In 2008, a college student in Lezignan-Corbieres, South of France handed to her history teacher and also friend of mine an autobiographical manuscript narrating the hunting of a young Jewish woman in the nearby village of Lagrasse in 1944, and her rescue by a local baker couple and their daughters. Based on this testimony written by Paula Tattmar, the spouses Bertrand were recognized Righteous Among the Nations in 1968. The discovery of Paula’s manuscript has led the classroom of my friend to develop a memorial educational project in close collaboration with the two surviving daughters of the couple Bertrand and Paula’s relatives. While retyping and illustrating the Paula testimony, the college students became the rescuers of a story of a generous brotherhood. Awarded in February 2012 by the Prize Annie and Charles Corrin for the teaching of the Holocaust, the project gave growth to genuine thoughts among the students on the republican values of liberty, equality and fraternity. The project was also marked by stirring moment. Suzanne Rey, one of the two daughters of the spouses Bertrand and custodian of the Paula Tattmar manuscript sadly disappeared two days after the journey made to Paris to receive the Award Annie and Charles Corrin. It was also during this trip that we discovered together with my friend, her classroom and Bertrand’s daughters Suzanne and Jeannine, that an outdated photography of the Spouses Bertrand and their three daughters prominently stood out in the room of the Pantheon building Paris which was set out to pay tribute to the ones who during WWII saved at the risk of their own life the lives of Jews who would otherwise have been deported to concentration camps. Hopefully, the story of Paula Tatmar leads us again to other places of singular memory and beautiful encounters.
A story started in February 2012 and to be continued.