David P. Boder Interviews Malfis Marson; July 30, 1946; Paris, France

var transcription = { interview: [ David Boder

[In English] This begins a short interview with Monsieur Malfis Marson, a French Jewish citizen.

David Boder

[In German] Monsieur Marson, Ãh, wo sind Sie geboren?

Malfis Marson

[In French] Je suis nà à Paris.

David Boder

[In German] Ãh, wollen Sie mir bitte erzÃhlen fÃr unsere amerikanische Freunde, Ãh, wie was Sie getan haben during the den Krieg und die deutsche Okkupation.

Malfis Marson

[In French] Durant la guerre, j'ai Ãtà comme tout FranÃais mobilisÃ. J'ai fait l'Occupa . . . j'ai fait . . . une partie de la guerre dans les Corps Francs. Ensuite sur accident, j'ai Ãtà Ãvacuà dans le centre de la France. Jusqu'au moment oÃ, la grande offensive allemande s'est dÃclenchÃe, qui m'a trouvà dans un hÃpital de la rÃgion limousine, à PÃrigueux exactement. Je suis parti ensuite en convalescence. Et au mois de . . . au dÃbut de juin, et j'ai rejoint mon dÃpÃt dans la Mayenne. Par la suite de l'avance des armÃes allemandes, j'ai Ãtà Ãvacuà de ce dÃpÃt, avec le reste du dÃpÃt naturellement, et nous nous sommes dirigÃs vers la Bretagne, oà nous avons Ãtà faits prisonniers le 18 juin exactement. Par la suite, je me suis Ãvadà en septembre 40. Pour rejoindre la zone libre, parce qu'Ãtant . . . premiÃrement prisonnier de guerre et deuxiÃmement juif, je ne pouvais pas rester à Paris sous l'Occupation. Je suis . . . est-ce que je continue ?

David Boder

Continuez.

Malfis Marson

Arrivà en zone libre aprÃs quelques pÃripÃties, je me suis inquiÃtà n'est-ce pas, de pouvoir trouver une occupation, j'ai repris mon ancien trav . . . mon ancien mÃtier. Qui Ãtait tailleur avant la guerre, et j'ai travaillà . . . à PÃrigueux. J'y suis restà jusqu'en '43. Je peux vous dire qu'entre temps, j'avais pris contact avec les organisations de RÃsistance, en '42, l'organisation Francs Tireurs zone sud, oà je faisais pas mal de propagande-diffusion. Au dÃbut '43, j'ai Ãtà contactà par le mouvement Combat, et j'ai pris à ce moment l'organisation dÃpartementale des liaisons. La gestapo ayant rÃussi à nous . . . dÃpister, en mai '43 . . . j'ai rÃussi de justesse à leur Ãchapper, et je me suis rÃfugià dans le maquis.

David Boder

[In English] What I want to know . . . how did the Resistance movement form itself? Was that the old French radical party . . . How did the Resistance movement come about? How did it organize?

David Boder

[In German] Wie hat sich die ganze [unverstÃndlich]

Interpreter

[In French] Quels mouvements politiques ont participà à la crÃation de ce [inaudible] ?

David Boder

[In German] Ja, wie hat sich die Resistenz gebildet? Wer, waren es die alten Partien? Ja, ja . . .

Malfis Marson

[In French] La RÃsistance de mon point de vue, d'aprÃs l'expÃrience que j'ai vÃcue par moi-mÃme, a Ãtà surtout formÃe par des mouvements syndicaux et politiques avancÃs. Par des mouvements politiques, qui Ãtaient excessivement, exceptionnellement antinaz . . . anti . . . antifascistes. Qui Ãtaient . . . il y en avait d'autres qui Ãtaient nationalistes, mais qui Ãtaient antigermaniques parce qu'ils avaient subi l'occupation, et connu les Allemands en 14-18. Et par des gens qui avaient l'esprit . . . portà à . . . la libertà tout court. Pour ma part, j'ai premiÃrement Ãtà contactà par des hommes, qui avaient Ãtà brimÃs dans leurs opinions, dans leurs origines, qui avaient . . . eu à pÃtir de certaines vexations. Et qui, de ce fait, estimaient que le premier des devoirs, pour tout FranÃais puisque nous Ãtions en France, je dirais pour tout homme, Ãtait de lutter contre l'envahisseur. Mais je peux dire une chose, c'est que . . . ceux qui nous contactaient Ãtaient des hommes sincÃres, des hommes qui ont cru que la RÃsistance pouvait Ãtre utile pour que nous puissions Ãtre libÃrÃs premiÃrement de l'Occupation, et deuxiÃmement arriver à devenir de meilleurs hommes et des hommes libres surtout.

