August 29, 1945 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

August 29, 1945
Near Fritzlar, Germany

No. 49 (continued)

Dear Folksies,

          The next A.M., the 29th, I was a bit undecided as to which domicile I should head for first, fearing that some if not all of the family might be away on vacation. So, I finally decided on going to Claudine’s home, feeling sure someone would be there. Arrived at the house and was greeted by an old servant, who apparently realized who I was and let me in to try and look up the phone numbers of the rest of the family. She told me that Claudine, Giles, and the baby Dominique were away on vacation and she thought Jeanne and David had already left for Belgium, and, furthermore that Jean-Pierre and Doude and the baby had gone back to Lyon. I had been afeered of something like that.

          I tried to get, by phone, David at the office, Yvette, and Monique, but without success, so finally just sat and waited for Lilice, who was scheduled to be home by noon, as she was out shopping.

          About noon-time Lilice arrived and was somewhat bowled over when I un-curled from her big armchair in the living room, as she came thru the door. She looked a lot better than she did in January and, naturally, was in 1000% better spirits than at that time.  We had a good long talk and soon George arrived and lunch was served. The change in George is even more startling.  He is at least 10-15 years younger in appearance than in January. The reason, of course, is obvious – the return of one of the greatest little woman in the world. But, more about her – probably volumes – later.

            Lilice confirmed some of what Marie (the cook) had told me, i.e. that Claudine and family are vacationing somewhere near Chamonix; that Jean-Pierre and family have returned to near Montelimar and Jean-Pierre goes into Lyon on business all the time. J.P., however, intends going back to Paris again pretty soon, to stay, but at present business is better for him where he is. Others on vacation, much to my sorrow, were Monique, Bernard, and her returned husband Robert. I would so much have liked to see them. Bernard, apparently, is able to walk o.k. again, his fractured femur having healed well.

            As Jeanne does not have a phone at her place, it was lucky and convenient that Lilice already had a date to meet her nearby in the middle of the afternoon, thus avoiding the complications which would have been necessary to contact Jeanne or David that day. On that score, I was lucky alright for they had not as yet left for Belgium tho’ they had daily been expecting to leave.

            Oh yes, a strange coinkidinky had occurred just before Lilice had arrived home to find me in her living room. Lilice had gone to a local drug store to get something or other – a drugstore that she used to patronize a long time ago, but rarely has she had occasion to be in that neighborhood shopping before today. As she entered the drugstore she found herself surrounded by the strong arms of a rather large red-headed girl. ‘Twas Antoinette Sternberg! She is working as an apprentice in a drugstore, preparatory to taking a degree in Pharmacy. It was in that way that Lilice knew that Paulette had arrived home in Paris only a few days before. So there, at least, my timing was good, I found out.

            Talked for quite a while with Paulette and arranged to go there for supper the next day, as Anthony works during the day and only returns to supper. Paulette filled me in on the little they know concerning Sadie. Apparently, Sadie had wanted to remain in Paris with her belongings after Henri died, with the idea that if she didn’t stay, then Paulette would have nothing to come back to when the war was over. It would, it seems, have been very simple for her to have left Paris and to have joined Paulette and the kids whom she adored and missed terribly, in Rodez. It would also have been rather easy to have remained in Paris in some other section of town, not even under any other name, because the name of Leon was not a Jewish one.

            However, despite numerous pleas on the part of her friends, she remained in her own place.  She did give out various items of furniture and household things to friends to keep for her, but either she never made any note of to whom she gave these things, or the list was lost, for Paulette does not know who has any of Sadie’s things — though a few people have come to her with things Sadie had left in their care. Apparently, too, Sadie had some sort of a warning three days before she was taken.  The Gestapo had come around to her house inquiring or looking for more quarters for the Germans.  Despite that, Sadie apparently did not want to leave her place and stuck to the bitter end.  She was taken in the convoy to Germany on the 30th of June ‘44, and someone reported having found her identification papers among things at Auschwitz.  From what Yvette told me, that might, or might not, mean anything, for they stripped the people of everything they had when they came there anyway, and little if anything was kept on one’s person.  However, at that camp the old, and the very young, and the ill were immediately “selected,” as they called it, and nothing more was heard from those people.

                           Loads of love,

rene-transparent

.

Watch for more of this letter
August 30, 1945


Paris Hôtel de Ville – City Hall.




René is able to talk with Paulette Sternberg, shown above circa 1925.




Paulette tells René details of the fate of her mother – Sadie Bine Leon (René Sr.’s first cousin) – who died in Auschwitz in 1944 at the age of 73. She is shown above in a photo taken in about 1925.



