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The War Gets Closer

As Allied troops brought the war into the Franche-Comté, German troops became bolder about entering the village to commandeer food and supplies. By September 15, the people of Etobon could hear the Allied guns from the area of Lure and Vesoul, but the advance of the liberators seemed to have stopped. Instead of continuing to move toward the Rhine river, the progress of liberation was halted, and the villages of the Franche-Comté were still enduring occupation. Jules Perret's journal documents the daily toll that the occupiers took on Etobon:

Friday, September 15

Our men want to join the Americans, but they’re still so far away!  I went up to the Chateau summit this afternoon:  bomb explosions are coming from the plain of Lure.  In climbing up there, I found a comfortable hut in the bramble thicket at La Pianchotte, where four Hindus and the resister Henri Croissant, wounded in the foot, were still camped out.

In the afternoon, while I was at the forge, Germans came to take a heifer from Jules Jacquot’s place.  They paid – does Laval still spend 500 million daily? – killed it with one shot, and took it away in a car covered with leaves.

Besson’s coffin is ready, so we will bury him at nightfall, next to Tournier.  I’m too tired to go.

Saturday, September 16

A German car stopped at Etobon, giving the mayor an order to deliver 24 cows tomorrow to Belfort.  We met at the town hall, discussed, let loose some curses.  Indignant, Mayor Charles Suzette said, “You’re whining because they’re asking for cattle.  In a few days they might be taking men.  And when they shoot them, the mayor will be the first in line!” 

We finished by reaching an agreement.  One of my heifers will be in the group.  At Chenebier, the boches took 24 yesterday and want 12 today.  Are they taking everything before the Americans arrive?

Almost healed, Robert Chevalley, the one from Héricourt, is no longer in hiding.  He tries his first steps in the garden with the help of Charles Perret’s crutches.  René, sick and in bed, is staying at our house.

As for me, while the cannons thunder, I make schnapps with Marcel’s old still.

Sunday, September 17

Fifteen Cossacks stopped for half an hour at Jules Mignerey’s house.  They killed chickens and rabbits, then left. The Americans, after their lightening fast advance, are they running out of gas and ammunition? Two Germans came to our house and leveled their guns at Mama.  They said, “Telephone!” and then left.

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