Published 8 June 2006
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Conditions in Prison

We started to get to know each other and we started to get into groups. In little groups we shared the parcels we could receive, because some people received them and others didn’t. We spent 1942 like this, which was a terrible year because lots of people were shot and there were many amongst us who received news that their husbands, brothers, even their sons, had been shot. But we didn’t lose hope, we encouraged each other despite the suffering we endured. You can see how we were dressed in prison, like the peasants of the 18th century, with a hat, a huge frock and clogs. Despite this hard life we supported each other and we succeed, given that between us we had managed to get permission from the prison management to have schoolbooks. We didn’t have the right to have pens and ink or pencils because it was against the rules. They only distributed ink and paper on the days we wrote our letters.

We gave ourselves lessons; we learnt foreign languages, as there were foreign people with us who could help us. Myself, I gave English lessons even though I didn’t’ speak very good English, but previously I had done 7 years of English at school. I also gave lessons in French, maths and calculus. I learnt Russian with a friend there. Some learnt German; all of us left having improved ourselves. A poor girl who was with us arrived unable to read or write and we taught her both because she wanted to be able to correspond with her family without a middleman. So we did that and at the same time we still had our ideas of resistance, we demonstrated several times, amongst other days was the 14th of July, the ‘fete nationale francaise’ and we sung Marseillaise and made scene of resistance with little scraps of paper and cardboard.