August 30, 1945 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

August 30, 1945
Near Fritzlar, Germany

No. 49 (continued)

Dear Folksies,

       Now I have to tell you about another unpleasant subject – about the tragic manner of Raymond’s death. [Raymond Sternberg was the son of Paulette Leon Sternberg and Anthony Sternberg.] He had been in the Army but 6 months, and had just finished a patrol of the area he was in (near Strasbourg) at the time when there were quite a few Krauts around in civilian or even American uniforms. On these patrols, they naturally kept their firearms loaded.

           On his return from patrol, there was some sort of a formation and they were told to “stack-arms.” When fire-arms are “stacked” they are hitched together in sort of the form of a tepee. For some reason, after they were “stacked,” Raymond wasn’t satisfied with the way his group was stacked and reached over the three or four rifles to straighten his rifle out a bit and in doing so, he apparently pulled the trigger – and he had forgotten to unload his rifle when he came in from patrol. From what they all said, he was a very calm person and difficult to excite, usually meticulous, and consequently that such an accident should happen to him was terrible.

       Paulette, of course, had a difficult task when she met Anthony. She had written to him about Raymond, and had thus hoped that by the time he returned the shock would have been over with. However, none of those letters reached Anthony and tho’ some of his fellow officers had heard the sad news thru letters they received, none had mentioned it to Anthony, since he hadn’t gotten direct news of Raymond himself. He did not even know that Raymond was in the Army. When a couple of these officers arrived home, ahead of Anthony, they called on Paulette and explained that Anthony had not received any word about Raymond, so that she was at least partially prepared for having to tell him.

       After leaving the Sternberg’s, we walked back to Lilice‘s where I was to have supper.  Lilice had phoned Yvette to have her there for supper also.  At about 7:30P.M. Yvette arrived.  She has reddish-brown hair, does not look too much like the picture I sent you 6 months ago – she has obviously changed some. She doesn’t look like either Claudine or Jean-Pierre, nor does she look like Lilice or George. She is husky and is rather short, coming an inch or maybe two above my shoulder.

       Here again I do not know just how much, how many details Lilice told you, but were I to attempt to tell you all about Yvette, I doubt if I would ever get done. During my all too short time in Paris, three and a half days, I spent 8 hours with Yvette and wished it could have been ten times that amount. She’s a truly amazing person and I couldn’t help but feel that it was a great honor to be able to be with her for even a minute.

       I’m going to quit for the moment, getting pretty tired – it’s 10:30 P.M……shall continue tomorrow……

                           Loads of love,

rene-transparent

.

Watch for more of this letter
August 31, 1945


After telling his parents about the fate of Sadie Bine Leon who perished in Auschwitz in 1944,  René  has to tell them about the death of Sadie’s grandson, Raymond Sternberg. The photo above, taken in about 1925, shows Sadie holding baby Raymond on her lap. Standing is Paulette Leon Sternberg, Sadie’s daughter and Raymond’s mother. Also shown is Solomon Bine, Sadie’s father, who passed away well before the war.




René is finally able to see Yvette Baumann Bernard, his second cousin, who returned to Paris from Leitmeritz concentration camp in May, 1945. René tells his parents that Yvette is “rather short, coming an inch or maybe two above my shoulder,” as evidenced by the photo above of the two of them.



August 31, 1945 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

August 31, 1945
Near Fritzlar, Germany

No. 49 (continued)

Dear Folksies,

        As I said, before quitting on this last nite, I had supper that nite at Lilice’s. I should qualify that, I guess, for the apartment is actually Claudine’s, but all five are living there now, i.e. Giles, Claudine, Dominique, George and Lilice. Anyway, had a good supper, talked most of the evening with Yvette who, incidentally, speaks far better English than she will admit. Later on, I walked home with her, as she lives with her in-laws at 101 Avenue Henri Martin.

        The next A.M Giles left, and I was to have lunch with Jeanne and David at their apartment, but didn’t have anything planned for the A.M., so got a much needed haircut at the Transient Officer’s Club and also sent off that wire to you when I went to the PX to get as much more candy, gum, etc. that I could to give to the folks.

