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Dr. Zeigler and the Secret Hospital

Resistance to the German forces of occupation was a violent and dangerous project. In the larger cities many resistance limited themselves to the publication of pamphlets and posters urging boycotts and other non-violent tactics. In the countryside, the maquis, although poorly armed, used whatever means they could to make life difficult for their occupiers and any collaborators.

Even in Héricourt and its surrounding villages, the maquis used violence against Germans and collaborators. And, as a result, wounded maquis needed to be cared for without arousing the suspicion of the occupiers. Dr. Zeigler, a physician in Héricourt, M. Huckel, a pharmacist, and Elisabeth Matthieu, a young nurse, set up a system of providing care to those who could not be taken to the hospital. Using the parish hall on the street level of the parsonage at Héricourt, Dr. Zeigler would care for maquis injured by gunfire or explosions.

In some cases, it was too dangerous to keep the wounded in town, even in the relative safety of the parsonage. In the case of Robert Chevalley, for example, some wounded maquis had to be moved to outlying villages to protect them from potential informants. Chevalley had been wounded in a botched assassination attempt on a collaborator. Initially taken to the hospital in Héricourt, and guarded by German soldiers, he was “kidnapped” by fellow maquis, hidden in an empty grave in the town cemetery until nightfall, and then transported by wagon to Pastor Marlier’s parsonage in Etobon. There, Zeigler and Huckel could visit him, while Mme. Marlier provided nursing care. Chevalley, although having to suffer an amputation, survived and remained at Etobon until the liberation.

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