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The Round-Up

All the men from 16 to 60 were ordered by the Germans to assemble in the village school on the morning of September 27. Jules Perret joined them, but slipped out and hid. His memoir continues:

"In the village, people are worried, especially for the seventeen men set apart as “suspects.”   What’s in store for them?  Do they have any idea?  The Guemann brothers gave their sister all the money they had on them.  “We won’t be needing this.”  Charles called out several times to his daughter Denise:  “Kiss me once more.  You’ll never see me again.”  And H. Croissant, thinking of his fiancée, wrote with the point of a nail on the classroom wall where the “suspects” were locked up, “Goodbye, Germaine, my angel, H.C.”  and he drew a heart next to the words.

In all, they rounded up 75 men.  We don’t know why, but the commanding officer sent eight back.  Several didn’t show up, claiming illness.  M. Pernol hid in the steeple.  Marcel Goux also hid.  He crouched behind the woodpile that’s squeezed into his telephone room and stayed there until evening.  Before he took off, he heard Jacques and René, coming back from the toilets, saying “No, there’s no way …”  Without a doubt, they were talking about escaping.  They must have seen all the Cossack guards.

Sixty-seven men left, including our Pastor – who will be deported {to Buchenwald} – surrounded by the Cossacks.  Mama cries on the church steps.  When she gives her son a leather overcoat and a flask of schnapps, he says to her, “Why such a long face?  We’re going to dig trenches.  Don’t be so sad!”  “Goodbye, my little Philippe!  Be a good boy!”  He left confident, his face pink.  To René, who was wearing sabots, Suzanne gave some shoes.  Jus as the column was moving off, shells started falling around the village.

Without a doubt, if the Americans advance, the Germans will take our men to Germany.  They’re talking about evacuating us.  We decide to sleep in Remillet’s cellar.  I lock all our doors."

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