In June 1940, Paris fell to the Nazis who made the world’s cultural capital their favourite entertainment ground. Music halls and cabarets thrived during the occupation, providing plenty of work for actors, singers and musicians except for the Jews. The likes of Maurice Chevalier and Edith Piaf, who had entertained the French troops, now unabashedly provided amusement to the Germans.
After the invasion of France, those artists still in Paris had to find ways to survive. Although Matisse and others kept out of view, Picasso could not avoid Nazi visitors. A few, like Beckett, joined the Resistance. Some were arrested and died in German hands. Others entertained the enemy. The theatres reopened, the movie cameras rolled, galleries sold paintings looted from Jewish families, pro-German writers and their rivals fought in print. Told through the experiences of renowned creative figures and witnesses of the times, And the Show Went On is an authoritative account of how Paris’s artistic world lived through the Occupation during which some suffered Nazi oppression while others prospered through collaboration.