French writer chiefly known for her haunting memoirs of her time as a prisoner in Auschwitz, where she was sent for her activities as a member of the French resistance. Born in Vigneux-sur-Seine, Essonne near Paris, Delbo gravitated toward theater and politics in her youth, joining the French Young Communist Women’s League in 1932. She met auschwitz and after charlotte delbo pdf married George Dudach two years later. Later in the decade she went to work for actor and theatrical producer Louis Jouvet and was with his company in Buenos Aires when Wehrmacht forces invaded and occupied France in 1940.
She could have waited to return when Philippe Pétain, leader of the collaborationist Vichy regime, established special courts in 1941 to deal with members of the resistance. One sentenced a friend of hers, a young architect named Andre Woog, to death. I can’t stand being safe while others are guillotined”, she told Jouvet. I won’t be able to look anyone in the eye.
Accordingly, she returned to Paris and Dudach, who was already active in the resistance as the assigned courier for the internationally famous poet Louis Aragon. The couple spent much of that winter printing and distributing pamphlets and other anti-Nazi Germany reading material. They became part of the group around communist philosopher Georges Politzer, and took an active role in publishing the underground journal Lettres Françaises.
On 2 March 1942 police followed a careless courier to their apartment, and arrested George and Charlotte. The courier was able to escape from a back window. Dudach was shot on the morning of 23 May after being allowed to bid his wife farewell.
23 January 1943 she and 229 other Frenchwomen, imprisoned for their resistance activities, were put on a train for the Auschwitz concentration camp. The convoy entered camp legend as the only one to enter the gates singing: they sang “La Marseillaise”, as one woman, Annette Epaux, would again later on her way to the gas chamber.
Helene Solomon-Langevin, daughter of physicist Paul Langevin. Delbo included, were selected to farm kok-saghyz and survived.
Most of the women on the convoy, however, were poor and uneducated and nearly all Communists. One of their number, Danielle Casanova, would be eulogized as a Communist martyr and role model for many years. Delbo later debunked much of the Casanova legend. Jeannette “Carmen” Serre, Madeleine Doiret, and Simone “Poupette” Alizon, many of whom figure prominently in her memoirs.