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Oral history interview with Dominique Mendy

Oral History | Accession Number: 2012.462.2 | RG Number: RG-50.736.0002

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Dominique Amigou Mendy, born August 4, 1909 in Ziguinchor, Senegal, discusses his early life as a farmer in Casamance, a volunteer in World War I, and a second lieutenant in the Free French Forces; his return to Senegal in 1918; joining the merchant marines in Dakar in 1929 as a mechanic; his response to Degaulle's speech June 18, 1940; training as a photographer in France; joining the Resistance in the Bordeaux-Loupiac network; working as an intelligence officer for the maquis; securing hideouts, food and money for British parachutists in Bordeaux, and transporting arms between France and Britain; evading Nazi attention as an intelligence officer in the resistance because of their racist views; delivering an arms shipment to Oradour-sur-Glane, France about a month before the Nazi massacre of its population on June 10, 1944; arriving in Coutras, France to be denounced by an associate; his April 21, 1944 arrest by the Gestapo and torture in Bordeaux to reveal names of his comrades; not revealing information, but suffering permanent injuries; his simulated execution by the Nazis at 3 am and other painful humiliations; his transfer to Compiegne, France and deportation to Germany by cattle car along with other French Africans including Sidi Camera and Ernest Armand Huss; stopping at Buchenwald, which had no room for them; arriving at Neuengamme May 24, 1944; wearing the red triangle denoting political prisoners; intense, painful interrogations; his separation from white French prisoners; playing into the Nazi view of Africans as stupid, resulting in some soldiers taking pity on him; convincing a Cameroonian Kapo that he was not a maquisard but was rounded up by the French and taken against his will to France; working as a domestic for the Kapo and other Nazi officers; washing windows, sweeping floors, and being fed meager portions, which he always shared with his fellow French prisoners; being called "Bimbo" by the Nazi officers; procuring a small bar of soap after telling the Nazis he was black because he was dirty; being liberated from Neuengamme on April 7, 1945 by the Danish Red Cross; being transferred by boat to Copenhagen, Denmark; returning to France then Senegal; working as a personal photographer to Leopold Senghor until 1980; and receiving the Medal of the Resistance, the Croix de Guerre, and the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor on November 4, 1982.

Interviewee
Dominique A. Mendy
Interviewer
Magueye Kasse
Date
1998 January 05  (interview)
Language
French
Extent
2 digital files : WAV.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Magueye Kasse
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:38:48
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn74762