cover image Star Crossed: A True Romeo and Juliet Story in Hitler’s Paris

Star Crossed: A True Romeo and Juliet Story in Hitler’s Paris

Heather Dune Macadam and Simon Worrall. Citadel, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8065-4144-0

Historian Macadam (999) and journalist Worrall (The Poet and the Murderer) offer a poignant account of the doomed WWII love affair between Annette Zelman, a Jewish student at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and Jean Jausion, a Catholic poet. Zelman, who was born in 1921 in Alsace-Lorraine, had moved with her family to Paris in 1940. There she got involved with Surrealist and Dadaist social scenes, and fell for the like-minded Jausion. Born in 1917, Jausion was the son of a well-off family; his father, a doctor and collaborationist, made an official complaint about the couple’s engagement. When the report reached Theodor Dannecker, the SS officer appointed as “Jewish Advisor” of Paris, he had Zelman arrested and immediately introduced a new law banning intermarriage. Jausion’s father then attempted to negotiate Zelman’s release on the condition that she renounce her intention to marry his son, but she refused; eventually, she was deported to Auschwitz, where she died in 1942. Jausion, a member of the French Resistance, went missing during a fight on the front lines in 1944 and was presumed dead. Drawing on Zelman’s letters, drawings, and diaries, the authors paint an exceptionally vivid portrait of the couple, conveying both their happy courtship and Zelman’s grim struggle for survival in Auschwitz. The result is an evocative depiction of the horrors of the Holocaust. (Aug.)