Please help identify the scene. Who are the officers? Is this Paris after Germany's invasion?

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  • 1
    What picture? Unless it is just me, I don't see a picture or a link. Oct 20, 2015 at 14:25
  • 6
    Can't help with the persons, but since the germans don't wear weapons any more, the picture was taken after they did surrender. The person on the right holding a gun (?) seems to be part of a militia, not a regular soldier. Maybe, the picture was be taken in a city that wasn't liberated by regular troops? NB the picture wasn't embedded correctly by the OP, but my edit to make it visible isn't approved yet...
    – tohuwawohu
    Oct 20, 2015 at 14:27
  • 2
    It's supposed to be just post-liberation of Paris, outside the Opera house. The officers aren't identified in any copies I've managed to find. These are some of the officers who surrendered along with Von Choltitz.
    – CGCampbell
    Oct 20, 2015 at 14:46
  • 4
    The modern view of this location
    – Henry
    Oct 20, 2015 at 15:41
  • 1
    @TylerDurden or, from what we know, a member of the French Communist Party...
    – SJuan76
    Oct 20, 2015 at 18:32

2 Answers 2


I'm afraid I cannot identify the specific officers in the photo, nor the exact date this photo was taken. However, I can provide at least one firm answer to your question. And I may be able to help "identify the scene," as you put it.

This photo was definitely taken in Paris. Specifically, on Rue Auber, adjacent to the southwest corner of the Palais Garnier. There is a link to the latest Google Streetview of this location at the end of my reply. I think you'll find the Palais Garnier hasn't changed much since 1875, althought the road and surrounding buildings certainly have.

I can perhaps offer a little more evidence that it was taken in France, and most likely in late August of 1944.

On the building on the background, I can make out the letters "te Laitiere Magot". I would speculate it says "Societe Laitiere Margot" which would roughly translate to Margot Dairy Company. But I'm not able to confirm such a company existed. In any case, Laitiere is french for creamery or dairy. Magot is a figurine of sorts from the East - probably a reference to a play that was very popular in France during that era, entitled "Les Deux Magots de la Chine".

It's extremely difficult to see in your photo, but the letters "PPF" are marked on the nearest column of the building in the foreground. This almost certainly stands for "Parti Populaire Français" or French Popular Party, which was only active from 1936 to 1945.

The German occupation authorities in Paris commandeered the Hotel Meurice as their headquarters between Septemeber 1940 and August 1944. That hotel is less than a kilometer south of Palais Garnier. So it's certainly not a stretch that the German officers depicted in this photo were being escorted away from that headquarters after Dietrich von Choltitz surrendered the German garrison to the Forces Françaises Libres (Free French Forces). That surrender occured on 25 August 1944. Most of the German staff officers, including von Choltitz, had already been transferred to Trent Park by 29 August 1944. So, I would postulate the photo was probably taken sometime between 25 August and 28 August 1944.

The Free French Forces had a mix of American, British and French made uniforms, which might explain the odd look of the rifle-carrying man on the right of the photo who appears to be escorting the German officers. It's equally possible he was a part of the French Resistance (a.k.a soldiers without uniforms) - many of whom were recruited into the Free French Forces in the 1940's.



This is a photo of the German General Staff taken prisoner during the liberation of Paris in late August 1944. German General Dietrich von Choltitz disobeyed Hitler's order to level the city due to his affection towards the French city. Choltitz surrendered his 17,000 man army to the Allies on August 25, 1944. Therefore, it is probable that Choltitz in not in this photo because he was in captivity already in Trent Park.

French: "Etat-major allemand fait prisonnier à l'Opéra pendant la libération de Paris, fin août 1944," translated to "German General Staff made ​​prisoner at the Opera during the liberation of Paris in late August 1944."

(Source: 2014 film Diplomacy based on factual newspaper evidence)

I'm still trying to find the actual officers in this photo by going through the officers of the 325 Security Division that was in Paris August 1944. (Or other German officers in Paris at this time. I'm going to have to go through books in order to find out.)

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