LICA, which had polled the Jewish community, assured
me that several Resistance veterans would participate. |
I took advantage
of that trip to visit my son, who was in summer camp at Chambon-sur-Lignon. It
was like coming upon an oasis to be with him in the sunny, green countryside.
Every one of my campaigns has been a trek across a desert, and where or how it
would end I never knew. I was always fearful of defeat, and I knew I would be
sick if I did not get results. The story I have been telling gives only a
sketchy account of what I did, for there were an infinite number of fruitless
endeavors, hours spent in writing up dull but extremely important notes, making
telephone calls that were never answered, keeping up files, writing letters,
photocopying and classifying documents. There was also the formulating of plans
for action. This involved long discussions with Serge that often turned into
heated arguments, for he is the more imaginative and I, the more realistic.
On August 24, Serge found at the CDJC a list of the deportation convoy
for August 11, 1944, which took the last Jews in Lyon to have escaped
deportation from the Montluc concentration camp to Auschwitz. The list bore 308
names, plus the names of forty-two Jews who had been summarily executed in the
Gestapo cellars, and the dates of each of these liquidations. Barbie was
directly responsible for all of them. Progrès published these
lists in their entirety.
I went back to Lyon on September 2, and, with
Pierre Levy, the president of the local branch of the LICA, saw Mayor Pradel.
Pradel assured us of the city's support of the projected delegation. But, alas,
his budget allowed him to pay only for the trip of his deputy, Marcel
Rivière, who would officially represent the city on the expedition. That
evening I spoke on the local television news program.
somehow or other took shape on September 3 in the course of a meeting of a
veterans group. Practical preparations for it brought up matters of
organization and financing. The desire to go clashed with the hard realities. I
tried to appeal to the veterans' self-esteem, emphasizing that the
reverberations of the demonstration might be great enough to influence the
Franco-German talks on legal matters in Bonn, in which the French Minister of
Justice, René Pleven, would be participating. One of the Resistance
veterans rose to address the meeting: "This is a German woman telling you what
you ought to do. Wake up, for heaven's sake!"