So my father, brother Charles and I were in St. Denis from March 5, 1942 until our liberation in August 1944. I remember it was a Wednesday evening when we went to the iron gates of the camp and found them unlocked, which was very unusual. We pushed the iron gates open and I remember very well, when everyone went out into the streets and cafes of St. Denis, local people happily mixed with the internees. We stayed there for about 2 or 3 hours. All the drinks were free and everyone was kissing one another and shouting that the war was over.

That night, we had to return to the camp as we had nowhere else to sleep. So we came back around 10 or 11 o’clock and stayed in the camp. We were so excited that evening that no one could sleep. Come Thursday morning, the troops of Marshal Juin were the first to enter Paris via St. Denis because the British or American troops let the French Marshal enter the French capital first.

My brother Charles, along with our cousin John Mammon, decided to leave the camp on Thursday morning and both of them headed to John’s half sister. My father and I stayed behind in the camp until Saturday morning, when we decided to take our belongings and go back to our apartment in Passy on Rue Vitale, in Paris.

We found a barrel to transport our belongings and put everything in it with the help of another person. Then we started our long and tiring walk back to Passy.

The metro was running outside of St. Denis, but because we had the barrel to carry, we had to walk the whole way. From St. Denis to Paris it must be about 10 or 12 miles, so we were three people pulling and pushing a barrel. As we approached the west side of Paris the Force Francais de L’interior (FFI) and the collaborators were fighting in the streets. It was quite dangerous to be walking outside in Paris that day. I remember Charles DeGaulle was walking by the Champs Elysee. leading a procession of thousands and thousands of civilians, mostly FFI, as Paris had finally been liberated.

Eventually we arrived at our apartment in Paris at 44 Rue Vitale. I went to the concierge and asked her to let us in the apartment, but she refused, saying that the apartment was given to some collaborators by the Germans and she could not let us in.

I therefore decided to go to the local police station to get help from them. I walked to the local police station and informed one of the FFI of our problem. After telling him that we were British subjects fresh out of the St. Denis concentration camp and that my 45 year old father had just walked 12 miles and was now waiting outside the apartment, where the concierge coldly dismissed us, he became furious. He said ‘you come with me and we will see who is entitled to the apartment.’

The officer who was a strapping six feet tall and broad shouldered, grabbed a machine gun and told me to jump behind him on his motorcycle and hold on tight. We arrived at the apartment and went straight to the concierge. She refused at first, though she recognized us as the previous legal owners of the apartment.

The policeman told her to either open the door or he would blow it up. Of course she did not want to argue with him, and proceeded to open the door. So after four years and two months we finally moved back to our apartment in Paris.

So we put our belongings into the apartment and went to my father’s cousin Berthe Supus’ apartment in La Republic. (Her husband Leon had been deported). At this time my mother was still in St. Porquier and we had no way of communicating with her at that time as a lot of telephone calls could not be connected.

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