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Val d'Isere during WW2

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I just stumbled across this
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/F%C3%A9lix_Kir
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
j b wrote:

It is an interesting facet of human nature that those involved, having had to keep their roles secret at the time still felt they couldn't be discussed many decades later.


Indeed, very much the same story about those involved in the 'Shadow factories' making Spitfires and spitfire parts, we nearly lost the entire history. My Dads very small part in it only came out when he saw something on TV when he was in his late eighties!

http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/15653654.heritage-spitfire-factories-were-salisburys-best-kept-secret/
https://www.secretspitfires.com
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@boredsurfin, looks like they've always been doing secret squirrel stuff in and around Salisbury. I recall seeing a great documentary about it. Lots of parts being made in garages etc. Apparently the Spitfire was a right swine to make because of the thin wings. Must say that I like the alleged philosophy behind the ME109 - put the biggest possible engine in the smallest possible plane
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Nadenoodlee wrote:
@shep, I learnt more watching Jane Seymour’s Who Do You Think You Are episode about the French/Swiss border and the people who lived there


I'll have to try and check this out. I live on the French/Swiss border and wondered what life must have been like back in those days, considering in some places the border is just a small single marker stone in the middle of a field. For example in this image the top right square of the stone is in France, the rest Switzerland!

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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
davidof wrote:
Perty wrote:
as I understand it, the area was named Jerusalem because of it.


Just goes to show, you can't believe all you hear in ski resorts.

@davidof, you’re referencing my post re the naming of Jerusalem. What makes you think it’s nonsense? My information came from reading local St Martin history ...

Jérusalem, piste Rouge (Saint Martin de Belleville)
Dénivelé : 440 m


Un peu d'histoire. Il s'agit d'un bel hommage aux victimes de la seconde guerre mondiale que les savoyards ont aidé, notamment en les cachant des Allemands dans les granges qui bordaient cette piste. Ce fut un haut lieu de la résistance et aujourd'hui un lieu de pèlerinage et de mémoire pour les familles des victimes.

Un itinéraire immanquable pour du ski tranquille dans les 3 Vallées. La piste débute depuis les sommets de Méribel (Tougnete et Cherferie) à plus de 2 100 m d'altitude et rejoint sans difficulté le village de Saint Martin de Belleville. Evoluez sur cet agréable tracé vallonné adapté à tous (cette piste rouge est plutôt une piste bleu foncée) accompagné d'une neige de qualité ; vous aurez comme l'impression de faire du hors piste.

where is your evidence that I’ve been misinformed?
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Perty wrote:
davidof wrote:
Perty wrote:
as I understand it, the area was named Jerusalem because of it.


Just goes to show, you can't believe all you hear in ski resorts.

@davidof, you’re referencing my post re the naming of Jerusalem. What makes you think it’s nonsense? My information came from reading local St Martin history ...

Jérusalem, piste Rouge (Saint Martin de Belleville)
Dénivelé : 440 m


Un peu d'histoire. Il s'agit d'un bel hommage aux victimes de la seconde guerre mondiale que les savoyards ont aidé, notamment en les cachant des Allemands dans les granges qui bordaient cette piste. Ce fut un haut lieu de la résistance et aujourd'hui un lieu de pèlerinage et de mémoire pour les familles des victimes.

Un itinéraire immanquable pour du ski tranquille dans les 3 Vallées. La piste débute depuis les sommets de Méribel (Tougnete et Cherferie) à plus de 2 100 m d'altitude et rejoint sans difficulté le village de Saint Martin de Belleville. Evoluez sur cet agréable tracé vallonné adapté à tous (cette piste rouge est plutôt une piste bleu foncée) accompagné d'une neige de qualité ; vous aurez comme l'impression de faire du hors piste.

where is your evidence that I’ve been misinformed?


Your post seemed to suggest that the area was called Jerusalem as it was a refuge for Jewish refugees... assuming I read that correctly the prairies and building in that area have been called Jerusalem for hundreds of years. I've not looked further into it but perhaps the land belonged to the order of Monks of St Jean de Jerusalem.

Those kinds of religious placenames in the Alps generally have pretty long histories.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Certainly, that quotation doesn't actually state that that was why the piste was so named.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Village of Secrets by Caroline Moorehead is an excellent but sad book about the main network for smuggling French Jewish children to Switzerland . This is Vichy France's dirty secret that no one addresses.
Over the Col de Madeleine into the Maurienne, the few Resistance ( and Flambeau the hero dog) were so active that the Nazis shelled Lanslevillard ( Val Cenis) to the ground.
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This is a scan of an 1820 map

https://ibb.co/3TfVtnL

Coming back to the role of the French in the Holocaust it is interesting to note that the Vichy govt. demanded that local authorities in Grenoble round up jews for transportation to concentration camps but following the occupation of Grenoble by the Italian army they were prevented from doing this by the Italian authorities. It should be noted that there were also large protests by the Grenoblois against the round-ups, 138 people from the Isere are recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Israel.

