Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Andree Virot: The Invasion of Brest, Brittany

Andree Virot. Courtesy of Estate of Andree Peel and Loebertas Publishing.

The Germans were coming. Everyone in Brest, a French coastal town in the far northwest province of Brittany, had shut themselves inside their homes. Andree Virot was inside her beauty salon, filled with a deep sadness. The street outside was absolutely quiet.

Suddenly, loud running footsteps shattered the silence. Andree ran to the window. French soldiers were trying to escape from the fast-approaching Germans. In their military uniforms, they would certainly be taken prisoner by the Germans. Andree quickly invited them to hide in her beauty salon. Then she ran from house to house, asking neighbors for men's clothing. Everyone was willing to help, and the soldiers were able to go on their way disguised as civilians.

A short time later, a huge number of German troops appeared on the street, making a loud noise with their motorbikes, roughly pushing the people of Brest against the walls so they could parade through. As Andree watched, a German officer approahced her, sneering, and said, in very good French, "This upsets you, does it not? We are the conquerors!"

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