Every Saturday, Philippe Melle and especially his cats see a lot of news.
Photo in black and white, without date, without caption. This is a portrait. The man was photographed on the street, with leaves in the background. He is elegant, wearing a dark bow tie that contrasts with his white shirt. The man smiles, looks almost relaxed, and the lack of a jacket may indicate that the photo was taken after a family meal, before a walk. With Sibelle, we came across this document almost by accident. It has been digitized and posted on the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial website. This man, who smiles and whose black mustache contrasts with his already gray and sparse hair, is called Otto Strakos. A chemist, he was born in Vienna (Austria) on May 29, 1884. We did not find a photograph of his wife Margarita, born Eiser on July 21, 1887, also from Vienna. During World War II, the couple fled Nazism. Otto and Margarita go to France. While in the camp of Agde, in Hérault, Otto asks to visit Lot. This request was denied on February 13, 1941. On February 14, he was sent to the Rivsalt camp (Eastern Pyrenees). He manages to escape, he said “Absent during the census conducted in September 1941.”, according to records. As autumn falls on Burian, Otto joins his wife Margarita in Salviac. It’s only a few months break. Early in the morning of August 7, 1942, the gendarmerie entered the house of Adrienne and Eli Colombi. These brave lotuses cannot resist force. Hidden in the attic of the house, Otto and Margarita are arrested. They were taken to the Septfund camp and then quickly transferred to Drancy. On September 9, a convoy of 30 couples deported them to Auschwitz. Otto and Margarita are killed there five days later. Other Jewish families who took refuge in Salviak suffered the same fate, while others escaped this horrific mechanism of death. From 2018, the names of those who greeted them, regardless of whether they are recognized as Righteous or not, are engraved on the monument. During his inauguration, Mayor Alain Focon quoted the poet persistent Louis Aragon (whose mother was buried in Cahors during this period): “He who believed in heaven / He who did not believe / Whatever his name / This is the light on their meeting / He was from the chapel / And the other fled / And the other fled / He who believed in heaven / He who did not believe believe in it / When the wheat under the hail / Crazy delicate / Crazy, thinking about their quarrels / At the heart of the general struggle … ” A wonderful coincidence: together with Sibel, we realized that just as we found a photograph of Otto Strakosch, the National Day of Remembrance for the Victims and Heroes of Deportation was celebrated in Cahors on Thursday. The ceremony was held shortly before the official date, this Sunday, which corresponds to the second round of the presidential election. Another bright event this week will take us not far from Salviac, to Labastid du Ver. It was in this village from 1900 to 1943 in the domain de Marquayrol lived the artist Henri Martin. While the museum named after the artist will soon open its doors, in Cahors the Association of Volunteers is restoring the exterior of a property in Labastide du Ver. ” With its gardens, pergolas, gazebos, ponds Henri Martin made it his “Giverny”… ” sums up the writer Jean-Pierre Alo, who was the source of the association and has just published a book about these extraordinary gardens … The Lot Valley and the Vineyard, the chosen one is a recidivist: which goes on the course of Lot. We are less ambitious with Sibel. Our garden at the height of the village is just a modest mirror of the cycle of the seasons. According to the photo album stored on my smartphone, in 2021, on the same day, the first clusters of Chasseli were formed, and Pierre de Ronsard’s roses opened to the world and offered their colors to the blue sky. (and to our tender eyes). This year we have to wait. The weather is less favorable. Even thunderstorms are forecast. But patience is not the main virtue of my protégé, except when she goes hunting. Here he goes back to bed. Oh! Provided that the engines of the cars that went to the special rally in Kersey, which will take place this Saturday between Bergantini, Concot, Cragole and Saint-Circ-Lapope, do not prevent this. I can explain to him that after two “empty” years due to the pandemic snoring is a positive sign, I’m not sure it will save me a few hours of sulking.