My father, Georges, sometimes talked about it with his friends of the resistance (notably with Paul Guiral called Gavarni or Daumier). They are etched in the memory of the child I was at that time and may be subject to approximations; they are in all cases the result of authentic and indisputable facts, often attested by period documents.
As I cycled along the canal from Verlhaguet to Montech, I passed a wood and strange traces caught my attention; I put down my bike and entered the woods where I saw, close to the edge, several places where the earth had been stirred.
I understood that a tragedy had recently unfolded there and previned my leaders; The bodies of two young men were later discovered murdered by the Germans.
One day I was returning to the lock of Verlhaguet, (where my grandmother Josephine lived) while night fell and after the curfew, I heard German speaking, far enough in front of me, on the road that ran along the canal.
M..., the patrol!!! yet friends had assured me that they would not pass by tonight... and I was carrying documents!
All I had to do was throw myself, with my bike, into the ditch that runs along this road and which was half full of water; it was spring and it wasn't hot.
The two soldiers stopped not far from where I was, to relieve themselves and, not in a hurry, discussed more beautiful.
When they finally left, I was tormented, because the cold had won me and I was slamming my teeth... I had to wait for them to be far enough away to get out, dripping from my ditch and going back to the lock.
I had been hot, if I may say so, and my life had held only by a thread, the slightest noise that could betray me. If I had been caught, the Gestapo would not have given me gifts!
Having gone to see Daumier in Montauban, I found at his house only his wife and daughter Suzanne, who told me that four officers of the German gendarmerie had come and asked Mr Daumier; they had told them that they were wrong and that here it was at Mr Guiral's house (his real name).
After interviewing them for an hour, they told them that they were sure that Daumier lived here, was a terrorist, hid an arms depot, and that they would return.
I advised them to leave immediately with the bare minimum and said that I would take care of getting Daumier to be warned.
But there were documents, which these two brave women took the time to remove so as not to compromise some of their friends, resistant (this loss of time was fatal) and weapons, which had been parachuted and which had to be evacuated urgently.
Very quickly, we loaded on our bikes the shopping bags full of Colts and ammunition and separately drove to my house in Verlhaguet.
When I arrived on the Old Bridge, I set foot on the ground to cross and see a German officer coming towards me on the same sidewalk; the bridge is almost deserted and I can only move on.
When I reached my height, he called me, I did not know the city well and I looked for the station.
I tell him he has to turn around because he's going in the opposite direction to his destination. And here we are, canned and of course he asks me to carry you in this bag, it seems very heavy!
Indeed the bag is heavy and the seams put to the test; I tremble at the thought that the barrel of a colt can pass through the fabric.
Seeing my look embarrassed, he insists; I reply: they are potatoes
he said to me: I don't understand; I explain to him that this is what potatoes are called.
He nods and says: black market! huh! well, I didn't see anything this time, but be careful, let's not take you back!
My legs are flogging.
We separate and I drive to Verlhaguet where, balancing on a half-vermoulu crate, I plug the holes in my attic with weapons and ammunition, collecting planks on top.
Alas, my friend Suzanne and her mother, Henriette, were soon arrested by the head of the Gestapo de Montauban, Stotz, and sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp, from where only Suzanne would return, to the Liberation.
Upon the arrest of Suzanne and Henriette Guiral, Mickey immediately alerted Paul Guiral (Daumier) and many comrades who might be put at risk; simultaneously he sends Emile Caussanel, (my grandfather, who worked as a liaison) to warn the Guiral family.
Georges Guiral, Paul's nephew, hastened to move some compromising papers that were still in The City's house; Emile Caussanel took home some of the business he kept until the Liberation.
(Daumier was denounced to the Gestapo by the militiaman Boissoneau who was shot at the liberation).
to read: 44.694.F from Saint Michael to Ravensbrück , book by Suzanne Guiral, daughter of Daumier, who recounts his arrest and his terrible stay in the concentration camp of Ravensbrück.
(It must be possible to find this book on the Internet, in the sales of used books).
Having learned at the special police station that a column of SS and Henchmen of the Gestapo were leaving to arrest one of the leaders of the Secret Army, Dr. AUJALEU who lived on the side of Negrepelisse and to carry out an attack against the maquis towards St Antonin , we go on a motorbike with a comrade and go on shortcuts to take the speed boxes.
. We arrive at dusk and knock on the door; we are slow to open up, we insist. The door opens, I make myself known and we enter.
I tell the family to leave immediately, that the Germans are on their way, that there is not a minute to lose and that we must warn the scrub. This family prepares some things in a hurry and leaves the premises.
We do not linger and leave immediately, happy to have saved this family of patriots from arrest and certainly from deportation or death, as well as from fellow maquisards.
We knew that, very soon after, the furious Germans had taken over the house.
On the way back it is dark and because of the curfew we have no light. At 80 an hour, we miss a turn and go back into the wall of a farm. We get away with a few scratches; we could have killed ourselves!
Being installed on the floor of the lock of Verlhaguet, which my grandmother Josephine manages as a locksmith, I hear violently knocking on the door. Josephine opens and immediately, two German soldiers try to push her home; she said to them: but you can't come in like that and they answer him: Here, terrorist, let us in!.... I say to myself: that's it, it's for me! and calmly go down the stairs: Don't move, you terrorist, here, transmitter post they tell me. I immediately understand, this is my galene station which needs a very long antenna, (copper wire attached to a tree and reaching the house). I explain it to them carefully because they are threatening and show them the post which is very rudimentary and has nothing to do with a transmitter. They nod and tell me to immediately dismantle this antenna and stop using my post: forbidden, then they leave the premises.
I got hot and my grandmother was shaking. We are gradually recovering from our emotions.
Text and photos ©Serge Caussanel
A few days after the liberation of Montauban, Paul Guiral sees a large poster of Marshal Pétain on a panel of the prefecture which had not been removed; he then starts screaming "you dared to leave this cloth! .. take it off immediately" then he takes out his pistol and empties a half charger on the panel.
The poster was, believe me, removed with unparalleled speed. (story from my memory and confirmed by Mr Georges Guiral)
Georges Caussanel had kept this baton, stained with the blood of patriots, which the Gestapo minions in the rue du Moustier used to beat those they arrested.
It had been stolen from the Gestapo headquarters in Montauban and kept as a relic in memory of all those who had suffered barbarism and torture in these premises, including certain friends and acquaintances of my father.
station in galena