HYMN TO LIFE

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Roadmap by Jacques Bravo & Francois Pédron

 

It is indeed a road book because we discovered a world unknown to us, so millions of French people who pass in front of the architectural site without suspecting the human wealth it shelters.

This clearly identified project turned out to be even more exciting than expected. For two months we have approached with circumspection and respect and our vision has changed: there is so much to say and to show, by image and words.

We were greeted with the greatest loyalty and little by little, over the meetings, our status changed spontaneously. The doctor general introduced us first as "journalists", then the directors of a book, these last days when he preceded us in a room, he announced to us: "they are friends". Which gives all its meaning at work undertaken. Impossible not to remain indifferent, but simply distant. We are now involved in these pages of human history. Men of good will, they are all like this wonderful Phillip Jackson whose father volunteered in 1915, resisted in 1942, deported, died before the eyes of his son. Death for France and the most beautiful idea of ​​Liberty. Like Jacques Beaugé who sacrificed himself to El Alamein to save his fellow fighters. Who pleads for a life justified by an invincible faith, while he has been blind and deprived of his two hands for more than sixty years. It has become a benchmark worldwide. Like Madeleine Aylmer-Roubenne, camp companion of Geneviève de Gaulle, animated by the same energy. . And it is also these extraordinary women who come every day near a husband whom they pamper, as Mme Mazier has been presenting every afternoon for thirty years. Each resident, 'guest' as the very subtle Victor Altabert says with a smile, is an essential fragment of our history. What we want to testify - every day more - since we have the privilege of approaching them. It is a look that will no longer have an object in a few years. The time of remembrance will not wait.

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Nadia Karczmar

 

Age has shaped his face out of time, out of the fabric of history into which life has plunged him violently. The image first, imposes itself on all. Hieratic, sculpted, impeccably styled by Sébastien, choosing with taste often vibrant colors, it defies time. Statufied? especially not ! The high cheekbones, the agile eye, always surrounded, it evokes more a princess of the steppes who would have been mistaken for a film than an old lady even charming. We want to approach it, but we dare not disturb this order. There is ritual in these afternoons in the sun, on the living terrace of the Foyer where everyone can meet. Everyone greets Nadia.

(click on the Pdf to read the full portrait)

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Marcel Haro

 

He has only one treasure, his photo album. He even managed to make a self-portrait during artillery preparation in Tonkin, a few minutes before he went on the attack. These images punctuate his life, they are the limits that he can see from afar. His (pretty) wife and his marriage in 1952, before he embarked in Indochina. And above all his Renault B 1 bis tank, his "Normandy" which he drove at the head of the parade given in honor of King George VI in 1938 ...

(click on the Pdf to read the full portrait)

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Guy Condominas

 

At first it was an enigma. He stood most willingly in his room and, in the darkness, you could only see his sharp face, underlined by a pointed goatee, and his black eye. It looked like an engraving of the Journal des Voyages, an old scholar, somewhere in the mountains of the north. He never talks about his story, he hardly ever spoke. He was renewing the confinement he suffered during his childhood. It is an episode too forgotten of what will become the war of Indochina ...

(click on the Pdf to read the full portrait)

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Phillip Jackson

 

Even better than a character, it is a nature. Barred, the inquisitive eye and the marked eyebrow of a Lee Marvin, he is naturally comforting. The grip is solid, the reception is direct, it has the pleasure of people who hide nothing. The memory is flawless, he will tell us in a few words why and how his father, "Doctor Jack" died for France, and how he and his mother survived the Nazi death camps.

(click on the Pdf to read the full portrait)

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Jacques Beaugé, known as Jacques Lebreton

 

If he has two surnames, it is the least as his existence has been complex. His life has made him an extraordinary character. The first meeting is intimidating. The very sculpted face, masked by dark glasses, the stamped voice, the easy verb, the almost rogue tone, the back turned, it is impressive.

A profile of a centurion with the ease of a tribune and a stature of the third line of rugby, he is not a victim. To really approach him you will need a second meeting, his books. Because it is imperative to start at the beginning ...