        Arrived at Jeanne’s shortly before noon and having heard her description the day before, I was somewhat surprised to find how really nice, tho’ small, her place is. It is in a very nice section of town, the building is relatedly new, she gets plenty of light in the apartment and actually is rather well satisfied with the place. The story of how they were able to get the apt. is an interesting one. Apparently some woman who had the apt. was anticipating moving at some future date when her husband would return from the Army, and with a little persuasion by David, she agreed, for 150,000 francs to move out. Actually she left some of her furniture behind, and what they didn’t want they sold, so that the deal was not quite that expensive. (That amount at the present moment is equal to $3,000.) The rent, however, is surprisingly little – that, you see, is fixed by law – it being only $25/mo.

        Jeanne looks only slightly better than she did in January, as she looks rather tired. Apparently the moving and the housework she has to do in her own place along with the shopping and cooking (something she has, apparently, never done) have kept her more tired than she should be. She has, too, been having what seem to be some angina symptoms and has been taking some injections of an acetyl-choline preparation.

        David, on the other hand, has improved 1000%. He looks at least 20 years younger than he did in January, has an entirely different tone to his voice, and tho’ he still is taking the vitamins and some other preparation regularly, he feels good. I was greatly pleased to see what a big difference there was in his appearance. He is working, of course, tho’ not strenuously, working little more than half-days. His business consists at present only of selling handkerchiefs, but he expects to be able to expand before long. He also hopes to be able to get to the U.S. on business before many months pass, tho’ he does not want to go for a while, unless he can fly.

        They told me how nice Yehudi was to them when he was in Paris a couple of months ago. He had, of course, seen Jacqueline and came with all sorts of news for them. He was staying at the Lazare’s, and phoned for them to come over and see him there. Apparently he was a regular Santa Claus, for he retired to another room and brought out all kinds of things for them, food, etc. They had been unable to get tickets for his concert and told him they regretted not being able to go, and apparently he laughed that off and presented them with tickets for a box, saying that he had had a hard time giving them away, for he didn’t think anyone wanted to go hear him. Jeanne said the concert was wonderful.

        While at Jeanne’s, Lilice arrived and we took a walk down the boulevards and the subway to the Place de l’Opera, where we sat at a side-walk café and watched the crowd go by. The good old Paris custom.

        Oh yes, I brought a load of things to Jeanne and David, including some of the books that I had. They all were thrilled over the dried soups that all of you had sent me and of which I had quite a number left. Also, David and George like and need shaving cream.

        Food conditions are actually not too terrible, as far as the family is concerned. While they do not have lots of items, they manage fairly well. The ration tickets would be adequate if they were able to find the things which the ration tickets are for. The Black Market flourishes, however, with just those items. Things on the Black Market are about 7 times as expensive as they are if available with the ration tickets. All of them seem to have sufficient funds, however, to allow them to purchase Black Market meat, butter, etc.

        Just where the finances come from, I know not. Tho’ Jules must have left quite a little, that money is still tied up primarily because of Raoul’s absence. [Jules Neuburger, the father of Lilice, Jeanne and  Raoul died in 1941 at the age of 90. His wife, Mathilde, died in 1944 at the age of 80.]  However, it is expected that it will be settled by the end of October. You see, up till now, that money was held in the bank for the use of the Germans, but was not used by them actually.

                           Loads of love,

rene-transparent

.

Watch for more of this letter
September 1, 1945


René reports that he had lunch at the apartment of Lilice Baumann – his father’s first cousin (above). Then he qualifies that and says that the apartment really is that of her daughter Claudine – René Jr.’s second cousin (shown below with her husband Giles).





The next day he had lunch with Jeanne (Lilice’s sister) and her husband David Salomons.




Yeheudi Menuhin – a childhood friend of René and a world-famous violinist – had paid a visit to Jeanne and David several months earlier, when he was in Paris to play a concert. He gave them a number of gifts, including a pair of tickets to hear him perform.



September 4, 1945 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

September 4, 1945
Near Fritzlar, Germany

No. 49 (conclusion)

Dear Folksies,

        After a couple of hours at Weill’s, Lilice and I left, Lilice going home and I going first to the hotel and then to pick up Yvette. Went with Yvette then, to her club, which is called the “18th of June.”  Reason for that name is that on that day De Gaulle spoke last year from England, telling all those in the Resistance that they were no longer fighting alone, and that there were French troops once again fighting on French soil.  The Club is exclusively for those who were active in the Resistance, and, of course, Yvette is about on top of that list.  It is in quite a nice place, a former hotel. The food was good, and I got Yvette to talk on, and on, and on.  I was glad that the Club was not on a charge basis for, at least, tho’ Yvette had ended up by taking me to supper, I was able to pay for the meal.

