Deedee's story - danger from a drunk soldier

The German Army located a fuel supply depot in a field not 100 meters from our front door. German trucks and soldiers were constantly on the road, and our family of 4 females was under much scrutiny. Night and day we listened to the sounds of their boots striking our cobblestone street, fearing that the boots would stop at our house, and we would be detained or sent away to a work camp.

One night a drunken soldier beat on our door and forced his way into the house. He screamed at us in his language which we could not understand. Maman begged him in Wallon, our language, to leave but he either did not understand her or chose not to. We girls cowered in a corner, crying. The soldier grabbed my 17-year old sister Laura's arm and began dragging her toward the stairs, no doubt with the intent of raping her in one of the upstairs bedrooms. Maman tore out of the house like a madwoman and raced to the German's camp. She did not even stop to put on her boots, but ran through snow in her wooden clogs. In near hysterics she persuaded the sentry on duty to send for his commanding officer, who arrived promptly; then he followed her back to our house.

The drunken soldier was still struggling with Laura on the stairs, and it did not take long for the officer to size up the situation. He barked out an order which the soldier, even in his drunken haze, comprehended had been uttered by his commanding officer. He released Laura and staggered downstairs to receive what sounded to our ears like a severe dressing down. The officer pushed the soldier out the door and ordered him to wait, then speaking French, which we could understand, he assured us that the soldier would be punished, and that the incident would not be repeated. He apologized on behalf of the German Army, bowed , clicked his heels and was gone.

That night we saw that not all Germans were the jackbooted, brutish thugs we had come to fear. Some individuals, like the officer, could be polite, decent men. Even so, after the experience of seeing her family brutalized Maman was forced to make the most painful decision of her life. In order to prevent a repeat of the attack on her daughters she would have to send us away to different residences to keep us safe. That would prove to be the worst experience of the war for me.

By Andree Leroi
(As told to Tamara Talbott)
Virginia USA, 2010

Andree (Deedee) has written more about those
terrible years and there are three more stories

Years of poverty and hunger

Domestic slavery, and the Secret Army

Food at last, and the Liberation Ball


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