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...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!