David Boder

[In English] Now, how was it . . . What elements of the population . . .

Malfis Marson

[In French] Je ne comprends pas . . .

David Boder

[In German] Was fÃr Elemente der BevÃlkerung haben angefangen zu kollaborieren, haben meistens kollaboriert mit die den Deutschen?

Malfis Marson

[In French] Les premiers collaborateurs à mon sens, Ãtaient des ratÃs. Des hommes qui ont cru à ce moment que leur heure Ãtait arrivÃe, de grands jaloux, des hommes qui n'avaient eu aucun avenir devant eux, et qui se figuraient que la bestialità de leurs sentiments, non pas de leurs sentiments mais de leur appÃtit, de leurs instincts allait se trouver assouvie et qu'ils allaient arriver, comme Hitler, à dominer, je ne dirais pas le monde, mais la France et peut-Ãtre l'Europe avec l'aide d'Hitler. Par la suite, d'autres gens ont Ãtà dÃcouragÃs par le manque de . . . je ne dirais pas de la rÃsistance mais enfin . . . nous nous sommes aperÃus que les pays alliÃs n'Ãtaient pas suffisamment prÃparÃs à ce moment, et il y en a qui ont Ãtà dÃcouragÃs, qui ont cru que vraiment l'Allemagne allait dominer le monde, et ils se sont, par faiblesse et par lÃchetÃ, donnÃs dans ce . . . acceptà cette collaboration. Et il y en a eu d'autres, par intÃrÃt, à proprement parler, par . . .

David Boder

[In Russian] Эээ . . . энд . . . эээ . . . мистер . . . эээ . . . господин [unintelligible] . . . эээ . . . спросите его вот что: эээ . . . в этой . . . как относились к этой станции военные?

Interpreter

[In French] Quelle Ãtait l'opinion des cercles militaires, et quelle Ãtait leur participation dans les mouvements de rÃsistance ?

Malfis Marson

Elle a Ãtà pour ainsi dire nulle au dÃbut. Parce que les militaires Ãtaient, à mon point de vue n'est-ce pas, les militaires Ãtaient disciplinÃs, à part quelques rares militaires franÃais de carriÃre qui ont suivi de Gaulle, je ne dirai pas au dÃbut mais dans les mois qui suivirent sa dÃclaration du 18 juin '40, ils Ãtaient tous infÃodÃs à Vichy parce que, le militaire par essence mÃme, est un Ãtre disciplinà qui est obligà . . . qui obÃit à son supÃrieur, et pour eux le marÃchal PÃtain Ãtait le chef suprÃme de la force franÃaise. Par la suite, ils se sont . . . grandis, ils ont . . . il y en a certains qui ont pas mal saisi puisque les premiers fondateurs des mouvements de rÃsistance et en particulier de combat ont Ãtà des officiers de carriÃre ÃvadÃs qui ont pris une action . . . qui ont pris . . . qui ont fait . . . qui ont . . . qui ont accompli une action assez forte en France. Mais jusqu'à . . . le dÃbarquement en AlgÃrie, on peut dire que les militaires franÃais de carriÃre n'ont absolument rien fait dans les mouvements de rÃsistance. Et que les mouvements de rÃsistance ont Ãtà uniquement montÃs par des membres civils, par des membres des partis politiques et surtout les organisations syndicales et ouvriÃres franÃaises.

