Some of the boys at Chateau de Quincy with one of our teachers, Raymonde Sauviac. This was taken a few months before our escape attempt. I am 2nd from left front row and Wolfgang is far right front row. The back row are all part of the over 12 year old group who would push the two carts from and back to the chateau.
Previous: A night at the battlefront between the retreating French and advancing Germans. We leave to return to Chateau de Chaumont. Select prior chapters from the index at the page bottom.
As we entered the gardens of the chateau from the street the most noticeable difference was the big iron gate had been ripped off its hinges. Better than having the chateau lying in a pile of rubble. The French sergeant in charge was already waiting to welcome us. We immediately became friends with the French soldiers. We had a friendly dinner with them although dinner was a bit of an overstatement. Food everywhere in France was becoming scarcer each day.
We were exhausted from our long hike that day and wanted to go to sleep. The French POWs had taken over our sleeping accommodations on the second floor. We did not mind. This was much better than the Germans. We slept on the floor of the annex.
For a few weeks we lived with this arrangement. There were no water pipe connections as yet. Each morning one of the French soldiers would take a group of us with pails to get water for the day in the village. Often we stopped to pick some cherries from local growers and enjoy their sweet flavor.
Finally the French POWs decided that it was time for them to leave before the Germans realized they were still living there. They managed to get some work clothes and buried their uniforms in the back garden. Over the next 3 days some departed each day until they were all gone. We never heard from them again.
Almost on cue a few days later we heard the sounds of marching from the street. We had been told that the Germans had plans to put troops in all the towns to control the local populations. And so it was with Quincy-sous-Sénart our occupiers had arrived. The town next to us became the hosts for a squadron of Luftwaffe.
The troop Kommandant (obviously well fed and tubby) and five soldiers took over our chateau. Different boys were assigned odd jobs to perform for the Germans. Such as cleaning their rooms, doing their laundry, making their beds etc. This was not so bad. But the Luftwaffe Kommandant took issue with having this big chateau with just a few soldiers and a bunch of Jews living here and constantly argued with our fat commander that the Luftwaffe pilots should be living in the chateau. Fortunately for us our commander who was of higher rank felt insulted and forbade the other commander from entering the chateau.
This picture is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101III-Adendorff-002-18A / Adendorf, Peter / CC-BY-SA
One day a huge troop of Waffen SS Cavalry (similar to the picture above) entered the chateau grounds, their horses pulling pieces of heavy artillery. We were cautioned to stay out of their way as they hated Jews. They only remained a few days so we kept hidden staying in the annex. Mostly the SS spent their time plundering the local farmer’s horses to replace their own worn out beasts. When they were satisfied they left as suddenly as they had appeared leaving behind the horses that were too weak to perform their duties. The farmers who were devastated at the loss of their horses, took the sick horses in hopes they could bring them back to health and replace their stolen livestock.
In September our German Kommandant was discharged. That left it open for the Luftwaffe to step in. Their commander contacted his high command in Berlin for permission to attach Chateau de Quincy for their own needs. Here is the description from the Hans Stern Draft:
Once again we had to scramble to find a new place for us and a means to get there in less than 3 weeks. Even worse when the local farmers found out about our dilemma they refused to let us have any produce as they felt they would not get paid.
Click this line for Chapter 6 – “The Apple Barrel” or select a chapter from the index in the left footer column below.