Always remember November 25, 1943

November 25, 2022, the sad 79th anniversary of the horrific raid on the University of Clermont. A look back at the largest Nazi raid ever perpetrated on French universities

On November 25, the Universities of Clermont and Strasbourg commemorate the victims, teachers, students and administrators of the events of 1943. To understand the facts, we have to go back to 1939.
After the declaration of war, the city of Strasbourg was declared a military area by the General Staff and part of the population was therefore forced to evacuate the city. The administration of the university is moved to Clermont, followed by the students and the professors. Around 1,200 people retreat to Auvergne.
After the armistice of June 1940, the Germans founded the Reichsuniversität Straßburg, recalling professors and students, but some decided not to embark on the path towards Alsace, which had become German again. From 1941, resistance movements arose within the University of Clermont, which were fed by teachers and students from Strasbourg, but also from Clermont. In 1942, after the arrival of the occupiers in the southern zone, the movements united in the United Resistance Movement were formed.

More than 1,000 people arrested

Germany quickly launched operations to block anti-Nazi activity and wanted to repatriate 500 Alsatians, believed to be ethnic Germans, to Strasbourg. In 1943 several raids were organized. November 25th will be terrible. More than 1,000 people were arrested that day and 500 were detained for an entire day. Finally, 130 people are arrested for deportation. Only about thirty of them will return from the camps. Also on November 25, Professor Paul Collomp was murdered by the Gestapo, who accused him of not raising his hand quickly enough.

We are here to die

Arlette Lévy-Andersen was among the students arrested on November 25, 1943. The 18-year-old Jewish girl, who holds a high school diploma, joined a father who fled illegally in the free zone and enrolled at the University of Clermont to study English. She was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in January 1944 and experienced the hell of the extermination camps. “I can’t tell you how I managed to find the strength to survive. Every day was a victory over death. We hoped to see it through to the end,” she explained a few years later.
Thomas Kvist Christiansen, Danish journalist and photographer, made a documentary titled in 2017 Arlette, a story we must never forget. He has worked over the past few years to document the life and history of Arlette Lévy-Andersen, and in particular her work of remembrance over the past 30 years so that the world may know and not forget the drama of the Shoah.

-The film Arlette, a story we must never forget will be presented and aired to commemorate the 79th anniversary of the raid this Friday, November 25, 2022 at 2:00 p.m., Watz Amphitheater, UCA, 34 avenue Carnot in Clermont.
– After the show there will be a meeting with Thomas Kvist Christiansen and Fabrice Boyer.
-The book We are here to die Thomas Kvist Christiansen, translated and edited by Fabrice Boyer, Director of the Clermont Auvergne University Site Library, remains available from the university press. Blaise Pascal is sold on site.

The full program of the ceremonies can be found on the UCA website

Arlette Levy-Andersen / Photo DR
Arlette Levy-Andersen / Photo DR

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