Thursday 5 September 2013

September 8 - an ironic anniversary

This Sunday, September 8 marks a day of ironies. Dwight D. Eisenhower announced in 1943 that an armistice had been signed between the allies and Italy. One leg of the Axis was removed. So far so good. However, in the south-east corner of France, the Italian occupation was both protecting Jews and getting them out by giving them passports. However, this took time, and the authorities thought they had time. The moment the armistice was signed, the Nazis took the opportunity to occupy Nice and the surrounding areas. The terrible irony is that many Jews had fled to this corner of France as the Nazi round-ups became harsher and more thorough. Eichmann put in charge of Nice a particularly nasty piece of work, Alois Brunner, who proceeded to round up Jews straight away, torturing them, and then sending them to Drancy, Paris Bobigny and Auschwitz. The reason why I know this is that my father's uncle and his wife were amongst them. I discovered this only in the last year or so.