        I’m not going to attempt, tonight, to tell you any more about Yvette – that is going to take a least a whole night in itself anyway. Suffice to say that after supper we walked down to meet David, George, Lilice and Jeanne, sat at an out-door café for a while and finally all walked to the Arc (Etoile) and bid adieu – each group taking different Metros. I hated to leave them and only hope that I shall be able to get up there once again before too long.

        The next A.M., Saturday, I had to get up real early to get out to the airport. Left Place Vendome at 7 A.M. and was once again lucky enough to get by on those screwy orders, talked the mail-pilot into taking me on as a passenger, and landed at noon at Fritzlar. The ride home was better than the one going to Paris, for I just stretched out on the mail sacks – I was the only passenger – and fell promptly asleep. Phoned here for a vehicle to pick me up and no sooner was home than was plunged into some work for the motor-pool.

        Yesterday A.M. I got up at 4:30 A.M. to drive 5 of the nurses to Frankfurt so that they could catch a plane to Marseille on the first leg of their journey home. As the command car was on the fritz and the only jeep in decent shape was the chaplain’s, and the sedan is still being fixed, the only vehicles that could take the gals were a 2-1/2 ton truck or the bus. They finally smiled sweetly at me and I took them in the bus.

        ‘Twas quite a ride and I am surprised I was able to write as much as I did last night when I returned. Got them down there at 8:30 A.M. only to find that the last plane for Nice (they apparently have to go there first) left only a few minutes before. Had they been ready to leave at 5 A.M., as planned, instead of 5:20 A.M. and had I not had a bit of trouble with the bus on the way, they might have gotten off yesterday, but as it was they were to get off this A.M. at 8. The group that went this time was: Liz Liss, Chris Colletti, Miss Diffley, Clarkie and Lee Summers. I really hated to see Liz, Chris and Clarkie go. All three are really swell gals.

        As they had to wait over for the day, they got rooms at the Hotel Excelsior in Frankfurt and were able to eat across the street at the Carleton Hotel. They insisted that I remain for lunch with them before returning, so I did it. What a swell lunch: excellent soup, chicken, fruit salad, and, to top it off, a scoop of chocolate and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. We made ice-cream floats out of the vanilla – i.e. coca-cola floats, as they also served coca-colas with the meals.

        Finally set out for here all alone, and managed to make it o.k. tho’ something, I know not just what, went ka-flooey with the engine of the bus.

                           Loads of love,

rene-transparent

.

Watch for my next letter
September 6, 1945


Right to left: René, Yvette, Dominique (Yvette’s neice) and Giles Aaronson (Dominique’s father)



When he returned from Paris, René drove five nurses to Frankfurt (in the bus) so they could catch a plane to Marseille – the first leg on their journey home. He tells his parents that he “really hated to see Liz Liss, Chris Coletti and Doris Clarke go. All three are really swell gals.” Pictured below are Liz, Chris and Doris.






September 5, 1945 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

Today we have a letter that Lilice Baumann wrote to René’s parents after his visit to Paris. Lilice is René Sr.’s first cousin. It is transcribed here exactly as she wrote it in English.




Dear Ones,

      First of all I must tell you how happy we have all been when we knew that peace was declared. A terrible dream is finished. I hope for you that René Jr. will soon be able to leave Germany.

      Second, can you imagine how thrilled I was – coming home from marketing, to find sitting in an arm chair, Junior – looking fine. What a darling boy you have. He always have a good face of baby and does not seem to be 30 years. Georges was so happy coming home for lunch to see him. First day he had lunch and dinner with us. Second day we went in the afternoon to see Paulette. She is trying to arrange her apartment with some furniture which was not stolen to poor Sadie – but how difficult it is.

      The day after I went at Jane’s, where René had lunch. Dinner here with Yvette. Yvette thinks René was very pleased with her. He took her out for dinner the day after. Yvette also thinks he is a fine boy. Day after he came here for lunch – looked as Santa Claus with a fool bag of presents.

      I simply devoured mint chocolate before lunch time and had a terrible mal au coeur [heart burn]. I make also a big consummation of Milky Way Chocolate (Mars Chicago). All things we hardly remember the taste.

       I phoned to Claudine still out of Paris in Auvers until now. She felt terribly sorry not to be able to see René. I hope he will have another permission before leaving the continent. We also went to see Marie Weill. René met two of her sons – nice boys – with whom he could have gone out instead of staying with us.

