by Anne Sebba
Slowly, the terms of the armistice began to sink in. The French had to pay for the 300,000-strong German Army of Occupation, amounting to twenty million Reichsmarks per day, paid at the artificial exchange rate. This was fifty times the actual costs of the occupation garrison. The French government was also made responsible for preventing citizens from fleeing into exile. Germany took almost two million French soldiers as prisoners of war – one of whom was Jean Herz, son of Bernard – and sent them to work in Germany. In Paris itself it took little time for new, bold black German signage to appear, with enormous swastikas displayed on the grand boulevards as well as flying from key public buildings such as the Chambre des Députés and the Sénat. On the streets German soldiers patrolling with bulldogs replaced elegant ladies window-shopping with poodles, while the best hotels and houses were swiftly requisitioned and thousands of hotel and restaurant staff were suddenly required to serve Germans.