Si jamais ils reviennent
“Si jamais ils reviennent” — in case they ever come back — is what a more than ninety-year-old lady in a small village in the south of France told us, when she explained why she still had an arsenal in her wine cellar. “They” are the German Nazis and collaborators against whom she fought as a young woman during the occupation in World War II. In those days she smuggled weapons for the Resistance, and today she still keeps rifles and pistols in her cellar.
The old lady lives in a village not far from the place where Maurice Weiss grew up. In his village — and in his childhood — the war was always present, even though nobody talked about the war: not his father, a soldier in the German army, nor his godfather, who fought in the Spanish Civil War. Still, it was easy to find the traces of the war there, and everywhere in Europe: traces in the landscape, family memories, the scars of loss. These are witnesses to the collective trauma that links all Europeans with each other.