David Boder

[In Russian] Эээ . . . спросите его вот что: если он знает, как была интеллигенция, например университетские профессора и . . . эээ . . . вообще профессиональные люди, как адвокаты, врачи . . . и . . . эээ . . . эти . . . эээ . . . судьи и так далее?

Interpreter

[In French] Quel Ãtait le rapport entre les mouvements de rÃsistance et quelle Ãtait l'action de rÃsistance des intellectuels franÃais, tels que les simples universitaires, les avocats, les mÃdecins, enfin tous les reprÃsentants des professions libÃrales ?

Malfis Marson

Euh . . . la jeunesse Ãtudiante franÃaise . . . au dÃbut de l'Occupation a rÃagi vigoureusement. On a eu quelques manifestations le 11 novembre '40, pour prÃciser, oà il y a eu pas mal de bagarres entre les forces occupantes franÃaises . . . et les . . . le quartier latin, je crois, tu t'en rappelles de Ãa ? Sur le boulevard euh . . . sur le boulevard Saint-Michel. Par la suite on peut dire que, une grosse partie des Ãtudiants franÃais ont Ãtà parmi les ÃlÃments dirigeants et parmi les ÃlÃments les plus actifs de la RÃsistance franÃaise. Quant aux intellectuels arrivÃs, il y en a eu je crois des deux cÃtÃs, et au dÃbut une grosse partie a collaborÃ, malheureusement . . . Ah, certains professeurs . . . certains professeurs, et on peut dire Ãa à leur honneur, ont Ãtà parmi les ÃlÃments les plus actifs de la Collab . . . de la . . . de la RÃsistance. Il y en a eu d'autres, trÃs peu, qui ont collaborÃ.

David Boder

[In Russian] Эээ . . . [unintelligible] . . . и как фармеры . . . эээ . . . агрикультурное население, как оно относилось к этой станции?

Interpreter

[In French] Quelle Ãtait la position de la population paysanne . . . [inaudible] . . . envers la RÃsistance ?

Malfis Marson

Envers la rÃsistance ? La position paysanne envers la RÃsistance Ãtait encore assez bonne dans son ensemble. Il faut dire une chose, c'est que le tempÃrament du paysan franÃais est un tempÃrament uniquement individualiste, et ÃgoÃste, il ne voit que son intÃrÃt. Mais je crois qu'il est surtout patriote, et ce qu'il n'aimait pas, c'Ãtait certaines impositions forcÃes qu'on lui imposait, n'est-ce pas. Mais dans le fond, je crois que . . . malgrà le programme que PÃtain et Vichy avaient Ãlaborà en sa faveur, il a aidà avec le maximum de chance, les ÃlÃments de la RÃsistance qui se sont adressÃs à lui.

David Boder

[In English] How does he think will the situation now clear up in France and how will life become organized and what he expects when will France be back to normal?

David Boder

[In Russian] Как он ожидает, как он думает теперь: все это положение придет к нормальному и как скоро это будет нормально?

Interpreter

[In French] Qu'est-ce que tu penses de la situation actuelle ? Quand penses-tu que la situation actuelle va redevenir normale et par quels moyens ?

Malfis Marson

A la suite de la guerre, naturellement, il y a pas mal de . . . de dÃsorganisation, dans les moyens d'Ãchange et de production en France. Je crois que, de mon point de vue, tant qu'il n'y aura pas d'accord complet entre . . . les ouvriers d'une part, les patrons de l'autre, au moyen des productions d'Ãchange, et pour essayer de limiter le marchà noir et . . . de rÃgulariser n'est-ce pas, la distribution de tous les produits essentiels et nÃcessaires . . . à la . . . à la vie, on ne pourra pas voir un retour . . . on ne pourra pas revenir, n'est-ce pas, à la pÃriode que nous avons vÃcue en 38 et en 39. Pour ma part, je crois qu'il faut qu'il y ait une collaboration fÃconde, je ne dirais pas non seulement avec les Etats-Unis mais surtout l'Europe elle-mÃme.

David Boder

Merci beaucoup Monsieur Marson.

