Catherine Gros on the life of her father after liberation

Georges Gros

Georges Gros was born in 1920 in St. Etienne du Bois, France, not far from the Swiss border. In 1943, at the age of 23, he is compelled to register for the Service du Travail Obligatoire (OST, compulsory labor service), following an order by the local prefecture. Georges is sent to Berlin, where he is forced to work as an auxiliary electrician at Askania Werke AG. In his letters Georges Gros writes about his personal deprivations: When fire breaks out in a camp in Friedenau he loses all his personal belongings. At a camp in Weißsensee he has to sleep in beds without a blanket .

In August 1944, Georges is transported to Helmstedt-Beendorf and deployed to work in the production of Askania Werke AG, located in a former salt dome of the local mine. Here, 2500 female and 750 male concentration camp prisoners from Ravensbrück and have to work as well. They are housed in the Beendorf satellite camp. Georges gets to know the young Romni Sonia. After the liberation, Georges and Sonia lose sight of each other. Nothing is known about Sonia's fate.

In the summer of 1945, Georges Gros returns to St. Etienne. A little later he hires the German prisoner of war Jakob Peters as an electrician in his own company. It is the beginning of a lifelong friendship. As part of the town twinning program, Georges dedicates himself for many years in the German-French political friendship programm after the war, before he dies in 2003.

In 2005, Catherine Gros finds letters from her father to his family as well as one letter from Sonia to Georges Gros in a wooden shed.