|Yet disappearing had its
difficulties on another level. The army tried to find me with bait
designed for the unsuspecting: They continued to send my soldier's
pay to the seminary, the last address available to them.
Thus, upon my return to
school after the Christmas recess, the seminary's secretary, Madame Crespy,
Georges' mother, welcomed me with a broad smile and a handful of bills.
A glance at the stub revealed the money to be a trap, as it was addressed
by the army to Herbert Stein-Schneider. Not happy about Madame Crespy's
pas (An intelligence officer's mother does not always have the instincts
developed by her son.) I explained to her hurriedly that she should return
the money (for which she had signed) without delay, with a note that the
addressee was unknown at the seminary. I went upstairs to my room.
Madame Crespy did not have
time even to put the money in an envelope, for just then a gendarme came
to the door of the office and asked to see a student by the name of Herbert
Stein-Schneider. Madame Crespy told him that there was no student
by this name. Whereupon the policeman produced the other part of
the stub to show that the student in question had received the money.
Whereupon Madame Crespy apologized profusely, saying that she did not know
the names of all of the students and that she herself had signed for the
money. She produced both the money and the stub, which made her story
quite credible. Instructing her to return the money by mail, he departed
without further investigation. It was the last I heard from the army.
There were, in fact, so many of my ilk that they let most of us disappear
rather than run after us in a wild pursuit through war-torn France.
Pierre Séguy's life,
however sweet and useful, was nevertheless short. For Pierre received,
in the early Spring of 1943, a courteous invitation to present himself,
with a packed suitcase, at the Montpellier railroad station, for a prolonged
trip under the auspices of the STO. This German-sponsored program
with the innocuous French name had been created by the Nazis in 1942 in
order to ship, systematically, all French males born in 1921 to Germany.
Other classes of French young people were to follow. Pierre declined
the invitation with as much courtesy as he could muster, by not showing
up at the appointed time in the appointed place. In fact, two weeks
before the fateful date, Pierre Séguy, in turn, disappeared.
By this time the small
group of Résistants at the seminary were capable of producing
our own identity cards. The purchase of the pre-printed forms was
skillfully orchestrated, as the same person never purchased a blank one
twice in the same tobacco store. The stamp essential to our forging
operation was now available to us through the unexpected ingenuity of the
Dean of the seminary, Pastor Henri Leenhardt. A fervent tinkerer
with wood and metal, he had constructed two cylinders between whose concentric
circles one could introduce ordinary movable type. This enabled us,
after every twenty cards or so, to change the name of the locality from
which the card supposedly originated. This reduced the likelihood