“MY MOTHER WAS DEMANDING, SHE FOUGHT INJUSTICE, SHE WAS GENEROUS, A STAUNCH GAULLIST, SHE LOVED HER FAMILY, HER GRANDCHILDREN, SHE LIKED FLOWERS AND WAS A VERY GOOD COOK.”
At the end of 1942, when France was occupied by the Germans, at the age of nineteen my mother decided to join the “Centurie” resistance network and the Youth Wing of the Civil and Military Organisation (l’Organisation Civile et Militaire des Jeunes) as a courier: sending supplies, helping rebels, political prisoners and their families, searching for the missing. On 31 July 1944, she was betrayed by a member of the network, detained by the Gestapo and tortured and on 15 August 1944 she was taken away from Pantin, in the last train carrying deportees from the Paris area. As they were leaving for Germany she managed to throw a piece of paper out of the train, which was then found by an unknown person and delivered to her mother in Pierre Nicole Street in Paris.
“Beloved parents, I am still in a fairly good condition and I have only one love, a love for my France and for those who have made me a good French woman. Thank you, thank you, I love you. I thank the person who has been looking after me: I have partially given him back what he did for me. I love you, have faith, I’ll be with you soon, trust me and believe me. Maryton” (her family nickname)
On 23 August 1944 arrival at Ravensbrück. Then in September she was moved to Torgau. But she refused to work for the Germans. So, she was sent to a penal camp in Königsberg am Oder and got typhoid. Then they returned her to Ravensbrück on 20 November.
On 29 April 1945 she was liberated by the Swedish Red Cross, suffering from avitaminosis, pleurisy and extensive swelling. She was first treated in Sweden and returned to France on 10 July 1945. When her pleurisy returned in November, she was treated in a sanatorium in Haute- Savoie. In 1947 she married Bernard Cordier and had three children and eight grandchildren.
My mother never went back to Ravensbrück and never raised her children to hate the Germans.
Marie Cordier’s daughter