Wednesday, 20 September 2017

l’autre moi

We’re again indebted to the brilliant Nag on the Lake for bringing us quite a fascinating biography of two brave and creative individuals whose story and contributions to the resistance went untold with the life and times of step-siblings and life-time partners Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe—also known as Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore.
Pioneering selfie-artists and authors, Cahun and Moore (the other me, as Cahun called her lover) challenged traditional gender roles and honed their identity and craft at a time when the world was going full-on fascist and fled Nazi-occupied Paris for the Channel Islands. Up to this point, their situation reminded me a bit of that of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas during the war but seeing that after resettling in Jersey in 1937, they really stuck their necks out rather than keeping a low-profile as Jewish lesbians might do. Nazi forces invaded the island in 1940 and the two risked their lives with a psy-ops hearts-and-minds campaign to make Nazi soldiers believe that there was a large-scale, professional effort to take back Jersey imminent, aided by a typewriter and translated text to lend credence to their claim and helped with the liberation of the island. They were eventually taken into custody by the secret-police but their stance was enough of a reprieve to stay their punishment until the Axis powers in Europe surrendered.