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“Our Parents were Heroes”

Seven members of the French organization “Orphelins de Résistants” paid a one-day visit to the International Tracing Service (ITS) and its French Liaison Mission in Bad Arolsen. The members of the association are the children and grand-children of women and men involved in the French Résistance during the Second World War. “We have already received a lot of information from Bad Arolsen and feel reverence for the work the ITS does”, states Annie Dubois.  

Established in 2001, the association currently has about 800 members. All members are orphaned children of women and men who put up active resistance against the Nazi rule. “Our mothers and fathers were brutally tortured, shot dead and murdered by the Nazis”, relates Dubois. “Nevertheless, they have hardly ever been given the recognition they deserve.” Members in France are willing to struggle for indemnification, justice and commemoration knows Dubois. “Many victims’ groups are compensated for what the Nazis did to them. Only the people who fought for France’s freedom have not been considered in any indemnification schemes to date.”

Taking part in a guided tour through the ITS archive, the group got an idea of both, the holdings and the activities of the ITS. “The ITS staff do a hard, but admirable job”, Dubois sings the praise of the ITS. Following their round through the premises, the visitors look into their parents’ and grandparents’ documents. Born in September 1941, while her father was arrested in October 1941, Dubois never had the chance of coming to know him. She has inspected all documents the ITS keeps on his incarceration in concentration camps Dachau and Flossenbürg. In collaboration with the Special Registry Office in Bad Arolsen, the ITS has even succeeded in issuing a death certificate for her father. “Our parents were heroes”, accentuates Dubois. “We will take great pains to remember them until our very last breath.”