Archive for Hudimesnil

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.]

Trip back in time

Posted in Kids, Travel with tags , , , , on July 24, 2011 by xi'an

(This is yet another post of no particular interest for most readers, another Sunday musing about family history and “old” days…)

Last week, I went with my brother to help my mother move items away from my grandmother‘s house, which has just been sold.  (A bit of a surprise as the house has no strong appealing features and the mud walls in some parts could even be considered a nuisance!) There were only a few items of furniture and it was quickly done, but it was also the opportunity to say a last good-bye to places where I spent my summer vacations and that I will presumably not visit in a long while… Things had already changed so much that it indeed felt like a place from a distant past. The post WWII prefabricated wooden house my grandparents lived in for most of my childhood had disappeared, as had their beautiful garden, the small Norman town they lived in had lost most of its soul thanks to an ugly supermarket built right in the middle, and the empty house now sounded as if it had been abandoned for ages, so different was it from the well-kept home of my grandmother! Only Mont-Saint-Michel that we passed on the way there remained the same majestic silhouette in the distance, as well as in time, since it had played an important role in my grandfather’s life… Continue reading

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