Under Benito’s Hat –King’s Cross
The trains depart for Letchworth, Edinburgh and Peterborough
-looks like you might have to change at Letchworth
For a bus; two lectures at J.B.W.
and we have been in Paris between ’38 and 1942 and maybe a little after too
A terrible time for both Jews and for women; the Wehrmacht collection point is in the
Gendarmarie-left for two days without bread, without water or any other facilities.
Men wearing yellow stars –
Having to give proof of gentile forbears for five generations
Paris-an island of compromise and collaboration.
Escapees conveyed by passeurs, some notably brave
-others giving away the Jewish escapees –for a few pieces of silver.
There and then the world of Louis Malle, his Au Revoir les Enfants, Irène Némirovsky and Coco Chanel,
who it seems survived quite well between the satin sheets with her German officer.
Afterwards the rough justice – hair shaved off and ten years of “National humiliation”.
According to De Gaulle, who was the French state-only a small- a very small number collaborated
as he disarmed the communist resistance, told them to return to being
bakers, butchers and the rest……
“What language do we dream in?” asks the writer in the next session
“Security officers tour this station twenty-four hours a day”
Born in Russia-life begins amongst dark cherry trees-there are two names for cherry trees in Russian.
Still today she recalls the deep, dusky black variety that tastes like velvet to her tongue
And she recalls in the background, that relation who was tall and wispy in a light-yellow dress,
Willowy to the eye of this two-and-a-half-year-old child.
Then to Prague where she learns Czech with its subtle ability to carry shades of irony.
Later to Hamburg where she adds German to her vocabulary …. then it is another speaker’s turn
whose voice seems gentle talking about the pains of exile, the stranger’s distanced view and
The slip between the idea conceived in the brain and the words which later
reach the tongue.
She talks of Istanbul and night time – of a transvestite in her
shimmering dress holding one shoe-a broken high heel-
wearing the other and cursing loudly walking up
the cobbled hill at midnight. Cursing men and the
society unable to accept differences.
“This is a security announcement………or text…….”