They could have cleaned the statue of Rober Schumann (1886-1963), not the composer, the statesman. Yesterday, September 4, was the 50th anniversary of his death.
The statue stands in a little park, Square Robert Schumann, close to his Paris home and close to what used to be the NATO headquarters until 1967, when they moved to Belgium. (President De Gaulle was not quite happy with the NATO organization.) Today the buildings are occupied by the Paris Dauphine University. If the statue of Robert Schumann stands here it’s probably because he was the one who signed for France, as Foreign Minister, when NATO was created in 1949.
Robert Schumann’s name is however more especially regarded as one of the founders of the European Union. He was French Prime Minister and Foreign Minister at several occasions during the first years after WWII. Already in 1940 he was a minister until the Nazi occupation. He was arrested, prisoner, but escaped in 1942 and joined the French Resistance. He already then spoke about the Franco-German reconciliation. He was a major element in the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community, which later in different steps have led to what today is the European Union. His European, especially Franco-German, involvement can certainly be explained by the fact that he came from the Lorraine region, where he was born German and became French after WWI.
The park is rather small, but nice, of course especially a sunny summer day.
The park has an immediate neighbor, another park, named after a French General who was killed during WWI, Ernest Anselin (1861-1916), who also was War Minister for a short while. This park, Jardin du Général Anselin, is quite different, to a large part in shadow even a sunny day. Space to play and especially to sit down… but empty despite the lunch hour.