Read In This Hospitable Land Online
Authors: Jr. Lynmar Brock
Tags: #Fiction, #Historical, #Jewish
Based on a true story
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Text copyright ©2010 Lynmar Brock, Jr.
All rights reserved
This title was self published, in a slightly different form, in 2008.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.
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Must Thee Fight
With love and admiration.
In This Hospitable Land
is a work of fiction based on a true story, the story of a family during the Second World War that experienced the events described. The family name and some first names for those still living have been changed. Most others are actual persons. In large part, they represent the courage and bravery of so many to establish once again a free society where the rights of all are respected and the ideals of the French Revolution might again be realized.
Not every story of the Second World War involves incarceration and death. Many are the sorrowful tales of successful lives abandoned, new identities assumed, and the desperate struggle to survive in alien surroundings. I slowly learned that that was what had happened to my wife’s family. My wife told me as much as she could of her upper-class family’s exile in a remote French farming community. Her family shared much as I recorded their remembrances and experiences. Here were diamonds that played a significant role. Here were photo albums providing dramatically different glimpses of family life before and during the war. André the pacifist and his brother, Alex, were involved with the Resistance. How did they reconcile the demands of serving as part of the Maquis?
Every once in a while I would make a new discovery. André wrote and published articles on the Resistance under a
nom de plume,
distributed only within a narrow circle of his academic community, to a few friends, and to whatever was left of the family.
My wife and I visited the Cévennes in the southwest of France where we retraced the family’s journey and met many of the French people who played a crucial role in helping to preserve the Sauverins’ lives. They remembered so much and shared their own stories so generously. I began to feel the need not only to comprehend the Sauverins’ daily existence throughout the war but to tell the stories and to celebrate these remarkable individuals. These descendants of the Protestant Huguenots continued to exhibit a depth of feeling towards one another and the Sauverins. The Cévenols themselves struggled every day to survive. But at risk of their own lives, they took in, hid and protected so many, including the Sauverins. It is a profound testament to their integrity and to their belief in and devotion to the value of their fellow men and women, Jews, Socialists, Spanish Republicans, and the like that they did so.
This, then, is the story of one family surviving the cataclysmic events of the Second World War.
Lynmar Brock, Jr.
It was a time of fear. It was a time of hope. It was a time of despair. It was a time for courage.
André Sauverin experienced the time. And time was quickening. As if to run out. And the more he thought, the more he feared. The future. His life. And that of his family—wife and two little girls. And of his brother, who had married his wife’s sister. With now a little girl and baby boy. And of all the great gathering of relatives and friends who lived in Brussels and Antwerp and other places in Belgium. A country that through its own centuries of repression and power exercised by others now was welcoming to almost all by almost everyone. Germany, so alien, yet so close, was reaching out to smother dissent and freedom and independence. Hitler had become chancellor elected who then determined to rule. And the German people followed. Mostly. Not all. And the crushing of the spirit became more and more oppressive as it drifted across Europe first as a haze of thought, then words, then pictures, and then with armies. It was necessary to fear for it offered a realization of an oncoming sweep of one man’s power against those who disagreed to those he buried emotionally and, with an ever-greater frequency, literally.