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Oral history interview with Daniel Bloch

Oral History | Accession Number: 2018.269.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0973

Daniel Bloch, born on March 11, 1926 in Strasbourg, France, discusses his father Marc Bloch (a famous medieval historian) and mother Simone Vidal Bloch; being the fourth of six children; his parents, who were secular Jews; not confronting with antisemitism while he was growing up; attending a Montessori school outside of Paris (near Clamart); his relationship with his father; taking an interest in nature and manual skills; the beginning of the war in September 1939 and his father’s decision to serve in the army; the evacuation of the civilian population of Strasbourg; their apartment becoming Gestapo headquarters; going with his family to their country home in the village Les Fougères in the Creuse; his father’s role in the army as the coordinator of supplies for the tanks and trucks; his father being permitted to keep his professorship at the University of Strasbourg, which had been moved to the city of Clermont-Ferrand; living with his family in a village called Chamalières; moving with his family after a year to Montpellier, where the climate was better for his ailing mother’s health; his older brothers, who went to England and helped with the war effort; being sent to work on a farm; experiencing antisemitism for the first time; his desire to join the resistance; his handler Jacqueline, who was the sister of Alexander Parodi; being assigned to a “maquis” in the department of Cantal; how his group was instrumental in slowing down the SS Das Reich Division as it raced across France, trying to reach Normandy in June 1944; the battle of Mont Mouchet; the murder of his uncle, who was responsible for an entire resistance network; his father’s false surname in the war “Narbonne”, which Daniel also used for his false papers; learning of his father’s death; his mother’s death on July 3, 1944; remaining with his group; the liberation of Paris in August 1944; joining the 150th Regiment (known as the “Red Devils of Colmar”) headed by Général de Lattre de Tassigny; wading in mud for weeks while battling to win back Alsace-Lorraine; getting frost bite and being sent to a hospital in Issoudun; being transferred to a hospital outside Paris; recovering and volunteering to remain with the French army in occupied Germany in 1946; working as a chauffeur to General Koenig; being under the tutelage of his older sister, Alice; the family apartment on the Rue de Sèvres near the Hôtel Lutétia; becoming an assistant photographer at the newspaper “Combat” and being special assistant to the editor-in-chief, Albert Camus, who became his mentor; his other mentor Pierre Lazareff and working in the photography department of “France-Soir”; studying in the United States from 1960 to 1962; accompanying Nelson Rockefeller on some of his travels; his third mentor Roger Bordas, who was a political figure in the French government; living in Canada for 20 years; returning to France in 1984; being involved with public relations at the Cannes Film Festival for many years; retiring in 1988 and moving to Spain; and his efforts to preserve his father’s memory.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Daniel Bloch
Peggy Frankston
interview:  2018 July 05
creation: Paris (France)
3 digital files : WAV.
Record last modified: 2020-08-03 11:26:21
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