Monday, December 21, 2009

the not forgotten and turning a street corner

I turned a corner in Paris and found this film about a female Resistant in the the window..

This plaque to Henri Chevessieur who ran a clandestine printing press in the Passage Gravilliers during the Occupation. The flowers were fresh.

And this plaque where Raymond Legrand lived before he was arrested and deported to Auschwitz.

But how were these people arrested?

Their names came from lists. Lists and files of Jews made by the Germans. Jews who were arrested by the French police and sent to Camp de Pithivier, Camp de Baume-La-Roland French interment camps.

Most were Eastern Europeans Jews, the majority sent to Drancy, the holding camp outside Paris. The transit camp before deportation to Auschwitz.

And this name...end point unknown.

Cara - Tuesday


  1. This kind of stuff, Cara, always makes me very sad when I read it.
    Many years ago, I spent a year bicycling through Europe. I think I saw it better then than I have since. (The state of my eyes may have something to do with that.) My travel mate, and I, were always looking for excuses to get off of those damned bikes. Once, I saw something amidst high grass at the side of a road in France. I pulled over, got off, and found it to be a commemorative stone telling passers-by (none of whom would have ever seen it if they were in a car) that, on that spot, on such-and-such a date, certain people (names and ages listed) had been "cowardly murdered by the bandits of the SS". All that in French, of course.
    I stood there for a while with my head bowed.
    It's been more than forty years since then, but, when I close my eyes, I can always go back to that place.
    Another time, in the Netherlands, just off a high bank, next to a canal, I saw some tombstones half-hidden amidst still another patch of high grass. I got off my bike and went down to read them. The place had been a Jewish cemetery. The last stone was from 1944.
    No one left to bury, no one left to mourn, no one left, even, to care for the grass around the graves.
    Man's inhumanity to man.

  2. Hi Cara, Leighton,

    Both your posts, very touching, very sad.


  3. One of the worst atrocities committed by the Germans against the French was the massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane.

    A few days after the invasion at Normandy, a commander of the Waffen-SS got word that a German soldier was being held by the Resistance in a nearby town. When the Germans arrived at Oradour-sur-Glane, they put all the men in the barns and sheds and shot them in the legs so they couldn't move. Then the set the buildiings on fire.

    The women and children were locked in the church. A device was placed there to destroy the building. As women and children tried to escape through the windows, they were shot.

    Within a few hours, 642 inhabitants of the town had been killed. No German soldier was found there. The German commander was actually told that the soldier was being held at Oradour-sur-Vayres where it was rumored that an officer had been captured by the Maquis the day before.

    After the war, a new town was built near the site of the old one which was left as a memorial.

  4. Susie,

    I walked by one of those plaques every day and it struck me that neither the past nor the victims are forgotten as long we remember. The fresh flowers testify to that.

    And as Beth relates how the ruins of Oradour-sur-Glane are left, as they were in 1944, a testament to what happened.


  5. Cara - I taught history to high school kids for a long time. History is often brought up by education experts (those who have never taught on any level)as a subject that could be set aside so that more time can be given to those math and science classes that are supposed to change the world. They have no idea that the world changes very much for the worse if the mistakes of the past are not examined and the achievements aren't celebrated.


  6. Hi, Cara --

    When you think that the people of East Germany and other countries in the Eastern Bloc went right from the tragic cruelty of the War to the grinding totalitarian inhumanity of so-called communist rule, it's another reason to weep. Three generations, oppressed straight through, and for nothing but to fatten the swine at the top.

    We have problems here (in the West), but we've been blessed.