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WWII events reach my family today

Discussion in 'WWII Today' started by chocapic, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. chocapic

    chocapic Member

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    Something has just happened, looks like WWII's hand came out from the past to knock at my door.

    My mother was born in 1936, during WWII, her parents sent her to a small village in SW of France were she was born in the 1st place and where her grandfather lived, it was a very rural and remote place which was supposed to remain quiet...and her parents thought it would be a safer place for her.

    Anyway, in this village area they hid Jews on the run, moving families from place to place, most people in the village knew pretty well about this, for example Jew children went to school, so the teacher knew (some Jews were French,other were coming from foreign countries like Austria).

    My grandmother's father was a doctor, which was very handy because he had some fuel tickets allowing him to use a car, and also could travel at night without being much bothered. He helped the Jews hidden in the area, as long as a pretty big resistance network also hiding in the area.

    She recalls that not a single Jew got caught during the whole war.

    Last week (!!!!) a guy phoned my mother, at the time he was a Jew hiding there with is father (and mother ?) 2-3 years older than my mother is, of course they more or less recall each other because he spent almost the whole war in the village (at this time I think there were less than 300 inhabitants).

    He explained he is now filling a case to obtain a "Righteous" status for my grandmother's father, along with some other people from the village who contributed to hide and protect Jews from the French and German governments.

    He had trouble to track her back because it was may mother's grandfather on the mother side so they don't have the same lastname.

    He'll meet my mother to discuss next week, in the meantime she has to find some old papers and names to help him fill the case, and also help filling case of the other people who helped the Jews but have no more relatives to take care of the case today.

    I had not heard of this "Righteous" status before, for those like me, read more there : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Righteous_Among_the_Nations this looks like a serious thing, I hope this is not a sect or extremist thing, but it looks pretty much OK.

    That's fun because I've always been interested into WWII, and I feel that now WWII got interested in me lol.

    Of course, it's history, and I have nothing to do with the good things he did and don't even know what I would have do in his place :)

    Anyway, this lead my mother to tell me a war story.

    In this village area, there were many resistants (the Lemance valley network but I'm not sure).

    In 1944, on mother's day (which BTW was a creation of Vichy government) a company form the SS Das Reich division arrived in the village, they gathered ALL MEN BETWEEN 18 (or 20 she's not sure) AND 60 and deported them. they were sent in concentration camps (she says it was Dachau but she's not sure), many of them did not return.

    This action has no relation with Jews (the SS had no idea there were Jews in the area) it was reprisal action against local population because of the resistance network.

    The SS bastard murderers (including many french BTW) searched the houses for weapons, but the Jews were hidden in remote farms or were women or children so they were not asked for ID, they checked the ID of adult males in order to determine if they were between 18/20 and 60 years old;

    My grandmother's father shoudl have been taken away had the German properly checked his gage, because he was a few months under 60, but it looks like they only checked the year of birth (not the day and month) !

    My mother told me 2 details, the SS felt embarrassed to put the village's priest in the trucks, but he asked to go with the other men and survived.

    2nd detail : the SS caught a milician in the village (the "milice" was a french pro german paramilitary organisation ) the guy said they had to leave him because he was on their side, and a SS officer told "you're a bad French, you'll go with the rest". During the trip or on arrival, the other prisonners threw him on wire fences and he died.

    Less than one month later, the Das Reich coward assassins SS would commit the infamous Oradour sur Glane manslaughter.

    My mother never allowed me nor my brother to make her any present on mother's day.
     
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  2. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    A very intersting story. If I remember correctly there was a ceremony in Paris only a few months ago when 3000 Frenchmen who saved Jews got the status of "Righteous" (like Oskar Schindler) , something to be proud of. I hope the next ceremony will include your mother. I think authorities were considering issueing a stamp too.
     
  3. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Skipper is right, interesting indeed!!!
     
  4. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Frightening times indeed.
     
  5. chocapic

    chocapic Member

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    Frightening indeed. Had this SS made the same thing they did a little later, slaughtering the whole village Eastern front style, my 7 years old mother would have been murdered, and I won't be posting today...

    It's an honour for my grand-grandfather, not for my mother who was too young to actively take part in this.

    And of course, not for me who wasn't even born. I have no merit, for the same reason why people are not liable for what their ancestors did.

    Anyway, it's moving to see this kid at the times, old man now, who wants to leave a testimony in order to honour the memory of the people who hid and saved him during the war.

    BTW his name was Baud, and the name of the village is Lacapelle-Biron.

    It's high time I talk with my mother about the fate of other family members during the war, starting with my grandparents, should have done this earlier.

