Saturday, 25 February 2012

# 67 [19 April 2010]

A year or so ago I read 'Love and War in the Pyreness' by the travel writer Rosemary Bailey - a good read and full of her personal encounters with ordinary folk who lived in this region during the war. One section of the book is dedicated to the camp at Rivesaltes. When I heard that she was giving a talk in a local restaurant / conference centre and that it coincided with my wife's birthday I booked us in immediately.

I chatted to Rosemary briefly before she gave her speech and told her about my current interest in the interaction that the Jews at the camp had with the Jewish community in Perpignan and the locals of the town of Rivesaltes. I told her that I had interviewed Norbert Herz and she was quite interested. I also mentioned that I had experienced more success with my videos on the theme of Rivesaltes in the UK than in France and she responded that that spoke volumes.

The talk was an overview of the book and focused on some of the personal encounters that she had during her research. Rivesaltes was referred to whilst she was explaining about the aid workers who helped the condition of the refugess in this area.

The conclusion centred on a quote from her book concerning the horrors of Rivesaltes - it was a poignant note to end on.

The questions which followed included one regarding the on-going research and accessibilty to information on Rivesaltes... Rosemary mentioned our chat about my research at the start of the event, which was great.

Following a great meal we spoke again and she said she'd be keen for us to be in contact - so I'll be sending her a link to this blog.

The prevailing memory of the day was Rosemary's reaction to the research on Rivesaltes and the harrowing stories that she came across, she found it particularly difficult emotionally... which is something that I can relate to.

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