(click on the Pdf to read the full portrait)

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Madeleine Aylmer Roubenne

 

She was fifteen when France went to war. She was twenty when she was thrown into Ravensbrück camp. She loved books and cinema, she was the only and pampered daughter of porcelain traders. Nothing predestined him to play such an active role in the resistance, except love and a keen sense of justice which made him refuse the fatality of defeat. His name was Jean Aylmer, he was hardly older than her, 22 years old, he was the friend of a cousin. From an English father he could easily have protected himself, but he had chosen France which he would serve until death.

(click on the Pdf to read the full portrait)

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Armelle Drouan

 

The years have undoubtedly given her back her little girl voice. A flute voice which nevertheless creeps into the flow of conversations. It was she who started the conversation at a party in Moussy, when the INI boarders are the distinguished hosts of Gueules Cassées. We were sunbathing near the goldfish pond while chatting, in a country party atmosphere where everything is so well organized that nothing seems 'orderly'. His keen gaze follows the flight of birds. Breton of Mesquer, familiar with the Brière, she learned about birds in this perfectly preserved site. Such a lively look, a mobility of mind that completely makes you forget your handicap.

(click on the Pdf to read the full portrait)

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Marie-Véronique Poggioli

 

Miss Poggioli, she is very attached to the "miss", interrupts her work to receive us. She writes letters to help residents, she sighs as if she is overwhelmed. It has set up an office living room which is a flagship of the INI. Its territory which denies the passage of time. We have often seen her in great conversation with visitors, she leaves the door ajar so that we do not disturb her while knocking on the door. The word carelessness never made sense to her. No doubt the example of his father, a naval officer. We know that on the Royal's boats, everything must be clear.

(click on the Pdf to read the full portrait)

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Inès Etcheto Reisz

She wears a legendary princess first name, and she wears it wonderfully, because she is a real princess, by the look, the extreme distinction, the elegance of her thought. She reigns with discretion over this institution, erasing herself voluntarily, not wanting to take a place in the human landscape. But it attracts all eyes, and tributes. At the same time very surrounded and very secretive.

(click on the Pdf to read the full portrait)

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Mathieu François Agnello

He has an artist physique and he is an artist. It is the heart of the comfort device, it manages the workshop of ghost members who have not yet found their master, it works the precision mechanics and the light resins which must be forgotten. He is an artist who has heart because, in his hands, concentrates everything that is wrong, and he must think of the hearts of others. Hidden beneath his conjuring side - it is normal, he conceals - an attentive mind and a listening of great finesse. He always finds the word for laughter, the humor that will break the silence of suffering, make a breach in the confinement in pain.

(click on the Pdf to read the full portrait)

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Afterword by Jean Lartéguy

 

"Child, I stopped at the Invalides. Lifting my nose, I saw, in the soldiers' church, the flags, some in tatters, harvested by Napoleon in the sun of Austerlitz. From Alexander to Napoleon, was the time So short? Did Napoleon, as a child, dream like me of Alexander and the conquest of the world?

Time united them.

Here I am at the age where time is panicking and galloping, where memories are jostling before a door that will close. I can't slow down even if I can't breathe too quickly to chase it.

I have known Spanish prisons and, in the solitude of a cell, I found my old enemy, time immobile and the anguish that always accompanies it. Beaches of Italy and France, dark forests of the Vosges, the Rhine that you cross with rubber canoes that seem like toys. The world belongs to us, we are proud of our brand new stripes, our medals ...

I hung out on the battlefields where the grass was growing, I didn't recognize the cities where we had fought. In vain, I searched the monuments for the names of my friends who had died to deliver them. But time always pushed me forward. "Faster, faster! he said to me. Don't you see that life is measured to you? "

At the Invalides, I finally put my baggage. Time finally gave me a break and whispered to me: "If I grant you the leisure, you will finally be able to write the book, the last one, where you will reveal your truth if you ever knew it".

In the shadow of the Golden Dome, under the arches of the Cour d'Honneur, time stood still for a moment. "

 

Jean Lartéguy

 

Livre Hymne à la vie