France - Germany

French Resistance vet buried near German camp

French Resistance vet Louis Bertrand was buried here April 11, 2014 in tribute to fellow detainees.
French Resistance vet Louis Bertrand was buried here April 11, 2014 in tribute to fellow detainees. Doris Antony/Creative commons

A former French Resistance veteran who wished to be laid to rest near his fellow detainees was buried Friday near the mass grave of a German concentration camp on the anniversary of its liberation by US forces on April 11, 1945.

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Louis Bertrand, who died at the age of 90 last June, was buried near the Langenstein-Zwieberge camp in northern central Germany, his son Jean-Louis Bertrand said, following wishes expressed years ago.

“It’s his way of saying: ‘I haven’t forgotten the guys who died in this place, and I salute their memory,” his son said recently to AFP.

Born January 3, 1923, Bertrand was part of the Resistance in his native Belfort region and eventually led his own unit in 1943.

He was arrested in August 1944 after five months in hiding since being called up for compulsory labour service.

He was deported to Buchenwald and later transferred to the labour camp where he later survived a “death march” of prisoners evacuating the site as the Allies approached in 1945.

Later in life, Bertrand shared his wartime experiences and published his memoir “Nummer 85250” after his prison number in 2005.

Attendees to the ceremony walked in silence from the camp’s entrance to the mass grave.

More than 1,800 people died of abuse, malnourishment and exhaustion during the camp’s one year existence, and a further 2,500 people perished after its evacuation.

Bertrand’s family worked with German officials for two years to get permission to scatter his ashes in the cemetery.

 

 

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