Where No One Has Gone Before (going_boldly) wrote in little_details,
Where No One Has Gone Before

Checking my WWII facts: does this sound right, and some actual questions.

I have two tertiary characters, Samuel and Adele; in the whole of the (rather large) story I'm writing, they really only function as my main heroine's grandparents, but I'd like to make sure that their back story is factually accurate. So, first off: does the following sound plausible to you for 1944:

Adele is Frenchwoman in her early 20s, who at the time this story takes place, runs and operates a tavern. Tentatively this is in Montlucon; it is definitely somewhere in Auvergne Region. She inherited the tavern from her father, who had passed away in 1942: since that time, she's been using it for Resistance activities. She is not under suspicion, in part because she's seeing a German officer, her motivation being that they have to be doing something in the Dunlop factory that the Allies should know about, and having a Nazi boyfriend gives her an excuse to linger around places where useful information like that would be.

Samuel is a Jewish-American* pilot, also in his early 20s who had to bail out over Auvergne in the spring-to-summer of 1944, and broke his leg as a result. He ended up more or less hiding in her wine cellar while arrangements were being made for him to be smuggled out of Vichy France and into more friendly territory. Before that could happen, something happened that resulted in Adele being thrown under suspicion, and the pair ended up fleeing for their lives into the surrounding countryside.

Since they've now gotten the whole "how we met" storyline out of the way, the rest is mostly a case of "romance happened, we survived, the Allies won the war, we married, moved to Brooklyn, had your mother, and so on and so forth".

Mostly. Adele was in the early stages of pregnancy when they ended up fleeing, the baby being fathered by the German man she was using to get information. She gave birth to a baby boy in early 1945, and put him up for adoption/in an orphanage. The specific questions I have are as follows:

1) While most people would assume that Samuel was the baby's father, which dodges quite a few problems women in Adele's situation would be facing (like being accused of collaboration and all the nasty stuff that would come with that), there could still be some issues. What would be the attitude in 1940s rural France towards a couple that intended to get married, but had clearly had sex well before the wedding? What might be told to Samuel, and what might be told to Adele, since I'm assuming that there would be different expectations surrounding pre-marital sex for men and women?

2) What would your average Resistance fighter from that region make of the fact that Samuel is Jewish and Adele is not?

3) I would like to have the baby contact his mother sometime in the 1970s. How likely would that be? Would an adoption agency/orphanage right after France's liberation even take down her name, and still have it on record almos thirty years later?

4) Which is more likely for 1945 France: adoption agency or orphanage?

Resources used: Drew upon my family's experiences as a part of the Dutch Resistance, especially that of my grandmother's cousin; googled "french resistance in auvergne", "anti-semitism in the french resistance", "french resistance dunlop factory", "french resistance and downed allied pilots" "french resistance in Montlucon"; repeated the above, substituting out "french resistance" for "maquis"; googled "illegitimate children in post-wwii france", "orphanages in post-wii france" "adoption in post wwii france", "finding biological mother adoption france post-wii"; read every single up-and-running English-language article linked to the wikipedia article for the Maquis, and every similarly-cited article for their articles on Vichy France and the Free French Forces.

I've also now read very nearly everything the English-speaking internet has to offer about Nancy Wake, but that's less a case of research, and more having my research derailed by really badass journalist.

Reform Judaism, which is why he doesn't have any qualms about marrying a marginally Christain Frenchwoman. He's also fluent in French, to grease the plot a bit. Adele had no other family other than her father, and ended up converting some time after her move to the United States, in case you were wondering.

Tags: 1940-1949, france: history, ~racial prejudice (misc), ~religion: christianity: catholicism, ~religion: judaism, ~world war ii

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