    @Skip : can you please confirm the righteous thing stands for "justes" and if it's a serious thing ?
     
  6. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Chocapic, here is a link of the June 8th ceremony at the Pantheon with Jacques Chirac and Simone Weil . About 2693 "Righteous" have been identified there and recognised as such by Israel . For those who do not speak French there is a great picture with photographs of some of those who owe their lives to these brave people. I will try to find out if there is a stamp.


    http://www.liberation.fr/actualite/societe/229587.FR.php
     
  7. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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  8. White Flight

    White Flight Member

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    Marvelous. That is absolutely great. Thanks for sharing!
     
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  9. chocapic

    chocapic Member

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    Thanks for answers, this righteous status looks very serious.

    If I understand correctly, this person will send a testimony and some proofs to the "commission".

    I've got no idea how long can this take, but I promise I will post here when there will be something new.
     
  10. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    This is the stamp + the explantion that go with it. It's a great distinction and its famous throughout the World.


    [​IMG]
     
  11. chocapic

    chocapic Member

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    Thanks alot Skip!

    We'll see what comes out of this.
     
  12. Otto

    Otto No More Half Measures Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    What a great sequence of events. You must be very proud of your family chocapic! Please keep us informed about this story.

    Thread pinned. ;)
     
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  13. chocapic

    chocapic Member

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    Thanks Otto!

    Tiny update : the person has filed the case, sent it to another "survivor" who lives now in Australia to check if there were some corrections to be done, and then handed it over to the "Righteous Office" in Paris.

    I have no idea how long it will take from now.

    He also gave a copy to my mother, so I'll be able to read it soon, I'll keep you informed.
     
  14. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    We"ll cross our fingers and hope the positive results will find her asap.
     
  15. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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  16. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Za, go to the Righteous Among The Nations website and read about Denmark getting nearly every single Danish Jew out of the country and into Sweden.


    What suprised me is that the country that has the second most recipients of the title RATN is one of the smaller countries, The Netherlands. Poland is first.
     
  17. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    It took courage when it was so much easier just to look the other way.
     
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  18. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Not many people know about the Righteous. It's a higly honorable distinction.
     
  19. Kerem

    Kerem Member

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    But you have every reason to be proud of them. It is a great feeling to know that humanity existed it the darkest years of mankind. It gives you the hope that there will be people who will jeopardize their lives for the good of other people; someday, somewhere.
     
  20. chocapic

    chocapic Member

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    Interesting news, I got a copy of the file he sent to the Righteous commission.

    It comes in the form of a 4 pages manuscript letter, with 3 pages of addendums and a page of photographs.

    I will post here a translated summary, but it’s a long work for me, so I’ll cut this in a few parts.

    For privacy reasons, I won’t write names, except for my grandfather’s father, Dr Baud, for whom I take it on my behalf.

    Some facts are different from what I initialy posted, I will therefore correct them.

    This are personal recollections of the facts at the time, and also family conversations with the family in the following years.

    He starts with a family background.

    His father, Mr H. S-B was born in Romanian and was a tailor apprentice, he went to France when he was 18-19 years old, where he married, gave birth to the writer in 1934 and he opened his taylor shop in Paris in 1938.

    First correction about what I thought, his father was Jew, but not his mother, nor him and his sister.

    In summer 1940, considering the arrival of the Germans, the family (father mother brother sister) decided to flee and went to Lacapelle Biron village, where his aunt’s cousin, Mr L. housed them in his farm.

    It’s a small village, with other even smaller villages nearby, which even today is still a very remote and rural place. At the time most activity was agricultural.

    In addition to H. S-B and his family, there were other Jews hiding in this group of villages, the R. family, the W. family and Miss B.

    The family lived together here, and his father was able to feed the family by continuing his taylor job, until 1943, when two policemen arrived one morning before 6.

    Hearing them knock on the door, his father fled through another door and into a nearby derelict « warehouse » full of junk, whose owner had previously gave him the key, and hid there.

    His mother opened the door, the officer was really zealous, the non officer was blatantly not motivated with his mission.

    The officer made a very meticulous search of the 2 stories house + cellar, found nothing and told to his mother that if her husband did not surrender by himsel, they would arrest her.

    His mother silently interrogated the non officer standing behind his chief, and he negatively nodded, from this point, she knew she won’t be arrested.

    As soon as the policemen left, his father ran randomly on the road, toward the nearby microscopic village of Moulinal.

    Mr B who was standing on the side of the road asked him what was the matter, his father explained, and Mr B replied : « Enter » and housed him in the farm he lived in with his wife in Moulinal.

    I’ll translate more when I’ll have time.
     

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