Returning to the BBC article I think they are blowing this into something it is not. As the article says, Val d'Isere, with an army presence wasn't the best hiding place for a jewish refugee so it might be that only Dr Frédéric Pétri knew Huguette's real identity and perhaps no-one in the town knows the story. Huguette was hardly in a hurry post-war to dash back to see her savoir leaving it to 1970 to return. The mayor probably didn't want to get ambushed by some BBC journalist talking about something he maybe has no idea about.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I've been doing some research on the local Maquis de l'Oisans, interesting stuff, mainly in 1944.

https://maquisdeloisans.fr/
Not updated for many years but reading what is there, following links, etc. is interesting.

https://maquisdeloisans.fr/Doc/LFM%20light.pdf
Extract from the book Le France des Maquis” the chapter “Le combat de Grandes-Rousses”

https://www.miages-djebels.org/IMG/pdf/brochuremaquis_Oisans.pdf
Brochure Maquis de d'Oisans including information on the maquis hospital at Alpe D'huez

http://chapelles.provence.free.fr/lemonetierlelautaret.html
Col de Lauteret, VIllar-d’Arêne, Tunnel du Chambon and Bourg d’Oisans. The German 157th retreated from Briancon to Grenoble in August 1944 causing terror along their route.

http://d-d.natanson.pagesperso-orange.fr/english_lucien.htm
More on Bourg d’Oisans from the ancestor of some of the victims (in English).
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Thank you @Claude B, @davidof, @cstreat, for the references. All very interesting reading. I feel like I need to read more about this time in the Alps.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I found this very interesting, the Vercors. Original footage. In french but quite simple to understand.


http://youtube.com/v/zoq7QREIgB8
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Claude B, thanks
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
This lady was on the world at 1 today (near the end of the program, right before they started discussing trees). I only caught the end so I don’t know if there was more information or this interview just covered what is in the thread already.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
The story featured in The Times today.

snowHead
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
what...snow wrote:
This lady was on the world at 1 today (near the end of the program, right before they started discussing trees). I only caught the end so I don’t know if there was more information or this interview just covered what is in the thread already.

I heard the whole item, nothing added. snowHead
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
The BBC article on Dr Pétri sheltering a Jewish girl was fascinating and also sad that there seems to be no acknowledgement after the war.
This period split communities and the country in two. That is hard to forget and hard to talk about. The family of my wife had a huge (400 workers) factory that was turned over to the German army during the occupation for the production of bits of uniform or towels. You didn’t have a choice. If you said no, they took it anyway and shot you. But this was not collaboration, but rather the appropriation of industry. Collaboration was far more sinister and lead amongst other things, to mass deportation of the Jewish population which is impossible to dismiss or forget.
Megève was a temporary haven for Jewish refugees during the war.

There seem to be few or no records kept by the French on this period; perhaps understandably.

Perhaps one place to look for more records on this period would be the archives of the SOE (Special Operations Executive.) They reported in to MI6 (notably amongst others to a one Mr Kim Philby!!) and had agents spread across the continent.
In total, there were between 450 and 500 SOE agents throughout France, 40 of whom were women. SOE operated throughout the Alps, fighting with the Partisans, from Yugoslavia (with Tito’s Partidsans) through to France. While supplying arms and financial support to the Maquis, there was some reticence about aiding the Communist partisans.

Aside from general disruption to infrastructure, (a list of SOE operations can be found here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_Operations_Executive#Operations) the SOE helped escaped POW’s and downed airmen return home through the network of resistance fighters and Partisans throughout the alps. There were routes down through Yugoslavia, and out from Split, over to Bari (which was by then in the hands of the Allies) and home via Malta and/or Gibraltar. The other route was west through the Italian and Swiss alps, and across Southern France and over the Pyrenees.
I cant find any reference to Val D’Isere in the SOE section in the National Archives but I haven’t done anything near an exhaustive search.
The main Maquis concentration in the region was South West of Grenoble in the Massif du Vercours. Numbering around 4000, they suffered terribly in the Vermacht offensive of July 1944.

I skied down Germain Mattis several times last week and stopped to spare a thought for the brave young ski instructor.

Definitely worth more research.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Old Boy, welcome to snowHeads snowHead and thanks for a very interesting and impressive first post.
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@Old Boy, you mention Megeve and I related above a reference I found to St Gervais (next valley) also being a refuge for French Jews.

As far as I can tell, it was because during the war the Italians occupied the strip of France adjacent to their border when the Germans invaded the rest of France. Because Germany and Italy were on the same side travel between the zones was relatively unrestricted, but once in the Italian zone Jews weren't hunted out as they were elsewhere in occupied France, although they needed to be in hiding. No doubt there would also have been German soldiers around but they didn't have the authority to conduct house-to-house searches as they would have done in German-controlled France. That doesn't though take anything away from the bravery of locals who hid significant numbers of Jewish refugees and organised their onward escape through mountain paths to neutral Swizerland.

Presumably the same route would have been used by escaped prisoners of war and others.

However as you point out definitive information is hard to find (at least on google!) since the French find it a difficult bit of their history to discuss in detail.
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