Archive for Granville

the story of Gertrud and Auguste Macé

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2020 by xi'an

The discussions about the links between early statistics and eugenism brought back to memory the tragic story of a German-Norman couple, friends of my grandparents, Gertrud(e) and Auguste Macé, whom I met in the mid 1980’s. Auguste Macé was a school friend of my grandmother, born near the harbour city of Granville, Manche and, like my grandparents,  a war orphan, son of a French conscript killed in combat during WW I. During WW II, when Nazi Germany promptly invaded France in the Spring of 1940, Auguste Macé was part of the millions of French conscripts captured by German troops and sent to a stalag, in North-Eastern Germany (Prussia), where he was made to work in farms missing their workforce conscripted to war. In one of these farms, he met Gertrud, daughter of the farm owners, they fell in love, and Gertrud eventually got pregnant. When her pregnancy was revealed, Auguste was sent to another POW camp. And, while Gertrud was able to give birth to a baby boy, she was dreadfully punished by the Nazis for it: as she had broken their racial purity laws, she was sterilised and prevented from having further children, presumably staying in her parents’ farm. At the end of WW II, Auguste was freed by Soviet troops and went searching for Gertrud. It took him around six months of traveling in the chaotic post-war Germany, but he eventually found both her and their son! They then went back to Auguste’s farm, in Normandy, where they spent the rest of their life, with further hardships like the neighbourhood hostility to a Franco-German couple, lost their young adult son in circumstances I cannot remember, and tragically ending their life together in a car accident in 1988, on a trip to Germany… [When remembering this couple, I have been searching on-line for more information about them but apart from finding the military card of Auguste’s father and Auguste’s 1988 death record by INSEE, I could not spot any link in birth or wedding certificates or in the 98 lists of WW II French POWs. Where I could not find my great-uncle, either.]

train chaos

Posted in Kids, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , on October 13, 2012 by xi'an

Saturday morning in an omnibus train bound to Granville is not a relaxing experience without one’s noise cancelling headphones! It starts with passengers unable to gather their carriage and seat numbers from their train tickets (“Désolée, c’est ma place.”, “Vous êtes sûre? Je croyais que c’était ici…”, “Je ne rappelais pas de mon numéro de siège.”, “Ce n’est pas la voiture 3?!”, &tc.) Then piling an unbelievable number of rolling trolleys in the aisle, efficiently blocking the corridor. Once everyone is apparently settled, phones start to inanely transfer the information to innumerable correspondents (“Allo, tonton? Je suis dans le train!”, “Oui, j’arrive. Vers midi moins le quart, je crois…”, “J’ai pris mon sac gris, tu sais, le sac gris.”, “J’ai la grande valise, t’inquiète!”, “Tu sais je me suis levé à quelle heure ce matin?”, &tc.) And, thanks to poor quality headphones (for which the retailers should be fined!), providing the whole carriage with syrupy French variety music. Not mentioning the woman behind me travelling with a small girl, a dog, and a wandering cat and insanely spending her time discussing about dogs with another traveller across the aisle. Unsurprisingly leading to her daughter complaining and then crying after a while. Even after ten attempts at reading “Petit ours brun“…)