It has been quite a while since we last wrote about the Police Archives of Paris (here and here). In that time, much has happened. Key has been the making available to the public the vast police archives on collaborators and spies in France during the Second World War.
The cozy and central archives in the fifth arrondissement were shut and the archives were moved to a new building that is almost at the end of Métro line Five, in the unattractive suburb of Le-Pré-Saint-Gervais (the brick building with the arch in the photo above). We got lost numerous times from the Métro station Hoche, but friendly locals gave good directions. The facility has a new name on the door: Le Service de la Mémoire et des Affaires Culturelles, but it is still the police archives. One rings at a security gate to gain entry.
Once inside, one goes through the usual procedures of :
- obtaining a reader's card
- putting all but notes, pencils and possibly camera and computer (no phones) in a locker
- learning to use the finding aids
For this last, we were astounded that the archivist not only explained how to use the finding aids, (which are online and which we offer here: Download Police Finding Aids) but she noted our long list of names, wrote some down and went to her desk to help in the search. This was most extraordinarily kind, we thought. Files are requested electronically, one passes through a door into the reading room and, on the day we were there, anyway, which seemed to be a slow day, the files and boxes were available within five minutes.
We learned much about the thoroughness of the Paris police in pursuing spies and collaborators that day. Not a pretty time in history. If you should happen to be hunting such a one, most are in the section of 77W, with a few being in 1W.
Photocopying services exist but are really very limited. One must have the exact change in coins and many important documents - notably all with the purple ink of carbon copies - may not be copied, so go armed with a good digital camera, for photos of all are permitted.
Archives de la Préfecture de police
Le Service de la Mémoire et des Affaires Culturelles
25-27, rue Baudin
93310 Le Pré Saint-Gervais
Métro Hoche on Line 5
Monday-Friday, 9am - 5pm, without interruption
Great Indian restaurants in the neighbourhood.
©2014 Anne Morddel