Etsy seller goes verbal
Use coupon code ABBYINFRANCE for 50% OFF anything in the shop
(But first, one more aside:
I have always thought, even when I was a little girl, that Time was the strongest force in the universe. I mean, look at ‘1984’: it used to be a synonym for the grim future, and now it is so far in the past that its people wore funny clothes. And also the prophecies of ‘1984’ have often been hopelessly turned around. Yesterday, for example, I was reading a story about a viral video: a woman in a big city parked her car, at the end of the weekend, if front of he apartment, and the next day she went to work by public transport. When she got home, a handicapped space had been painted around her car by the city–and her car had been towed away. It was a huge nightmare, with monstrous fines and towing fees, and no redress…until the woman got ahold of the CCTV video from across the street and posted it to her facebook. Then, magically, all the fines disappeared, and the mayor of the great city actually posted an apology to her facebook. And a comment at the bottom of the youtube video says, ‘it kind of puts “1984” in a new light, doesn’t it?’
Anyway, back to my husband, banging his head against the headboard…and not in a sexual way.
It turns out that what you say when you walk into such a situation is: Is it our child?
He shakes his head No.
Is it our family?
He can’t talk, he’s trying to, but I can’t understand, he’s wailing now. He’s thrusting the iPad at me and I take it. It’s open to an amateur historian web-site: parchment-colored background and no HTML. And it’s endless; it scrolls up and down, actually, like parchment. And it’s in French and I’m really shaken up, I still don’t know what’s going on, and it’s just words on a page, but I pretend to read it because he has got to calm down so he can tell me what is happening. And now I am going from dumb shock to begging him, What is going on? and he says Concentration Camp. and then he says LaMotte. where we’ve just come from in France, his hometown, where his folks live. Concentration Camp in LaMotte. and I say, And?
I’m confused. The story on the web page is about a concentration camp in the tiny town of LaMotte, and, So what, I think, not So-what-a-concentration-camp, but We have known this all along haven’t we. Except how do I know this, if my husband hasn’t already known it, and it is quite obviously news to him, I can tell by the thrashing and the keening. So yeah, it turns out:
There WAS a concentration camp;
They were all shipped from there to Auschwitz and were slaughtered upon arrival there;
The Germans hadn’t really wanted them, or at least hadn’t wanted the children, but the French shipped them out anyway;
The families were starving, living literally on Main Street in this tiny town, with people walking by in a regular sort of way all the time, but the Jews were corralled in so that they couldn’t work or get food (or soap.) At first they were allowed out, to shop, while they still had the money they had brought with them, and a pretense of normalcy was kept up so the prisoners wouldn’t revolt (although they wouldn’t have, anyway, because if anybody escaped their remaining family was at risk.) There was even school, but as the saying goes, on the last day they didn’t give out any homework;
An archeology student uncovered the records when he was looking for something else in 1999. In 2005, there was a commemoration (opposed for five years by the community) at which no locals attended;
The head of the camp went on the be Chief of Police throughout the 1950s and ’60s.
So, basically, our U.S. vacation was ruined. When my husband called his mom to find out more, she disinherited him, just like that. His controlling, mother-hen, almost JEWISH MOTHER mother suddenly cut him off and refused to talk to him again. (My husband then had a full-blown nervous breakdown. He has lots of books about the concentration camps of that part of France, and he really had been sure that no such camp existed near LaMotte.) He started calling lots of people he hadn’t spoken to in years, and leaving all sorts of crazy answering-machine messages, which is what crazy people do. He could find next-to-nothing on the internet. He felt physically drawn back to LaMotte, which was a little awkward considering he was on the outs with his parents for the first time in his life ever. Eventually an old history teacher put my husband in touch with Yvette.