        Yvette received yesterday le grade de Lieutenant dans l’armee [rank of Lieutenant in the army]. Always nothing concerning her husband except bad news. It seems that wagon where he was from Drancy to Auschwitz was passed through the gaz. Jean-Guy, de qui on n’a plus jamais entendu parler [who we never heard from again]. C’est horrible! Yvette tries to forget. Is working very hard.

      While René was at home we received a colis [package] for Claudine. We opened it and I was so happy to find some more shoes for my baby dear [Dominique]. Claudine will thank you herself when she will be home again. It is terrible always to have to thank and not be able to be thanked in return. I would have liked to send something to Barbara – it’s not possible. We still miss a lot of things. If you have a chance, Alma, to find some stockings. I have not a pair left to begin the winter.

       I have good news from J.P. , Doude and baby. They stay out of town till end of September. Jeanne and Dave at last are gone to England to see Jacqueline. They have not seen her for three years. You can imagine how nervous they both were.

       Now I am going to end my letter. It was hard work to write it all in English. You must not laugh to all my mistakes or else I will oblige Alma to answer in French. [The joke was that, unlike René Sr. and René Jr.,  Alma didn’t speak French!]

      I kiss you all, so much and so much. Georges joins me in doing it.

                   Yours, 

                          Lilice

.

Watch for René’s next letter on
September 6, 1945


Lilice writes to Alma and René Bine, Sr. – René’s parents.




She writes about her daughters – Yvette and Claudine – their husbands, Jean-Guy Bernard (who died in Auschwitz) and Giles Aaron, as well as Claudine’s baby, Dominique. All of them are in the photo above – taken in December 1943 – a month before Yvette and Jean-Guy were captured by the Gestapo and taken to Drancy Prison. (Adults, left to right: Claudine, Jean-Guy, Yvette and Giles)



September 6, 1945 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

September 6, 1945
Near Fritzlar, Germany

No. 50

Dear Folksies,

            Tonight, I’m going to attempt to jot down a few of the things told to me by Yvette and I am not going to try to make this chronological at all.

          Let me preface my remarks about Yvette by saying that she is truly one of France’s great women, and, too, one of its unhappiest.  I see in tonight’s “Stars & Stripes” that some French Woman Captain was given some fancy Resistance Award when she recently made a trip to the U.S.  Her feat had been to kill some 50 Nazis during some operation involving the blowing up of a bridge during the Occupation.  That woman was a Captain!  There are only three Women Majors in the French Army, and that is the highest rank that can be given a woman.  So that you will see where Yvette really stands, let me tell you that she turned down that rank — the rank of Major!

            Yes, when she returned to Paris she was summoned to the Ministry of War and told that they wanted to make her a Major in the Army because of the great work she had done prior to her capture. Yvette, however, had had enough of uniforms, had seen too many SS and Wehrmacht women in uniforms, and didn’t want to have to dress up in any uniform whether it be a Major’s or any other.  The Ministry was most insistent, but Yvette was even more so; but finally told them that they could make her a Captain in the Reserves, if they wanted to, but she didn’t want to be active at present.  So that is what she is – i.e. holds the rank of Captain in the Reserves of the French Army.

            Yvette, prior to the war, was trained in social service work, having obtained what I believe is comparable to a Master’s Degree in that specialty.  When the war first came along, she went with the rest of the family to Lyon, but very soon became active in the underground movements for the Resistance.  She returned to Paris in the end of ‘42 and became increasingly active, and was soon near the top in the whole movement.  While doing this work, she met Jean-Guy Bernard and, in October ‘43, was married in a little town outside of Paris, with only a few Maquis friends as witnesses.  As soon as they were married they had to leave the place, and all the friends had to scatter in different directions.

            Jean Guy’s father was Colonel Bernard, a well-known French Army man who had, I believe, some Indo-China experience. Jean Guy himself, was a graduate engineer and was also an airplane pilot.  His sister, Jacqueline, was, throughout, one of the assistant editors of the newspaper “Combat,” the Paris underground paper — one of the three in the whole of France that continued to publish regularly. It is now one of the most widely read French papers, and Jacqueline is once again on its staff.

            Jean Guy and Yvette had to continually change their address, moving at least every ten days so as to avoid detection.  If any of their friends were taken by the Gestapo, then they moved immediately for fear that their address or names might be divulged by these friends when under torture.  At that, only two people ever knew their address at any one time.

            The type of work they did was varied. They collected all sorts of information concerning the movement and strength of the German troops; they directed sabotage against the German Army; had trains blown up; and relayed all information they obtained by short-wave to England or later to Algiers.

