From Cluny to the Camps
June Harwood - Author of From Cluny to the Camps

The Author

June Harwood retired from her teaching role at the University of Plymouth in 2001, to pursue her love of the French language and culture. She has an MA in English Literature and lives with her husband David in Totnes, Devon.

From Cluny to the Camps cover

From Cluny to the Camps: Memoirs of Occupied France

In the small town of Cluny in Burgundy on Saint Valentine's Day 1944, as a result of their commitment to and involvement in the Resistance, nearly a hundred men and women, one of them just sixteen years of age, were rounded up and deported to the German labour camps. In all, between autumn 1943 and spring 1944 ninety-seven men and women were deported from Cluny and the surrounding villages.

When the war ended, many families welcomed back their father, mother or son, despite the shock of their skeletal appearance. For some, however, there was no return: forty of the deportees died in the concentration camps.

In the years that passed, survivors wanted to forget, but now they and their children want their stories to be told.

June Harwood, inspired by testimony published by Les Amicales des Deportées de Cluny, met survivors and their families. These are their stories.

"The passage of so many years has not erased the painful memories of those who met the author and told her of their experiences. The ties of friendship which were forged when these testimonies were given are evidence of June Harwood’s exceptional gift for listening to others and her ability to understand, with tenderness and emotion, the stories from a time now distant, but which must never be forgotten."

Mady-M Viguié- Moreau

The French Resistance

Chapter One

A Town at War: Cluny 1940 - 1945

February 14th 1944, Saint Valentine’s Day is a date long remembered in the small Burgundian town of Cluny. A date which usually signifies loving relationships was, this year and in this place, by one of the many cruel ironies of the war, the day when families were ripped apart. Life, for the hundred or so men and women who are the subjects of this book, would never be the same again. Nearly half of them would not see their families again. Small children watched as their fathers and in some cases their mothers were taken away by Gestapo officers: for some of them it would be the last time they saw that parent. In this small, close-knit community place where centuries had rolled by with very little disturbance to the rural rhythm of daily life, family would be turned against family and bitter divisions sown which would last for decades and wounds inflicted that would never heal.

Cluny, like so many other towns and villages in France had, by early 1944, a thriving Resistance net-work. Their work was to sabotage and interrupt wherever possible the activities of the occupying German forces. As a result, men and women, unable to accept their country’s defeat, suffered and died in an attempt to help liberate their country.

An excerpt from 'From Cluny to the Camps' by June Harwood.

  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 274
  • Published: October 2013
  • Price: £12.50 plus £2.20 p&p