Remembering my Great grand-parents who were righteous amongst the Nations

A month ago, I had to write about June 18th: The Appeal of 18 June, and tell you how I feel about it. It took me a month to figure this out and dare to talk about it. Yes, this is that painful. For many people, it is just one more Holiday, for me, it’s my strength, a part of where I come from, yes, a part of me, too. My Grand-parents meant everything to me and I miss them so much. Let me explain to you how wonderful they were, not only as family members but as human beings.

What is the Appeal of 18 June? It was a very famous speech by General Charles de Gaulle, the leader of the free French forces, in 1940. The Appeal is often considered to be the origin of the French resistance to the German occupation, during WWII.

De Gaulle spoke to the people of France, from London after the fall of France to the Nazis, and declared that the war for France was not yet over.

WWII and its remembrance is something that is very special to SpLAsh, and to me today. I am very proud to write this article about my family today and share with everyone what they have been doing during the war.

This is the story of my great-grandparents and my grandpa, in the south-west of France…

According to Yad Vashem*’s website, Amédée Jouan, a teacher, and town clerk, his wife Jeanne, also a teacher, and their son Michel, born in 1933, lived in Nailhac (Dordogne). In February 1943, the Jouans took in a Jewish family, the Souhamis, who were from Marseille.

 

 

After the Vieux-Port raid, Albert Souhami had decided to close his currency exchange office. His employee, Mr. Goirand, a close friend of Amédée Jouan since their military service together, drove the Souhami couple and their two children, Paulette, 8, and Maurice, 4, to Nailhac.

Two weeks later, Amédée found them a long-term refuge and also obtained false papers for them under the name of Soulier. In June 1944, when the retreating SS troops of the Das Reich Division passed through following their massacres at Tulle, Amédée had his son Michel take Albert to a cave and gave him a bag of food.

Paulette remembers the help, support, and friendship of this family, a credit to the teaching vocation, who could not bear the idea of people being massacred because of their religion.

Michel Jouan
Michel Jouan receiving the medal for his parents.

On April 13, 2004, Yad Vashem recognized Amédée and Jeanne Jouan as Righteous Among the Nations. This is with a lot of emotions and pride that I am writing this article today, to share the story of my family, as my grandpa, the last of these three heroes passed away 3 years ago. Many terrible memories remain from the war, this is why it is always beautiful to hear these atypical stories, from an era that is unknown to us…

Written by Lou-Solene Jouan

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*Yad Vashem is known to be Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the holocaust.

 

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