I grew up with the horror stories of what happened during the war in the country where I was born. It must have been a dreadful time to live through, and of course while it was happening, no one knew the truth about those trains pulling out of the Gare de Nord and not coming back.
I've been thinking a lot lately about Roger, my godfather who is Marcel in this story. I own the rights to his memoirs, which are 'explosive', to say the least. My first ever book in the French language--aside from the section Marlene and I collaborated on for a French book about Maurice Chevalier--comes out soon, and Roger plays a big part in this.
Roger had three great loves in his life: a famous actor who is still alive, a famous footballer who is not--and the man I call Jurgen, in this story. Effectively, after the war he was punished for falling in love, as the prejudices against him were two-fold: being gay, and loving a German. But, they were happy together, and there is nothing that unpleasant people hate more than seeing someone happy when their own lives have been such a mess.
Neither were Marcel and Jurgen the 'milk-sops', as gay men were perceived in those days. Jurgen in particular was a powerfully-built man who would have de-limbed any man, or woman, who attacked his 'kind' today. This is why I published their story.
As Noel Coward sang, 'Even educated fleas do it...'