David Boder

[In English] This finishes a brief interview with Monsieur Malfis Marson of the French Resistance Movement taken at the Schools of ORT on July 30, 1946. Eh . . . how old is he? [Ends abruptly].

var english_translation = { interview: [ David Boder

[In English] This begins a short interview with Monsieur Malfis Marson, a French-Jewish citizen.

David Boder

[In German] Monsieur Marson, er, where were you born?

Malfis Marson

[In French] I was born in Paris.

David Boder

[In German] Er, please would you tell me, for the benefit of our American friends, er, what you did during the war and the German occupation?

Malfis Marson

[In French] During the war, like every other Frenchmen, I was mobilized. I did the Occupaâ . . . I spent . . . some part of the war in the Unofficial Forces. Then, by accident, I was moved to the centre of France; until the day the large German offensive was launched, when I ended up in a hospital in the Limousin region, in PÃrigueux to be more specific. Then, I spent some time recovering. And by the month of . . . by early June, then I returned to my station in the Mayenne county. As the German army progressed, I was moved away from this station, with the other men from the station of course, and we headed towards Brittany, where we were arrested on June 18th, to be precise. Later, I escaped in September 1940. To reach the free zone, since I was . . . first a prisoner of war and second a Jew, I could not stay in Paris during the Occupation. I am . . . should I go on?

David Boder

Go on.

Malfis Marson

Once I had reached the free zone after a number of incidents, I tried, right, to find something to do. I resumed my former job . . . my former occupation. I was a cutter, before the war, and I worked . . . in PÃrigueux. I stayed there until 1943. I can tell you that, in the meantime, I had gotten in contact with the Resistance organizations, in 1942, the southern zone Francs-tireurs organization, where I would take part in a lot of propaganda and dissemination actions. By early 1943, I was contacted by the Combat movement, and this is when I started to run the local county liaisons. As the Gestapo had eventually . . . tracked us down, in May 1943 . . . I managed to narrowly get away from them and took refuge in the Maquis.

David Boder

[In English] What I want to know . . . how did the Resistance movement form itself? Was that the old French radical party . . . How did the Resistance movement come about? How did it organize?

David Boder

[In German] How did the entire [unintelligible]

Interpreter

[In French] Which political movements contributed to the creation of this [inaudible]?

David Boder

[In German] Yes, how was the French Resistance movement formed? Who were the original parties? Yes, yes . . .

Malfis Marson

[In French] In my opinion, the Resistance movement, from my own experience, was mainly formed by highly developed trade unions and political movements. By political movements, which were acutely, remarkably anti-Nazâ . . . anti . . . anti-fascist. Which were . . . others were nationalist movements, but they were anti-German because they had suffered from the Occupation and known the Germans during the 1914-1918 war. And with people whose interest was . . . directed towards . . . the idea of freedom only. As far as I am concerned, I was first contacted by men, who had been looked down upon, in their opinions, in their origins, who had . . . suffered, as a result of a number of humiliations. And who, as a consequence, believed that the primary duty, of every Frenchmen since we were in France, I would say of every man, was to fight against the invader. But I can tell you one thing, that . . . those who contacted us were honest men, men who believed that the Resistance movement could first, help set us free from the Occupation, and second, help us become better men and, above all, free men.

David Boder

[In English] Now, how was it . . . What elements of the population . . .

Malfis Marson

[In French] I don't understand . . .

David Boder

[In German] What elements of the population started to collaborate, and who collaborated closest with the Germans?

Malfis Marson

[In French] As I see it, the first collaborationists were failures. Men who then thought that their time had come, very jealous men, men who did not have a great future ahead of them, imagining that their brutal feelings, not their feelings but their appetite, their instincts, would get satisfied and that they would, just like Hitler, manage to rule, I would not say the world, but France and maybe Europe with the help of Hitler. Later, other people got disheartened by the lack of . . . I would not say resistance but, well . . . we realized that the allied countries were not prepared enough at that time, and some got disheartened, they really thought that Germany would end up ruling the world, and they devoted themselves, out of weakness and cowardice, to this . . . they agreed to collaborate in this way. And there were others who, out of self-interest, strictly speaking, out of . . .

