Monday, March 15, 2010

In which men step out of the postcard album and start doing things

Not literally but you’ll see what I mean in a second or two

Last week on French TV we were shown a documentary about the rounding up and detention at the Velodrome in Paris of the French Jews during the war. It was very moving, especially as there were survivors participating in the studio. The film about the ‘Vel' d'Hiv Roundup’ has just been released. A young Jewish boy Joseph Weismann, managed to escape. He went to see the making of the film at the Velodrome. He had to go outside at first because he could smell the stench of thousands of people in a confined place for 5 days – it was still on his mind nearly 70 years later! All of the young people that escaped were rebels; a psychologist explained that sometimes it’s good thing to be the one who misbehaves.

Anyway back to the postcard album. The documentary also told us about the people that helped; I know that a lot of people think that the French did nothing during the war, but I can assure you that there were quite a few people quietly making life very difficult for their occupiers. If you look around all over France you’ll see plaques on walls near to where men (and women) were shot during the war. I used to live a few yards away from one, just an ordinary place outside the shops – nothing spectacular. The French citizens who helped the Jews are mentioned on the Wall of Names at the Shoah memorial in Paris.

In my post 'A True Story' in January I mentioned the father of the little girl, Odette, helping Jews to escape from the town where he was mayor. Because of the program last week I wanted to see if I could find his name, Paul Legras de Grandcourt, on the wall. I couldn’t online so I’ll have to go there to look, but I did find this and it’s in English too.

The second man to come out and start doing ‘real' things is Odette’s Uncle Justinien, sorry; Count Justinien de Clary. He took part in the Olympics as a trap shooter back in 1900. He and one of his friends were partly responsible for strange idea of the 1924 Olympics for winter sports….

That was quite an album


Witty Jester said...

nice blog...keep writing

Anji said...

Witty: thanks - keep commenting.

A Lady's Life said...

may parents said the same thing. Even in germany many did not agree with Hitler and feared him
They helped feed the prisoners of war who would otherwise die of hunger.
My parents never spoke bad of germans because of this They said there is good and bad everywhere.