Original photos from VE Day: “La guerre est finis” (“The war is finished”)
I recently acquired this series of photos that had been taken in Paris on VE (Victory in Europe) Day. The images show U.S. intelligence officer Lewis J. Nescott smiling and enjoying the city’s sights. I enjoyed the images, in part because of the handwritten captions, but also because they capture an incredible day. You can easily imagine the joy and relief that had to have permeated in the air when you read things like “… all the Parisian fountains were turned on today for the first time since the war” or “… the American, Russian, French and English flags have just been hoisted …”
Regarding the date: The “act of military surrender” was first signed at 02:41 on May 7 in Reims, and a slightly modified document was signed on May 8 in Berlin. European countries celebrate VE Day on May 8.
Note: I can’t say this with certainty, but I found a record of a Lewis Nescott from Webster, Pennsylvania who would have been 31 years old at the time these photos were taken. If the record I found showed information on the correct Lewis Nescott, I’m happy to say he lived to the age of 93!
Update Jan. 4, 2020: I received an email from a woman from the Chicago area named Adrienne. Lewis was her father! She had one small correction to the information above: Lewis lived to 79. His wife (Adrienne’s mother) lived to the age of 96. I’ve offered to send the original photos to her. Stay tuned for more!