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A Stroke of a Magic Wand!

Etobon had been freed by French and North African troops. It was almost too good to believe - tonight the Etobonais could sleep without fear for the first time in years.

Saturday, November 18, 1944, continued

This afternoon, two doctors, who were doing the work themselves, came carrying tables and benches.  I went to help them; without our loss, there would have been others. They’re setting up the infirmary in the parsonage. 

This evening, the real tanks arrived.  There are so many!  And they’re so big!  We still can’t comprehend what’s happening.  Is it true the boches have been chased off?  That we’ve seen them walking through the village, hands up, followed by the boos of the crowd while the kids play with their helmets, as if they were soccer balls?  That tonight we can undress and sleep peacefully!  Is it true that soon we can go after the monsters who massacred our children?  How should we punish them for what they took from us?  Philippe says, “I’d hang them from a hook for a thousand years.”

Sunday, November 19

The tanks – ours – passed during part of last night.  An officer told me in the wee hours, “Ring the bells.  Belfort is surrounded.” And the bells rung, as triumphantly as yesterday.

A company of North African muleteers is camping in our stable.  One of those little goats stole one of our rabbits, grilled it … then happily gave us half!  The logistics officer wanted to turn in the thief, but you have to forgive little sins like that.  This junior officer, after eating only canned food for so long, was happy to feast on potatoes and milk.  We also have to do the cooking for the adjutant.  Ah, my friends!  To live with the French, compatriots, to understand each other, live in trust, what a stroke of a magic wand!  A junior officer from Perpignan tells us he just took part in the shearing of doctor Rauch’s mistress, who didn’t have time to flee with her boche.  It was Robert Chevalley who wielded the scissors and transformed her magnificent head into a billiard ball.  What will her husband say?  She wanted to kill herself.  No one will stop her.

They say they’ve taken 7,000 to 8,000 prisoners in the region.  How I wish I were well enough to go and see if the executioners were among them.  An officer has made me return four rifles and lots of cartridges, real ones.  I went to get the revolver taken form the prisoner Schott, hidden under the tiles on top of the old cemetery wall.  Strange thing, not far from it I found another one, with its magazine, which a boche had no doubt left behind.

These next days, we have to take care of exhuming everything we’ve buried:  canned goods, schnapps, blankets, clothing …

The FFI of Lomont were dealt a heavy blow at Ecurcey, which was defended by a hundred tanks.  They might have all been killed there.  Three from Chenebier gave up their lives:  André Mettetal, our cousin, Toupense and Rebillard, Alfred Jacot’s son-in-law.  Honor to those brave men!

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