|CALL ME ANDRE|
|One man's magnificent story of resistance|
|Contact : email@example.com Copyright 2005 Diana Mara Henry www.natzweiler-struthof.com|
References to André in other histories of WW II
•Joël Le Tac, Le Breton de Montmartre, Franck Reynaud
•1943-1945: La Resistance en Enfer, Roger Leroy, Roger Linet, Max Nevers (Paris, Messidor, 1991), pages 88, 154, 159, 204
•Yvonne Le Tac: Une Femme dans le Siècle (de Montmartre à Ravensbrück), Monique Le Tac (Paris: Editions Tirésias, 2000), pages 124-126
•Par les nuits les plus longues, Roger Huguen (Ouest-France), page 39
•Le Camp de Concentration du Struthof / Konzentrationslager Natzweiler: Témoignages. Ed. Jean Simon. (Schirmeck: Essor, 1998), page 78
André and his wife Claire on their way to the US in 1950
Selected Presentations about André and the Natzweiler-Struthof camp by Diana Henry:
Carl Cherry Center for the Arts (exhibit), Carmel, CA, 1990
Alliance Francaise de la Péninsule de Monterey, 1997
Belmont, MA Public Library, 1998
Brandeis University, Romance and Comparative Literature Deparment, 1998
The French Library and Cultural Center, Boston, 2000
Harvard Hillel, Yom Hashoah, 2000
Annual Holocaust Remembrance Program, co-sponsored by the Veterans Council of Greater New Bedford, U.Mass-Dartmouth's Boivin Center for French Studies and Center for Jewish Culture, Ahavath Achim Synagogue, the Inter Church Council of Greater New Bedford, hosted by Tifereth Israel Synagogue, 2001
Boston Neighborhood Network,"It's All About Arts,"
Springfield College, Yom HaShoah lecture, 4/12/2007
Association for Jewish Studies panel: Survivor testimony in writing the history of a neglected concentration camp. December 2009
40TH ANNUAL SCHOLARS’ CONFERENCE ON THE HOLOCAUST AND THE CHURCHES, Philadelphia,March 2010.
André's wife, Claire, at the time of their meeting in London, 1941, when she worked in the RAF.
For more information about Konzentrationslager Natzweiler-Struthof, see:
Photos of the Natzweiler-Struthof camp, by Diana Mara Henry
and drawings from memory of camp scenes by survivor Henri Gayot
And photographs from the documentation used for the Nuremburg trials'
Natzweiler Has been a French National Monument since 1968
Aerial reconnaissance photo of Konzentrationslager Natzweiler (K.L.Na) by the RAF, July, 1944
For more photographs and a slide show of the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp, weblog and other survivor memoirs:
This website and its contents are
Copyright © 2005 Diana Mara Henry
In this memoir of his scandalously daring exploits as a spy for the British from the director’s office of the French National Railroads for Brittany, André Peulevey, the name by which the Jewish German ex-pat Joseph Scheinmann was known, details others’ and his own sacrifice and heroism -- documented in eye-witness accounts --- that saved many lives and inflicted savage damage on the Nazis and their collaborators. Then punished under the “Nacht und Nebel” (Night and Fog) decree, André and his comrades continued to fight from inside Gestapo prisons in Paris and at Natzweiler-Struthof, the only Nazi Konzentrationslager on French soil, dedicated to the punishment, exploitation and elimination of political prisoners from two dozen European countries, and the gassing of Gypsies and Jews.
Introduction by Diana Mara Henry: How did André, freedom fighter and spy, a Jew who wasn’t known to be one, manipulate the Nazis and survive a camp designed “exclusively for non-Jews?”
My Story Begins: A time of foreboding as relentless change polarizes German youth in the 1930’s and propels André from leadership to exile.
A New Homeland: Life in France looks good: business, tennis and romance flourish.
Fighting for France: André seeks out other soldiers who want to fight, only to be asked by townspeople to stop. By wiles and forgery, he avoids being taken to Germany as a prisoner of war.
Spy for the British: Hired as a German translator at French National Railroad (SNCF) headquarters, André discovers his boss is organizing a sabotage, intelligence, and escape network. André monitors German strategies and losses in the bombing of Britain, German troop and materiel shipments, u-boat bases, submarines caches and the port of Brest, reporting it all to the British through the Johnny and Overcloud networks.
Prisoner of the Gestapo: By bravado decision, André deliberately falls “into the mousetrap.” He has his torturers disciplined and fools his Gestapo interrogators into giving him a cushy writing assigment before his eventual “trial,” death sentence, and 18 months (including 11 in solitary) in prison, where the resistance continues.
“NN” at Natzweiler: “Nacht Und Nebel” is decreed to make political prisoners disappear into “Night and Fog” like a character in Hitler’s favorite Wagner opera (Das Rhinegold), and Natzweiler-Struthof in Alsace is the camp that the "NN" are taken to for the ultimate punishment. André interprets the language and reality of their taskmasters’ terror and mayhem, organizes his fellow Frenchmen during their terrible ordeal, making sure they understand German orders, negotiating with the ruling class of Communist prisoners, imposing discipline and glavanizing morale.
Four Episodes: André leaves the hospital barracks just ahead of the “work detail ascending to heaven,” is assigned to the weaving shop, where he reorganizes the workers and reduces production by 30%, produces a play, and becomes a KAPO (prisoner boss.) “Do they work like this when I am not around?” asks the murderous Rottenführer Ehrmanntraut. “Of course not!” André snaps back. They took seven months and never finished the curve in the road.
Dachau, Allach, Dachau: Natzweiler-Struthof is evacuated ahead of the Allied invasion (the first concentration camp to be discovered). André is sent to Dachau, its slave labor camp of Allach --- where he produces another surreptitious theatrical , this one on the theme of “France and its Provinces in Song” ---and back to Dachau, where he pulls a still live man from a pile of bodies being carted off to cremation and is himself cured of typhus.
Freedom and Loss: Liberation from Dachau is followed by death caused by overeating for many; but André and his friends hitch a ride with American GI’s back toward Paris where he settles up with the British underground and French army paymasters, and is tragically aware that his parents will not return from Auschwitz. His romance with Claire, a translator he met in England, is miraculously reignited and the happiest years of life still lie ahead.
The Concentration Camp Universe: “Why could so many people be kept under control by so few?” “How could one survive a camp?” André faces the hard questions and shares his observations about how the prisoners were played against each other; which classes of prisoner rose to the top; why status in the outside world was not a benefit in the camps; why terror works; what character traits, past history, and goals helped prisoners to survive and how he himself was able to resist a loss of dignity and not abuse his fellow prisoners.
Conclusion; “What happened to us happened in an ordinary time...the guards, the members of the Gestapo and the SS were composed of normal people like us all...teachers, postmen, workers, doctors could be turned into torturers and murderers. The Nazis could only accomplish what they did, first in Germany and later in all the occupied territories, thanks to a lot of complicity in high-ranking places and also thanks to the indifference, lack of courage, ignorance and will not to believe what seemed to be the incredible acts of the Germans.”
This page and its contents Copyright ©2005 Diana Mara Henry
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