Castle to Castle by Celine

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Hugh
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Castle to Castle by Celine

Post by Hugh »

Misfits and people who are despised attract me. Who was more despised than the people of the Vichy government in France during WW II? And then who the hell of that band of misfits and hated people would write a book about it? This guy, Louis Ferdinand Celine, did.

He was part of a group of over a thousand people who fled to Germany during the war to a place called Sigmaringen. They lived in an old castle there where they ate bad food, drank sour beer, and shit all over the place. And he was the very busy doctor.

The book is poorly written, too eliptical, too many lengthy digressions. But it's the most interesting story I've ever read. These people were reviled as traitors in their own country, living in another country where they hoped to be protected, but that country was about to lose the war and certainly wouldn't give a fuck about them when it was over. There was one part in the book where the refugees in the castle were sent for to attend a funeral for a Frenchman who was part of the Vichy government, but died in another part of Germany. Celine was one of those selected to attend, so they were loaded up on an old train car for the journey. It was winter and they were ill prepared for the cold, so they tore up the carpets and curtains in the train car to keep themselves warm. The train kept going for days, and they noticed they were out in the steppes somewhere. They hadn't eaten and were freezing. They started speculating that the Germans were turning them over to the Russians. But lo and behold, they stop and there's a German military band up on a snowy hill playing French national music for them to honor their dead comrade. It was during a snowstorm, so nobody said anything at the funeral. They just got back on the train and started back to Sigmaringen. They still didn't have any food, but the train stopped to pick up a group of pregnant women and children who were being taken to another part of Germany. And they had Red Cross packages of food with them, so they finally ate. But the group of kids basically attacked the Frenchmen and took their curtains and carpets because they were cold. (I can't help but wonder if Celine was exaggerating here, he said they even ripped much of their clothing away, too.) But they made it back without being bombed by the allies despite being transported by an older train that threw cinders out of its smokestack, making it easily visible from the air. Just one of the many interesting events that refugees/traitors had to live through back then.

A lot of those people were later executed in France. Celine himself was slated for it, too, but Denmark kept him in prison for a year before returning him to France. He was officially declared a national disgrace, but he wasn't executed. Maybe because of his prior military service in the French army during WW I when he was decorated after being wounded while on a dangerous mission. And he was not the least bit apologetic in this book, either. He was downright defiant. While he was gone his family and neighbors broke into his apartment and took everything, including his manuscripts. When he returned to France, he first visited an aunt. The aunt ran out of her house screaming for the police to come and arrest him. Some welcome home, huh?

While he was in the Sigmaringen castle, there were constant flights from the RAF overhead, but they never got bombed. He guessed they must have relied on it for a navigation landmark. There was never any Luftwaffe up there to protect them, it was as if the Luftwaffe had just conceded that part of the sky to the allies.

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ThirstyDrunk
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Re: Castle to Castle by Celine

Post by ThirstyDrunk »

Hugh wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 4:54 pm
He was officially declared a national disgrace, but he wasn't executed. .
Now that is something to shoot for.
Yesterday at work I was labeled a distraction and sent home, They're having a meeting about me Monday.
It's no "national disgrace", but I'm working up to it. Baby steps.
Like a desperate thirst in a raging drought

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scream ale
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Re: Castle to Castle by Celine

Post by scream ale »

^^^ That is impressive. I've been to a meeting where I was the sole focus.
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oettinger
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Re: Castle to Castle by Celine

Post by oettinger »

It sounds like I`m the villian in this book
It was liquid hence we had to drink it
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Re: Castle to Castle by Celine

Post by Artful Drunktective »

ThirstyDrunk wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 8:03 am
Hugh wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 4:54 pm
He was officially declared a national disgrace, but he wasn't executed. .
Now that is something to shoot for.
Yesterday at work I was labeled a distraction and sent home, They're having a meeting about me Monday.
It's no "national disgrace", but I'm working up to it. Baby steps.
Thirsty, you gotta tell us what you did to be a "distraction". It's actually funny to imagine it already without even knowing though.
"Something's got to be done. We can't go on like this.
I must have some booze".


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