Monday, 24 February 2020
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‘As long as the AfD is legal, racism is legal’: Far-right party condemned as Germany struggles to combat extremism

Added: 22.02.2020 16:48 | 28 views | 0 comments

As Germany‘s president expressed his sympathy and shock during a candlelight vigil for nine people killed by an immigrant-hating gunman, a woman called out from the crowd, demanding action, not words. But the country’s leaders are struggling to figure out how to counter a recent rise in right-wing hate, 75 years after the Nazis were driven from power. The shooting rampage on Wednesday that began at a hookah (smoking) bar in the Frankfurt suburb...

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Lee Miller: The Inspiration Behind Jessica May

Added: 21.02.2020 23:32 | 3 views | 0 comments

As I mention in the Author’s Note at the back of The Paris Orphan, I first heard of Lee Miller when I was researching my previous book, . There was a throwaway line in an article that mentioned Miller and other female war correspondents who, after World War II had ended, had not been able to continue working as serious journalists because the men had returned from overseas and taken all of the available jobs.

It caught my attention. What would it have been like to report on a war and then come home to America and be assigned completely different work? After the war, Lee Miller was relegated to photographing fashion or celebrities during the winter season at Saint-Moritz. She was also an occasional contributor of recipes for Vogue.

That article was the start of my fascination with her. I went looking for more. And I found a story so incredible I couldn’t help but be inspired by it.

Miller the Photojournalist

Miller was a photojournalist for Vogue during World War II. She took some extraordinary photographs: she stumbled upon the battle for Saint-Malo in France and photographed the U.S. Army’s first use of napalm there. She reported from Paris, Luxembourg, Alsace, Colmar, Aachen, Cologne, Frankfurt and Torgau, among other places. She was one of the first to document the horrors of the Dachau concentration camp. And she was the subject of an iconic photograph, bathing in Hitler’s bathtub in his Munich apartment, having left her filthy boots to drop the dirt of Dachau, as she put it, all over the Fuhrer’s pristine white bathroom.

Miller the Model

But Lee Miller started on the other side of the lens. She was discovered by Condé Nast on the streets of Manhattan and became a famous model for magazines like Vogue during the 1920s. I decided to use this as the starting point for my character, Jessica May, as I was fascinated by that transition. How did a woman who was so obviously beautiful manage in the male and often chauvinistic environment of an army during a war?

Just as Condé Nast discovers Lee Miller, he also discovers Jess in The Paris Orphan and Jess is one of his favorite models, as Miller was. However, to suit my story better, I moved time forward to begin Jess’s modeling career in the early 1940s.

Miller’s modeling career ended when a photograph of her was used by Kotex in an advertisement for sanitary pads. It’s so hard to imagine that this could end a career, but it did. To be seen as the “Kotex Girl” was a stigma so dreadful that no magazine wanted to use pictures of Miller again. So Miller moved to France, where she became Man Ray’s lover. He helped her develop her photography skills and she became a well-regarded surrealist photographer.

I used these elements when creating Jess’s character too. Jess has to stop modeling after a photograph of her is used by Kotex, Jess has a French photographer as a lover, and solarization is a trademark of her work, as it was Miller’s.

The Intersection of Fiction and Reality

Miller actually reported for British Vogue during the war, although many of her pieces appeared in American Vogue too. For ease of the story, I have Jess working for American Vogue in The Paris Orphan.

Jess follows in Miller’s footsteps in The Paris Orphan, working out of a field hospital when she first arrives in France after D-Day. I have given the room used by Lee Miller at the Hotel Scribe in Paris to Jess, complete with a balcony piled high with fuel cans and an acquaintance with Picasso. Miller is called la femme soldatby the joyful Parisians after the city is liberated, as is Jess. Miller stays at Hitler’s apartment in Munich and is photographed in Hitler’s bath, as is Jess in The Paris Orphan.

After the War

One of the most heartbreaking parts of Miller’s story is what happened to her after the war. She suffered from post-traumatic stress after viewing and recording so many horrors, and she tried to forget that she was ever a witness to war and all its atrocities. So effective was she at excising this from her past that, when she died at age seventy, her son, Roland Penrose, had no idea of what she had done during the war. Her work was largely forgotten.

One day, Penrose’s wife found boxes of photographs and films in the attic at Farley Farm, Miller’s home. They contained Miller’s correspondence with her Vogue editor and wartime paraphernalia. Penrose immediately understood that he had made an incredible discovery, that his mother had been a true artist, and that her words and pictures had—once upon a time, until she let the world forget them—meant something.

He resurrected Lee Miller and her work. She is now widely regarded as one of the world’s preeminent war correspondents and photographers. The idea that she had been all but forgotten haunted me, and this inspired the scenes set in contemporary times in The Paris Orphan, when D’Arcy Hallworth finds an attic full of photographs and an extraordinary legacy that should never have been lost to the past.

[Ticker] Germans voice anger on rise of far-right terrorism

Added: 21.02.2020 6:18 | 4 views | 0 comments

Vigils in Hanau, Berlin, and Frankfurt for victims of the shooting in Germany by a far-right fanatic voiced anger that the government was not doing enough to combat extremism. The Kon-Med association of Kurds in Germany said it was "furious" that authorities were "not resolutely opposing right-wing networks and right-wing terrorism". Germany had the second highest number of far-right terrorism alerts (eight) after France (32) in Europol's 2019 threat report.

Gunman in Germany shooting allegedly had racist manifesto

Added: 21.02.2020 3:20 | 1 views | 0 comments

German authorities said a gunman in a deadly attack near Frankfurt was driven by racism. He killed nine strangers, mostly immigrants, before killing his mother and himself. Seth Doane reports.


Eye Opener: Democrats take aim at Michael Bloomberg

Added: 20.02.2020 13:20 | 4 views | 0 comments

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg stumbled at his first Democratic debate, as his fellow candidates went on the attack. Also, 10 people were killed in a shooting rampage at two hookah bars near Frankfurt, Germany. All that and all that matters in today’s Eye Opener. Your world in 90 seconds.


Gunman kills 9 at hookah bars near Frankfurt, Germany

Added: 20.02.2020 13:20 | 1 views | 0 comments

The alleged gunman who attacked two hookah lounges in Germany on Wednesday had extremist right-wing views, according to federal prosecutors. They are now reviewing a manifesto that used Nazi era terminology, Seth Doane reports.


Gunman kills nine in two locations near Frankfurt, Germany

Added: 20.02.2020 7:32 | 2 views | 0 comments

His body and another person's were found in an apartment near the crime scenes. The people were shot in and outside two hookah lounges, police said.


Shooting near Frankfurt leaves several dead

Added: 20.02.2020 2:29 | 0 views | 0 comments

Several people are dead after a mass shooting in a city near Frankfurt. There are reports that victims were shot at two separate hookah lounges.


Eight people killed in shootings near Frankfurt, police giving chase

Added: 20.02.2020 0:35 | 0 views | 0 comments

Eight people were killed on Wednesday in two shooting incidents in a German city near Frankfurt and special forces were chasing the gunmen who fled in a car, police said.


Eight people killed in shootings near Frankfurt, police giving chase

Added: 20.02.2020 0:35 | 16 views | 0 comments

Eight people were killed on Wednesday in two shooting incidents in a German city near Frankfurt and special forces were chasing the gunmen who fled in a car, police said.


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