Laure Humbert explores how humanitarian aid in occupied Germany was influenced by French politics of national recovery and Cold War rivalries. She examines the everyday encounters between French officials, members of new international organizations, relief workers, defeated Germans and Displaced Persons, who remained in the territory of the French zone prior to their repatriation or emigration. By rendering relief workers and Displaced Persons visible, she sheds lights on their role in shaping relief practices and addresses the neglected issue of the gendering of rehabilitation. In doing so, Humbert highlights different cultures of rehabilitation, in part rooted in pre-war ideas about 'overcoming' poverty and war-induced injuries and, crucially, she unearths the active and bottom-up nature of the restoration of France's prestige. Not only were relief workers concerned about the image of France circulating in DP camps, but they also drew DP artists into the orbit of French cultural diplomacy in Germany.
Claire Eldridge - University of Leeds
Lynne Taylor - University of Waterloo
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