FRANCE: The Malgré-Nous

No tricolors, no flowers, no formal reception—only a couple of French officials, a doctor and two nurses waited on the platform at the Strasbourg station. The train from Germany pulled in, and eight men got out. They were reluctant wanderers, helpless victims of two mighty tyrannies, home for the first time in seven years. As P.W.s, they had been pushed around Europe and Asia, and released finally a fortnight ago from a Soviet labor camp in Kiev.

"Les malgré-nous," the Alsatians called them—malgré-nous meaning "in spite of ourselves." In 1942-44 the German army had drafted 130,000 Alsatians and Lorrainers, in...

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