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The Etobon Project

The Etobon blog

This blog is written as a chronological narrative.The most recent posts are found at the end of the journal.

The graves of some of those who died September 27, 1944

The Etobon blog contains portions of my translation of Ceux d'Etobon, by Jules Perret and Benjamin Valloton. Perret was an witness to a Nazi atrocity committed in the closing months of World War II in the village of Etobon, France. Perret's son, brother-in-law and son-in-law to be were victims of the massacre. has posted an article in which I've given the basic facts of the story of Etobon. Please visit the site and see other stories related to World War II prisoners of war.

You can find post links, most recent first, on the right side of each page.



Entries in Sikh POWs (1)


Shelter at Etobon

The escaped Indian POWs came to Etobon by two’s, three’s and sometimes more. They were dark-skinned; many were Sikhs, with turbans and long hair. They were obviously not Franc-Comtois, but the Etobonais fed them, hid them and protected them. That’s how the Franc-Comtois are. Whether you are a Sikh soldier from India or an American pastor from Pennsylvania, they care for you. When you are their friend, you will never lose their love.

The people of the Franche-Comté have a reputation among the rest of the French of being closed and cold. “The little boches of the north,” the southerners say. Whether or not they know the depth of the insult of being compared with the boches, a derogatory term for Germans, the Franc-Comtois know. Despite their undemonstrative nature, these people shed their blood for their country and for the sake of their allies.

When the families of Etobon had fed and clothed the escaped POWs, the village leaders had to decide what to do. If they stayed in Etobon, they’d be noticed right away. The Swiss border was their only chance. It’s at least a day’s walk, but the Franc-Comtois were used to smuggling across the border. Also, between Etobon and Switzerland there was a chain of maquis. They could hand the POWs off from one to the next, making sure they wouldn’t be lost or captured before they reached the frontier.

The next stop for the first group was Chagey. Two men from Etobon led the first escapees out of the village by the fields and into the woods. Dressed as French peasants, with caps pulled low, the Indians might not be noticed if they were seen. Once they had reached a trail, their guides pointed the way to Chagey, knowing that the maquis there would see the foreigners to the next town.