Francia / Biografia

Albert André


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​​At 22 years of age, Albert Andre (resistant name Jacque Paris (1919-03-01)) and his family were residents of in the seaside town of Arromanches-les-Bains. Their lives changed in the summer of 1940 when German forces arrived and occupied the village.

​​In April 1942, Albert was conscripted as a labourer for the German forces and had to assist in the construction of German fortifications in Arromanches and Asnelles. He stated that there was no choice due to the agreements between the Vichy French government and Nazi Germany. 

​​In August 1943, he was forced to move to Germany to help with construction for the war effort. On 5 August 1943, along with five other people, his journey to Germany began. After four days of bad travel from Caen to Paris then onwards to Germany, they finally arrived in Aachen. Arriving in Essen, he came in to contact with slave labourers of Organisation Todt, who were building wooden barracks where they would stay.  

He soon received new from his mother that his grandfather had passed away back in France and saw an opportunity to return. He informed his superiors that it was his father who had passed away and asked for a short leave period to return to attend to family matters. On 8 December 1943, he was escorted to the train station by members of Organisation Todt, whom he managed to lose, and he headed straight back home to Arromanches

On arrival, he quickly tried to obtain false documents (as Jacque Paris) to hide his identity should he be checked by occupying German forces. Over the coming months, especially in May, he saw an increase not only in German activity but also in heavy bombardments by the Allies against the German positions along the coast. 

On the morning of 6 June 1944, he and the family awoke to aerial and naval bombardment that began to hit around Arromanches-les-Bains. As dawn broke, he looked out to sea and noted an artificial smoke screen from all the bombings. It was not until later in the day that the smoke dispersed, and they could see hundreds of ships off the coastline. 

Later that day the village was liberated by British forces entering Arromanches. Albert recalled seeing them in the street and talking briefly with them, with others brought out wine. 

Sadly, several of his family members were killed in the bombing, including his sister and her husband. He went on to survive the war and have a family. His memoirs were recorded by a family member who published them for others to hear the civilian story of an Arromanches resident during the Second World War.