On 15 May 1944, the convoy #73 left France with 878 Jewish men in the prime of age, of all nationalities, towards the Baltic States, to Kaunas (Lithuania) and Reval (today Tallinn, Estonia). This is the only one out of the 79 convoys which left France, which was sent to the Baltic States. These men have been told that they would work for the Todt Organization and they were supposed to go and work ; but so far, nobody knows for which reason the plan was changed and why the train went to Kaunas, where it was split into two parts : five wagons out of fifteen continued the trip to Reval (today Tallinn) in Estonia. In 1945, after the war, there were only 23 survivors.
During fifty years, the story of that convoy remained almost completely unknown. I'm not an historian, nor a writer, nor a publisher, but because different chances and events, I was led to prepare a book in memory of these men, among whom was my own father.
That book is completely benevolent and without any profit at all. It's entitled "We are 900 French men" (which is a phrase the deportees engraved on the wall of the cell in which they were imprisoned in the Ninth Fort of Kaunas). It contains now four volumes. It tells the story of that convoy, with all the information I could gather since 1994, the report of the different memory trips which were made to the Baltic States, on the traces of that convoy, in particular to unveil memory plaques. But the main interest of that book is to gather the testimonies of the families of about 250 of these men, whom I could find in different countries, worldwide, thanks to long searches.
I'm now preparing the fifth volume of that book since several testimonies arrived after the publishing of the last volume. It will be published next May or June, maybe later if necessary. Next 15 May 2004 will be the 60th anniversary of the departure of that convoy from France.
I'm still searching new families of these deportees, in any country, who would take part in preparing that book, in writing a sort of biography of their deportee who was in that convoy, his family life before WWII, how he was arrested, etc. These texts may be sent with photos or documents. They can be short or long, according to the choice of everyone : I never modify them, except spelling mistakes. It's possible to write them in English : I'll translate them into French. If more information is need, here are my details :
Eve Line Blum-Cherchevsky
26 chemin du Grand Buisson
F – 25000 Besançon
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