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Frenchman Shares Struggles in Wartime France

World War II created a struggle not only for the people fighting the war, but for everyone at home.


Somerville – WEBWIRE

Family woes and social struggles are part of a wartime narrative.

Prolific French writer Jean Eugene Havel published “The Five Sisters: A Young Norman in the Second World War” (Melrose Books, 2014), which stands out as a memoir about his family and his country.

It was World War II, and the Germans occupied France, which included Normandy. Havel’s family and country both suffered. In “The Five Sisters,” readers will learn about the unique family dynamics the author was exposed to at an early age. He spent his first seven years in the care of his maternal grandmother in Le Havre. His grandmother and his aunts looked after him as his own father did not want him in their house. Havel suffered deep emotional pain because of him. But still, life was idyllic until the war broke out.
 
The Germans occupied Normandy and the rest of northern France and turned Le Havre, his hometown, into a military fortress. The occupying army and their tanks were all over. They arrested the local Spaniards, Jews, and gypsies and sent them to prisons in Germany; even the teachers were not spared. The Germans executed anyone caught listening to British broadcasts. Socioeconomic decay ensued.
 
Those were not pleasant years for Havel, who survived the ordeal. In fact, it took long for the French author to write about his wartime experience that disrupted the idyllic life he had enjoyed as a youth. Through his memoir, Havel provides testimony of what war could do to one’s family and country.
 
Havel’s “The Five Sisters: A Young Norman in the Second World War” was displayed at the NEA EXPO 2017 in Boston last June 28, 2017.
 
 
“The Five Sisters: A Young Norman in the Second World War”
Written by Jean Eugene Havel 
Published by Melrose Books 
Published date: July 25, 2014           
 
About the Author
 
Jean Eugene Havel is the author of a dozen of books written in French, a number of which have been translated into second and third languages. Havel holds a doctorate from the oldest university of Paris, the Sorbonne, and has spent much of later adulthood living and teaching in Ontario, Canada. “The Five Sisters” is his first book written in English.


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 Second World War
 A Young Norman
 The Five Sisters
 Wartime France
 Frenchman


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