            There are now certain streets in Paris down which Yvette cannot walk.  Why?  Because, when she returned to Paris she attempted to thank the numerous people who had, unknowingly, been working for her during the Resistance.  They knew her at that time either as “Claude” or one of the other numerous names that she had used, or they may not even have known any name of their superiors, nevertheless, they did the work assigned to them at all times. These men of whom I speak, in particular, were the doormen at apartments and hotels, grocery-men and little shop-keepers who, for the most part just passed on information, written or verbal, to the proper channels — the channels that led to Yvette or Jean Guy.  Yes, Yvette went around and thanked these people, but now if she goes down these same streets she is mobbed — they throw their arms about her, try to give her things, etc., etc.

                           Loads of love,

rene-transparent

.

Watch for more of  this letter
September 7, 1945


Yvette and Jean-Guy on their wedding day. Jean-Guy is third from the left, Yvette is next to him and Jean-Guy’s sister, Jacqueline is at the far right of the photo.




Jacqueline, as René tells his parents, had been a journalist with “Combat,” the underground newspaper of the French Resistance. Jacqueline, who had joined the Resistance in 1941 in Lyon, was deported to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp in Germany in July 1944. After her return to Paris, she again became a member of the editorial staff of “Combat,” which had become a daily newspaper with Albert Camus as editor.



September 7, 1945 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

September 7, 1945
Near Fritzlar, Germany

No. 50 (continued)

Dear Folksies,

           When finally the Gestapo did catch up with Yvette and Jean Guy, they really had all the dope on them, including most of their aliases. When they were confronted with all that information, they knew the jig was up. They were both taken to prison, and that was the last they saw of each other.  Yvette asked them why they didn’t just kill them right away, but she was told, just as she was being driven past the Arc de Triomphe (for the last time she thought) that they didn’t want to make it so easy for her, but were going to send her away to a camp where she would live an existence worse than death, finally dying in a much more horrible manner.

            I did not question her, nor did she happen to mention some of details that George Baumann [Yvette’s father] had told me about months ago, including her being taken a prisoner when she was 8-months pregnant, being questioned, denying everything except her Jewish heritage, and then being raped by the German. [After three weeks at Drancy, alone in her cell, Yvette delivered a still-born baby girl.] Nor did she mention the episode concerning her rescue and re-capture.

            While in prison, before being sent to Germany, fearing that she was going to divulge things of importance while under torture, and also wishing to die right then, Yvette slashed her wrist terribly with a small razor she had managed to hide.  She slashed her left wrist, bled considerably and passed out.  However, she had failed to hit the radial artery, and someone found her soon anyway, but she did do herself a great deal of permanent damage.  She has several slash marks across her left wrist, all healed with jagged scars. The tendon to her middle finger is entwined in the scar at the wrist, so that while her middle finger is moved, it pulls on the scar at the wrist in an unnatural way.  She has anesthesia on the palmer aspect of her thumb, index and middle fingers with some slight feeling on the dorsum of these fingers.  She is unable to flex her index and middle fingers, but can adduct her thumb, though not forcibly. As a consequence, whenever she grasps things with her left hand she is apt to drop them, if she does not concentrate, for, without feeling, she does not realize that she has anything in that hand.  She also gets terrific pain in her wrist that runs up to her elbow, this pain being produced mainly on pressure, just proximal to one of the scars.  Apparently what she has there is a neuroma, which, of course, is extremely sensitive.  She is planning to have an operation on the wrist in October, but the only thing I can see that they will be able to do to give her relief is to remove that neuroma.  They are not going to be able to improve her nerve supply, nor are they going to be able to do much towards improving the function of her hand.

            Another thing that bothers her terribly is that, when the weather is cold, her hand aches, and feels much colder than the other one. Of course, that is due to the poor circulation which resulted when she cut the vessels in her wrist, for, though she didn’t get the radial or the ulnar, she must have cut several small branches. How Yvette could do the work that she was forced to do during all the time she was a prisoner, how she could do it with that hand, I know not.  But she did it! Wielded a pick, a shovel, broke up rocks, etc.

                           Loads of love,

rene-transparent

.

Watch for more of  this letter
September 8, 1945


Yvette and Jean-Guy last saw each other on January 28, 1944 – the night they were arrested by the Gestapo in their Paris apartment.




As Yvette was driven past the Arc de Triomphe, on the night of her arrest, she thought she would never see this iconic Parisian monument again.




Her destination that night was Drancy Prison, where she would stay (except for a brief period after a daring escape) until April 29, 1944, when she was loaded on a transport train headed to Auschwitz, Poland.