“The news is in such strong resonance with these past eras”

Ann Sinclair is a French-American journalist. She has already marked several generations and the history of television with her programs, which she presented, but above all embodied. We think about 7 out of 7or Housework. She has also been writing since 1982, and a few days before her first birth she published Celebrity Reviewmemorial work, which traces the history of the raid on Jewish figures, which took place on December 12, 1941 in Paris.

It is also a family job, as his paternal grandfather, Leons Schwarz, participated in this day of arrests and deportations, as did 743 other Jews. This book has become a documentary adapted by Gabriel Le Beaumin that will be shown this Wednesday, March 23, 2022, on France 2.

The director managed not only to preserve the soul of his work, but also to provide additional information, calling on historians to return this very important piece of history to a great story.

Franceinfo: Your voice accompanies us throughout this documentary. You say : “This story has haunted me since childhood.“. Has the work that you’re doing, that you’ve done, made it possible to fill in the gaps?

Ann Sinclair: Not enough to tell the whole story, because this story, oddly enough, was not passed on to me by my family, who, however, did not skimp on the details. There was no taboo subject, but my father was in the Free French and probably didn’t know the details. He arrived just in time to see my grandfather die after a three-month internment in Compiègne. My grandfather, whom I didn’t know, died in his bed, not in the gas chamber, which is what matters.

This was at the beginning of the Nazi organization and therefore there were bureaucratic hitches. These failures allowed gaps. Miraculously, one of my grandfather’s neighbors, Louis Engelman, who wrote his memoirs when he left, survived and also died as a result of his abuse. He lived in the same building. They were arrested the same day.

The Germans knew very well where these Jews lived, whom they called “noble” or, more precisely, “influential.” Where do they get their addresses from? They had them through a dossier established by Vichy, who had conducted a census of the Jews of France as early as October 1940, somewhat contradicting the theory, which can be heard here or there, that Vichy protected the Jews from France.

Ann Sinclair

on Franceinfo

743 Jews with almost all orders of the Legion of Honor and Military Crosses.

Exactly. There was a senator from the republic, Pierre Masse, an extraordinary man, he was Clemenceau’s chief of staff and minister. René Blum is deported to Auschwitz and, according to witnesses, thrown alive in a crematorium. There were dentists, chairmen of the courts of appeal, people accustomed to French life. The terrible thing is that each saw himself in the face of the other.

In doing this work, did you realize that much of what your grandfather had you rediscovered differently and later?

Maybe my grandmother’s motto. It was : “We grit our teeth and don’t complain“. I find that the current era echoes so much with these past eras. What is the limit of our resistance? What is the limit of our desire for peace? I think that all this work is very useful for generations who do not know history directly.

What does writing give you today? Is this the way out?

Writing is an infinite space.

Ann Sinclair

on Franceinfo

This is joy. Maybe I’m nostalgic for the time when we had time to settle down, explain, tell, analyze.

What is your relationship with your voice?

I barely know her. I’m always surprised when I hear this, because in TV shows, many 7 out of 7, there were 500 of them, I never saw them again, because I hate to see myself. I hate hearing myself. I am very critical of myself, and it was an effort that Gabriel Le Beaumin asked me to be in character, as a character who looks, listens, searches, crosses the camp, searches in documents, in archives. I’m not at all used to having a camera with me to do this. I was borrowed.

You have always felt very solid. Have you ever doubted?

Just this ! First, even when it seemed to me that I was in control, in fact it was not so. I will die of horror. Before every performance, I always said to myself: if I had even the slightest courage, I would run away. And since I didn’t have the courage, I stayed.

What do you think about this journey, knowing that you continue every day?

I had a wonderful opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream and make that childhood dream work at a time when many are unemployed or unable to choose a worthy path for their work. I consider this a huge opportunity.

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