The “Paradis massacre” was a war crime committed by members of the 14th Company, SS Division “Totenkopf” on 27 May 1940 during the Battle of France, at a time when the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was attempting to retreat through the Pas-de-Calais region during the Battle of Dunkirk.
The director of this film grew up in the village of Paradis and tells her story:
“I returned to Paradis to solve a mystery. When the British soldiers were captured and executed in May 1940, two of them miraculously escaped, saved by a young woman at the peril of her own life. Ever since, she was known as “Madame Paradis”.
The land of my childhood has always been haunted by the memory of this tragedy – and still is to this day, according to the old folks. No one ever told me what happened and as a little girl, my imagination came up with all sorts of ghost stories… Today, as a grown-up, I decided to lay these imaginary ghosts to rest.
I met Arthur, a former English soldier who narrowly escaped the massacre, and together, we managed to uncover the historical truth behind the event, the story of the extraordinary adventure of Madame Paradis and the two survivors. They succeeded in bringing a high-ranking SS Officer to justice and brought out into the open what would prove to be the first Nazi war crime of WWII judged in court.”
Festivals and Awards:
* 2016: Official selection FIGRA "Doc in the regions" (30/03 - 02/04/16, Le Touquet, france)
* 2015: Official selection "Foyle Film Festival (Derry), Nov. 18-22 - "LIM Awards Documentary Competition".