The testimony of Josette Molland: scenes of life in the Nazi camps

Josette Molland, who died aged 100 in France on February 17, was a young member of the French Resistance during World War II when she was captured by the Gestapo and imprisoned in Nazi forced labor camps for women. She survived, having witnessed and endured repeated episodes of brutality. Later, after returning to France, she told her students about her experiences for years.

At eighty, however, fearing that his story would not reach them, he concluded that telling young people about his life in the camp was not enough. She should have shown him. So she began to paint, from her painful memory, scenes of the harsh incarceration she and many other inmates had endured. She produced 15 paintings in all, in the folk art style. Here are five of them, with the text that she wrote to accompany them.

“The bathroom”

“Place where one washed. No soap, toothbrush or towel. “Cold water flowing into a kind of narrow and uncomfortable trough.”

’50 shots of “Gummi”’

«Almost always fatal if the woman was thin. Here the blows are delivered by our block captain, a common law German prisoner (Green Triangle)”.

“Liberation of the camp by Polish partisans on horseback”

“They had surprised the SS, ready to flee, and after having mined the camp.”

‘At the dentist’

“Naked, so nothing could be hidden in clothes. He is looking for gold (used in that period). He takes out the crowns, with the tooth. “Here the bucket is full of gold.”

“He had just cut down a tree”

“She collapsed from exhaustion. The “auseherin” (the guard) finished her off with a bullet to the back of the head”.