Berlin Zoo, 1938

Françoise Wauters, as my mother was then

« Family photos

Françoise went to Berlin that year with her sister, Bernadette, as guests of the Schacht family. Hjalmar Schacht [Wikipedia] was President of the Reichsbank and Minister of Economics under Adolf Hitler and later tried at Nuremberg but acquitted. Before the war his son, Jens, was a friend of Françoise's Belgian family. We have photos of her family on picnics in Belgium and Jens is in a few of the pictures. She later wrote:

Jens was unsympathetic to the Nazis, had Jewish friends, one of whom he helped to escape to the USA. He left Belgium and eventually went to the Russian Front where he died in April 1944. We learnt this in about 1950 when Dr Schacht came to visit my mother not long before my father died. The first time he tried to visit us after the war started Bernadette met him in the garden and would not let him in. He eventually saw my mother but it was an embarrassing relationship.

My mother told Anthony, my brother, that she had been to a Hitler rally and found herself '12 feet' from him and some of his Nazi entourage. The photo was presumably taken by Bernadette. Françoise did not speak even once to any German during the whole occupation of Belgium.

Family photos »

Page last modified: 12 April, 2024
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Patrick Taylor