Francine Christophe

Quelque chose de nouveau dans ma charrette:

Hier, sur Facebook, j’ai vu cette vidéo émouvante. Pour mes amis qui ne parlent pas français, j’ai fait ma propre traduction en anglais.

Aujourd’hui, mon amie Patti m’a demandé si je pouvais mettre cette traduction en ligne afin qu’elle puisse la partager.

Something new here in my cart:

Yesterday on Facebook, I saw this moving video. For my friends who don’t speak French, I made my own English translation.

Today, my friend Patti asked if I could put this translation on line so she could share it.

Et voilà.

I am Francine Christophe. I was born on August 18, 1933–the year that Hitler came to power.

Here. This is my star. I wore it on my chest. understand, like all the Jews. It’s big, isn’t it? Especially on the chest of a child, because I was 8 years old then.

Something extraordinary happened at my camp, Bergen-Belsen. I remember that we were children of prisoners of war, and so we had privileges. We had the right to bring with us from France a little bag with two or three little things — one woman (had) a bit of chocolate, one a bit of sugar or a handful of rice.

My mother brought two little pieces of chocolate. She said to me, we’ll keep this for the day when I see you completely down, ruined. I’ll give you this chocolate, and it will help you to get up again.

Now, there was with us a young deportee who was pregnant. You coudn’t tell, she was so thin. Even so, the day arrived. She left for (the infirmary?) with my mother, who was the leader of our barracks.

Before leaving, my mother said to me, You remember that I’m keeping a bit of chocolate?
“Yes, Mama.”
How do you feel?
“Fine, Mama. It’ll be fine.”
All right. If you let me, then I will bring this piece of chocolate to our friend Hélène — because, a delivery here — she could maybe die. And if I give her the chocolate, perhaps it will help her.
“Yes, Mama. You take it.”
Hélène gave birth – she had a baby, a tiny little sickly thing. She ate the chocolate. She didn’t die; she returned to the barracks.

The baby never cried. Never! Not even fussed.

Six months later, we were liberated. We got rid of our rags.

The baby cried. THAT was its birth.

We brought her back to France, a wee thing of six months, tiny.

Some years later, my daughter said to me, “Mama, if you had had psychologists or psychiatrists when you returned, it would have been much better for you.” I said, certainly, but there weren’t any. Nobody would have thought about it if there had been any.

But you’ve given me a good idea. We are going to have a conference about this. So I organized a conference on the theme: if there had been psychologists in 1945, when we returned from the camps, what would have happened?

Many people came. Old people, survivors, the curious, and of course plenty of psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists… Very interesting.

Everyone had his own ideas. It went very well.

And then there was a woman who came and who said, “I live in Marseille. I am a psychiatric doctor. And before saying what I have to say, I have something to give to Francine Christophe.”

She meant, to me.

She reached into her pocket. She took out a piece of chocolate. She gave it to me, and she said:

“I am the baby.”

(Je veux remercier Stephane Root Lo, qui a partagé la vidéo sur sa page Facebook.)
(I want to thank Stephane Root Lo, who shared the video on his Facebook page.)

2 thoughts on “Francine Christophe”

  1. I would like to have heard the conference also, or to know the name of the baby. It’s there any information available?

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