"I was ten meters on the beach and I fell on my knees": 75 years after the landing in Provence, a veteran remembers
At the age of 99, Hubert Germain is one of the four Companions of the Liberation & nbsp; still alive. He was 24 on August 15, 1944, when he landed on the beaches of Provence to free France from the Nazi occupation.
At the age of 99, Hubert Germain is one of the four Companions of the Liberation still alive. He was 24 on August 15, 1944, when he landed on the beaches of Provence to free France from the Nazi occupation.
TESTIMONIAL EUROPE 1
He is one of the last to bear witness to the horror of war and the reality of the D-Day. At the age of 99, Hubert Germain is one of the four Companions of the Liberation still alive. Engaged in resistance from the beginning of the war, he landed on the beaches of Provence at the age of 24 to liberate France from the Nazi occupation with 50,000 Allied soldiers on August 15, 1944. Seventy-five years later, he remembers at the microphone of Europe 1 of this return to French soil, a reunion with his family, but also his disappointment with the weak mobilization of the local population.
His mother did not recognize him when he returned
On August 15, 1944, it was still dark when Hubert Germain landed on the beach with his men from the Foreign Legion, near Saint-Tropez. "We were all tense, because we had to land and destroy everything in front of us," he recalls, before telling the emotion that had gripped him that day, as he found his homeland, four years after his departure. "I was ten meters on the beach and I fell on my knees, and I cried, but not long, only one or two sobs in my throat," he describes again. "All of a sudden, we said to ourselves: 'That's it, it's France'".
Four long years of absence during which he did not see his family again. And when he goes to the family home in Grasse, a few kilometers away, his mother opens the door for him. But they do not recognize each other. "My sister, she recognized me, and she said: 'Mom, you do not recognize your son?'" Remembers Hubert Germain. "My mother was there, like a dried up Christmas tree, before suddenly the light came on.It was wonderful, but when you stand, for a few seconds that last an eternity, facing a woman whose you do not know if you have to call it 'madam' or 'mother', it's atrocious. "
After this reunion, the soldier who has already fought in Syria, Libya, or Tunisia and Italy, hopes to meet French mobilized for the victory. But for the soldier, it's a disillusion. "There was a cafe open along the road, with French people, it was Pastis time," recalls Hubert Germain, who found this meeting bitter. "They said bravo, but did not even get up from their chairs, I was ashamed." With his men, he then continues his way to liberate Toulon and go back to Alsace. Seventy-four years later, the soldier will receive the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, the highest rank.