Tuesday, April 29, 2014



MAY is the time for celebrations in France, too. May 8, of course, and before that May 1st. And before that comes the day when the nation remembers all the victims of deportation during WW2. Résistants, FTP (Francs Tireurs et Partisans), Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals... everyone whose life ended in a concentration camp. 
It is called : Journée Nationale du Souvenir de la Déportation. 

This year, its date was April 27, and in schools throughout the country students were informed of its symbolic value, and made to reflect on the events that justify its being celebrated. 

This year too, in the small town called LE CANNET, near the more famous city of Cannes, a new plaque was put up to honor, not just the victims, but the RIGHTEOUS AMONG THE NATIONS, without whom so many Jewish people would have been among the dead.  The names of those who were given that title in Le Cannet are on the plaque, of course. 

It took a lot of work on the part of the various associations involved, and of course the cooperation of the city council, but eventually it happened, and last Sunday, a very moving ceremony saw the unveiling of the plaque.  

The ceremony started off with a moment of silence (and a few short speeches, too) in front of the first plaque that had been put in the beautiful gardens of the Tivoli. This particular plaque is there thanks to the hard work of the members of an association called AMEJDAM (Association pour la Mémoire des Enfants Juifs Déportés des Alpes Maritimes), who dig into various archives to find the names of the children, and remind the world that these children were once alive in this city, as in others. In Le Cannet, the youngest victim, Nicole Mittelstein, was only 16 months old...

Of course, all the elements of such ceremonies were there, and as usual wreathes of flowers were laid down by the "Monument aux morts". 

AMEJDAM's was a pink one.

May the righteous and the victims never be forgotten. 


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Thanks for sharing this, Cathie. It is important to make time to remember these wartime events.


Thursday, 01 May, 2014  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Britain also remembers the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, as well as the 'Righteous Gentiles' who risked their own lives to save those persecuted by the Nazis in Occupied Europe during WW2. One of the largest ever gatherings of Holocaust survivors was held in London on Monday 5 May 2014.

As an event of international importance, this gathering was covered by the national and international media. One Holocaust survivor who was interviewed by the BBC radio reporter Sarah Montague was Janine Webber. During the war, Janine was one of 14 Jewish people hidden away in a hole underneath a stable floor for a year by a Polish man. As a Holocaust survivor, Janine Webber believes it is important to speak to others - and especially the young - about those times.

This is a transcription from the interview:

"Most of my family perished. My father was shot and my grandmother, who was hiding in the loft, was killed - maybe they threw her down the ladder. My mother died in the Ghetto, of typhus.

My aunt had given me the name of a Polish man who I eventually found. He hid 14 of us in a hole in his stable floor for a year. There was no room to move my legs. When I came out I couldn't walk, but eventually I recovered.

I think it is very important for me to speak to young people. It is important for people to realise where it can lead when one is intolerant and prejudice against people who are a different religion or skin colour."
What can one say about the horrors of the Holocaust?
"May the Righteous and the victims never be forgotten."

Monday, 05 May, 2014  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

To listen to Sarah Montague's interview with Janine Webber, click on the following link:
BBC radio interview with Holcaust survivor Janine Webber

Monday, 05 May, 2014  

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