This 1918 French poster is part of a series of illustrations produced by the artist Victor Prouvé. It shows civilians from the occupied territories of France arriving in Switzerland. During the First World War, the occupations of France and Belgium were a difficult time for civilians. People were malnourished, submitted to harsh treatments and threatened to be deported to Germany to work for the enemy’s war effort. Repatriations to Switzerland were organised to evacuate civilians who were considered as a burden by German authorities. Once in France, these repatriated civilians had to face the hostility of their fellow countrymen who considered them as collaborators and called them Les boches du Nord [Huns from the North].
- Article by:
- Peter Gatrell
Professor Peter Gatrell examines the upheaval and struggles faced by millions of European civilians who were made refugees – either by enemy occupation or by the state’s forcible deportation – during World War One.