured in The Lost Spy) was used for the detention of Social DemocratsCommunists, and other political prisoners. Around 200 died here; more died in April 1945, when the Nazis sent the prisoners on long marches, fearing the Allied advance. Just after the war, Hamelin prison was used by British Occupation Forces for the detention of Germans accused of war crimes. Following conviction, around 200 of them were hanged there, including Irma GreseJosef Kramer, and over a dozen of the perpetrators of the Stalag Luft III murders. The prison has since been turned into a hotel.

Two places featured in France are Paris and the Natzweiller- Struthof concentration camp in the foot of the Vosges mountains. In Paris, most of the action takes place on Rue Sevigne in the Marais - the historically Jewish section of Paris. I've stayed on the street with my family and my eye was caught by memorial to the Jewish children deported by the French and eventually murdered by the Nazis. On this street, there was an all girls'  school and many of the 500 children taken from the Marais attended that school. 

The Natzweiler-Struthof was the only concentration camp established by the Nazis on French soil (Drancy and Gurs were transit camps run by the French). It housed mostly political prisoners as part of the SS Nacht und Nebel program which literally means night and fog.  Prisoners were stripped of their identity when entering the camp where they were worked to death and then disappeared without a trace. What's also notorious about this camp -it's where three female SOE agents were burned alive and where 86 Greek Jews were gassed and defleshed for the Anatomy Institute at the Reich University of Strasbourg (both mentioned in The Lost Spy). The infamous Joseph Kramer, the commandant of Auschwitz also got his start there. 

 

 

 

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