- Contributed by
- CSV Media NI
- People in story:
- Janet Minn
- Location of story:
- Toulouse, France
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 20 January 2006
This story is taken from an interview with Janet Minn, and has been added to the site with their permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions. The interview was by Walter Love, and transcription was by Bruce Logan.
I was born in France and lived there until I was 18. I was a very young girl during the war, but I still remember very well, the frightening times, and the way our parents tried to keep us and feed us. My father was in the bank, and every time he got a promotion we moved. We were mostly in occupied France.
At one point we were living in Tolouse, and my grandparents were in Chatel-reau, which is in Turennes. Of course, you had to go to the border. There were checkpoints outside Chatel-reau, and we had gone as far as we could go, and spent a little time in a village trying to cross over without a pass. My mother did her very best, and discovered a couple who drove in a little van every morning to checkpoint. The Germans knew them, and didn’t always stop them. At that stage there were 3 children — I was 6, my sister was 4 and my little brother was just over 1. So we arranged to get into the van, one of those vans which had canvas, not solid. And the driver had a partition between the rest of the van, but not the passenger. And there were 2 benches in the back of the van. We arranged with them to cross over. And they said “If they whistle once, we don’t have to stop. But if they whistle twice, we’ll have to stop.”
There were 2 whistles, so we stopped. And I can still hear the noise of the German boots around the van, and the Germans asked the couple to give a lift to the German officer. So he had to get into the van, without knowing there were another woman and 3 children in the back.
So we had to keep quiet.
It was frightening. We had to drive for 13km like that.
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