“They took insane risks”: a documentary pays tribute to Anne and Marcel Baudot, figures of the resistance in Eure

“They took insane risks”: a documentary pays tribute to Anne and Marcel Baudot, figures of the resistance in Eure
“They took insane risks”: a documentary pays tribute to Anne and Marcel Baudot, figures of the resistance in Eure

“At the kitchen window, my grandmother would put a white cloth or a red cloth. It was a signal: if the rag was red, my grandfather had better run away,” remembers Renaud Dillard. With his brother Éric and his cousins, Pascale Dérive and Yves Baudot, the members of the family went to Évreux in Eure last Friday, following in the footsteps of their ancestors during the Second World War. In particular, they rediscover the library, where their grandparents lived and where they spent holidays playing between the rows of books and climbing the heavy wooden ladders in the shelves.

Who could have imagined that a place of resistance was located a stone’s throw from the town hall of Évreux? However, it was in the basement of the Pavillon Fleuri library that we trained in the handling of weapons and the creation of explosives, while upstairs, Anne, librarian and archivist and Marcel Baudot, historian, archivist and head of the secret army of the department of Eure, and their seven children.

Discreet, they kept silent about their commitment for a long time

This Thursday, a documentary, entitled “Anne and Marcel Baudot, in the name of history”, will be broadcast at 10:40 p.m. on France 3. Signed by Laurent Sylvestre, the film traces their actions from 1940 to 1944, but also the rediscovery of their memory for about ten years. It marks the work of contemporary historians who, as the 80th anniversary of D-Day approaches, “exhume history and do this work of memory”, describes the director.

Discreet, the couple kept silent for a long time about their commitment to liberate France, to the point that their actions were forgotten, until recently being brought to light thanks to the documents left by the two archivists.

Rediscovered in 2017, the notebooks of Marcel Baudot who kept a register of the 5,000 members of the French Interior Forces in Eure and the registers of the works looted by the Nazi occupiers of Anne Baudot made it possible to exhume the memory of the couple Ebroician resistance fighters.

Among these documents, two treasures for the memory of Évreux: the diary of Anne Baudot, but also the notebooks of Marcel where, under the identity of Commander Breteuil, the head of the French Forces of the Interior (FFI) in the ‘Eure documented the identity of the 5,000 members of the FFI. “He probably kept these registers to allow, after the war, to exonerate or rehabilitate these members,” explains François Calame. The ethnologist and his wife, Florence Calame-Levert, curator and director of the Évreux museum, rediscovered these notebooks in 2017.

Communist personalities saved thanks to them

“They took completely insane risks,” summarizes Élodie Bocquet, head of the Archives and Heritage department of the city of Évreux. “If someone spoke, the whole family would risk their lives,” she continues. As a liaison agent, Anne Baudot was also hired to preserve the works so that they were not despoiled by the Nazi occupiers. “She really exercised what I call the duty of rebellion: she did not respect the codes of her profession by not including certain works in the registers, such as a Carolingian manual. »

On pages and pages, the archivist also documented the disappearance of numerous works, which constitutes one of the most precise registers for the research of works looted during the war. “She also hid lists of names of communist personalities, it saved their lives,” recalls François Calame.

“Anne and Marcel Baudot, in the name of history” by Laurent Sylvestre, to be discovered Thursday May 23, 2024 at 10:40 p.m. on France 3 Normandie and available for one month on france.tv.

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