Our French Connection ....continues
Editor's note: Nan and Bill Webster, FICers of long standing, added an introduction and forwarded the following letter from Dominque Nazez. It says much about our continued relationship with the French people and FIC’s role in the world.
Dominque Nazez's family hosted the Websters in Pau in 1970. Domi came to the USA the summer of 1971 and again in 1993 when she and her husband, Gilles attended the FIC annual meeting in Milwaukee. They have since become members of FIC. She and Gilles, together with her sister's children, have traveled back to Germany to see the places where her father was imprisoned. She has been learning of World War II from her father and feels a keen interest in the present dangers to democracy.
About World Memory - from a French "babyboom girl" born, 1945 - To My Beloved People of America.
Once upon a time, so I learned, fairy tales begin, one man, my dad, met a beautiful woman, my mom. It was at the end of 1939. He had finished
studying and was on military duty in spring 1940.
Suddenly war exploded like the thunder. A few days later, on the 15th of May, 1940, my dad became a captive of the German army for four years, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944 - camps, Stahleg. Letters were exchanged between my mom and
my dad. They became engaged and decided to get married as soon as the war was over. It gave him hope.
In June, 1944 - Welcome to the Allies; these marvelous men who climbed the French cliffs and were dropped on French soil. So many died. My dad in his camp hearing about this wonderful news worried about the attitude of the German soldiers facing the captives and hoped to be delivered by the
Americans rather than by the Russians. The Russians would have taken them to Russia instead of letting them go home, April 10, 1945 - Freedom. My dad is free and can return to France. The American soldiers shared their food with the French soldiers but they had no
time to take care of them, so that it took one month for my dad to get from East Germany back to Paris. Dad finally met my mom again on the 15th of May, 1945. Five years had passed. They married September, 1945.
Time passes - in 1972, after having also learned German and studied in Germany following my dad's desire to make of me a European girl, able to work for French/German friendship, I decided to travel to the United States of America to visit Nan and Bill Webster, young FIC members, whom we had welcomed at home for a weekend in 1970.
I first landed in New York, invited by a German Jewish man who had been the German exchange student of my dad before the war. Hans had escaped Germany and fought in the American Army against his own country, working for freedom.
After the war he stayed in America marrying a Jewish German woman also a refugee. My dad and Hans never met again. I have been the bond of that memory.
What do I want you to know about this personal story? Because it is one
person's experience sharing through the years the tight ties between the past and future through the present, beyond nationalities and languages, to help build a humanity of love and peace. We have to remember those years and teach them to our children so that we'll never forget. Through our FIC exchanges we share our friendship. No one can fight one's friends. I carry my dad's memories like many children do and I am responsible, facing the future, for
the transmission of it. That's what I want to tell you, AMERICA - 50 years later. Without your help it would have been impossible. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.