Le Havre, Winter 1944-45

Le Havre, Winter 1944-45. A report by H. Holbek, a Swedish Quaker visitor to Le Havre, described popular feelings there in November 1944. ‘One notices a sense of bitterness towards the British, a profound chagrin and disappointment, in Le Havre. The city’s life was always turned towards England […] No-one complained about the 136 earlier raids, whose military necessity was acknowledged. The last one was different: there were no Germans in the area destroyed, no military objectives, no road crossings: nothing that could explain it. Even if they don’t understand the raid, they would accept it if they felt a little looked after. The British radio promised long ago that aid would come as soon as the country was liberated. But as time passes, the Allied authorities (referred to more and more as the Occupying authorities) do nothing. […] At present, 20,000 people are sleeping on the ground without blankets.’ (The National Archives, FO 371/49071/261: ‘Conditions in Normandy: Quaker’s observations on relief measures.’

Courtesy of Archives Municipales du Havre (Collection Fernez). Tous droits réservés.

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