David Boder

[In Russian] Uh . . . and . . . uh . . . mister . . . uh . . . sir [unintelligible] . . . uh . . . could you ask him about . . . uh . . . what . . . was the opinion of the military about this station?

Interpreter

[In French] What was the opinion of the military circles, and how did they contribute to the resistance movements?

Malfis Marson

They, so to speak, did not contribute at all in the beginning, because servicemen were, in my opinion, right, servicemen were obedient, except for a few rare French career officers who followed de Gaulle, I would not say from the beginning, but in the months following his June 18th 1940 speech, they were all subservient to the Vichy regime because a serviceman, in essence, is an obedient being who is compelled . . . who obeys his superior, and to them Marshal PÃtain was the supreme leader of the French forces. Later, they . . . grew up . . . some of them did understand quite well, since the first founders of the resistance movements, especially the fighting movements, were career officers who had escaped and started an action . . . who took . . . who did . . . who . . . who performed rather strong action. in France. But, until . . . the landings in Algeria, it can be said that French career officers had not done anything within the resistance movements. And that the resistance movements were set up only by civilians, by political party members and mostly by the French trade unions and workers' organizations.

David Boder

[In Russian] Uh . . . could you ask him whether . . . he knows about the intellectuals such as university professors and . . . uh . . . just professionals in general such as lawyers, doctors . . . and . . . uh . . . these . . . uh . . . judges, etc.?

Interpreter

[In French] What was the relationship between the resistance movements, and what kind of resistance action was taken by French intellectuals, such as simple university teachers, lawyers, physicians, well, all the representatives from liberal professions?

Malfis Marson

Well . . . young French students . . . at the beginning of the Occupation, reacted very strongly. There were some demonstrations on November 11th, 1940, to be more specific, during which there were quite a number of fights between the French occupying forces . . . and the . . . the Latin Quarter, I think, do you remember this? On Boulevard, er . . . on Boulevard Saint-Michel. We can say that, later, a large number of French students were among the leaders and among the most active men in the French Resistance movement. In regards to intellectuals, I believe they were divided between both sides, and at the beginning, many of them collaborated, regrettably . . . Oh, some teachers . . . some teachers, and this can be said to their credit, were part of the most active men in the Collab . . . in the . . . in the Resistance movement. And others, very few of them, collaborated.

David Boder

[In Russian] Uh . . . [unintelligible] . . . and farmers . . . uh . . . the agricultural population, what was their opinion of this station?

Interpreter

[In French] What stand did the rural population take . . . [inaudible] . . . on the Resistance movement?

Malfis Marson

On the Resistance movement? The rural stance, with regard to the Resistance movement, generally remained rather good. One thing should be said here, that French peasants are of an individualistic and selfish nature, they are only interested in their own profit; however, I believe that they are mostly patriots, and that what they did not like was to be compelled to do things, right. But, in the end, I think that . . . despite the plan developed by PÃtain and the Vichy regime in their favor, they helped as much as they could the men from the Resistance movement asking for their support.

David Boder

[In English] How does he think will the situation now clear up in France, and how will life become organized, and what he expects . . . when will France be back to normal?

David Boder

[In Russian] Does he expect, does he think now that this situation will ever be normal again and when will it get normal?

Interpreter

[In French] What is your opinion about the current situation? When do you think the current situation will be back to normal, and how?

Malfis Marson

In the aftermath of the war, of course, there is a lot of . . . of disorganization, in the trade and production resources in France. I think that, in my opinion, until a complete agreement is reached between . . . the workers on one side and the employers on the other side, by means of trade productions, and in order to mitigate the black market and . . . to stabilize, right, the distribution of all staples and goods that are essential . . . to . . . to live, we will see no return . . . we shall not return, right, to the days we knew in 1938 and 1939. As far as I am concerned, I think we need to build up a fruitful collaboration, I would not say not only with the United States, but mainly with Europe as it is.

David Boder

Thank you very much Mr. Marson.

David Boder

[In English] This finishes the brief interview with Monsieur Malfis Marson of the French Resistance Movement taken at the Schools of ORT on July 30, 1946. Eh . . . how old is he? [Ends abruptly].