a history tale–remembering and forgetting..or is that ignoring

(Roger Viollet / Getty Images)

Every once in a while, the BBC offers a story from the past.
Long forgotten stories from the past.
But not a too distant past.

Stories about the War and the tales of individuals that have been long forgotten.
Private, yet many daring, tales of heroism, of being brave, of humanitarianism,
of kindness—tales of what it means to be human.

In war, what it means to be human is most often forgotten…very quickly.
A first casualty so to speak.

Some of these long-forgotten tales have happy endings, some do not.

However, either way even today lessons remain in all these stories that are still relevant
for both you and me–despite their having taken place nearly 80 years ago.

The other day, I read a post offered by our friend Citizen Tom about the state
of our National Fabric—he offered it on his personal blog as well as
the Prince William and Manassas Family Alliance blog for which he also writes



It seems that there is an analytical study out there about how
society and human nature are basically a mostly cyclical affair.

It’s known as Strauss–Howe generational theory (en.wikipedia.org) and according to Tom and his reading
Strauss and Howe believed that we begin a new cycle of human history about every four generations.
Since a generation lasts about 20 years, we begin a new cycle about every 80 – 90 years.

What characterizes the beginning and end of a cycle?
A time of crisis. Society slowly unravels until there is a crisis.
Then the people fight among themselves to resolve the crisis until some group
becomes dominant and “wins”. Then, a recovery of some sort begins

Tom muses aloud as to whether this Strauss-Howe theory is truly accurate or not
as he eventually concludes that there is most likely some validity to it all.

And so I concur…as I too believe we are indeed a cyclical people.

And I find it interesting that there are these long-forgotten, mostly
obscure, even hidden, stories dating back nearly 80 years that are just now
being unearthed, coming back as if to remind us and even warn us.
They are being uncovered just when we need to remember.

This particular story offered by the BBC, written by Rosie Whitehouse,
takes place in 1943, in a remote ski resort village high in the French Alps.
The story involves a local doctor and two Jewish girls on the run…
one of whom had a severely broken leg.

It is a tale of risk, fear, faith, hope and eventually a tale forgotten.
And now it appears that perhaps it is a tale that is reluctant to be recalled.

The doctor was Frédéric Pétri and the girls, Huguette (15) and Marion (23) Müller,
two sisters originally from Berlin.
When the Nazis had come to power in 1933, the Müller family had fled from their
native Germany to France.

The girl’s mother had labored to obtain false papers for Huguette, the youngest—
going so far as to changing her name and having her baptized–
all in hopes of trying to hide any Jewish lineage.

Eventually, their parents were discovered, arrested and sent to Auschwitz but the
girls managed to flee.

Fleeing to a small Alpine ski village.

(PÉTRI Family archives)

(Marion, her young son Tim and Hugeutte following the war)

It was in the tiny mountain village of Val d’Isere, in 1943 that three lives would collide together.
And yet it wouldn’t be until 2020 until that the collision of lives would be shared
with a larger audience.

Marion passed away in 2010 and now, at age 92, Huguette has decided she wants their story told.

Please click the link below to read the fascinating story of survival and the odd
response from today’s villagers.

Val d’Isere: The doctor who hid a Jewish girl – and the resort that wants to forget


7 comments on “a history tale–remembering and forgetting..or is that ignoring

  1. […] via a history tale–remembering and forgetting..or is that ignoring — cookiecrumbstoliveby […]

  2. atimetoshare.me says:

    We must never forget these horrible incidents in the world’s history, but we must also be will willing to learn from them.

  3. Citizen Tom says:


    That’s quite a tale and very timely. When we speak of Nazis and Communists and the like, we need to remember what those people did to their neighbors. We also need to remember that those people were quite ordinary, just sinners like the rest of us.

    Dr Frédéric Pétri sounds like the sort of man I wish I could say I am. Not many have the courage to ask the Holy Spirit for so much love, grace, and mercy. His story would make a first rate book or movie. Whatever passes for movies in Heaven, I hope to see it and meet him there.

    Thank you the kindness of mentioning my post and for the links.

    • Oh Tom, you are more than welcome—but it is I who must thank you—always for such deep wisdom which is always accompanied by scincere humility.

      I often wonder how I would have responded– not so much a European Christian say in France or Amsterdam… but percisely as a German Christian during the rise of the Nazi party—
      Would I join the mob mentality of what we now recognize as insanity or would I be benevolent and kind? Would I be willing to risk everything for another person?
      A person who worshiped differently than I?

      When I watch the old newsreels of the crowds who greeted the Furher when his motorcade passed by…I look at the women and children in the crowds who seem so happy and swept up in the thrill of the moment of the “German” savior.
      They seem no different from me, yet they were.

      I think of Corrie Ten Boom in Holland–risking everything, being captured, sent to a death camp, losing her sister…and still maintaining her faith, her generosity, her Spirit—

      Perhaps that is why I am here in this time and not that time.
      And maybe that is why God has placed such a burden in my heart for that time.
      To share what was with now…maybe as a reminder…maybe as a warning…
      I can’t say.

  4. Tricia says:

    This is a fascinating story Julie, thanks for sharing it. Parts of France still have a long way to go apparently in facing the truth about that horrible time and their own roles in it.

    • I have found that true in Germany as well Tricia— when I’ve traveled, smaller towns and even in Berlin— very reluctant to acknowledge— its more of a maybe if we ignore it, it will go away sort of mentality

  5. SLIMJIM says:

    Stories like this should not be forgotten; so that evil don’t triumph.

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