Whilst on a driving vacation & purely by accident I discovered this beautiful area of France & also the chance discovery of a poster in the local Tourism’s office depicting the “Marche de la Memoire” which was advertised to take place the very next day, this aroused my suspicion & on asking the official on charge he further confirmed to me that this terrible plight which took place during WW2 (World War II) was indeed the same one described to me on many occasions by a young Jewish man who was a great friend of my Grandparents & later a very good friend & mentor to me as a young boy.
He told how his parents sent him abroad to safety & how they themselves fled through these high mountains in a vain attempt to escape the Nazis, sadly they were never seen or heard of again.
Being very young & immature at the time the seriousness of his story’s did not have a profound effect on me until later in life when I gained more knowledge about the war years & the atrocities carried out by the Nazis especially towards those people of a Jewish faith.
So having just tagged along with the hikers & completing the Marche into the mountains & back that year it wasn’t until afterwards that I suddenly realised how my kind childhood friend when he himself was probably a lot younger had to say farewell to his parents under such dire circumstances, I could only imagine the terrible grief they must have had to endure & the future hardship & heartache which lay ahead of them all.
It is only by the Grace of God that my own family or I ever had to be involved in or had to witness such an atrocity in our lives so apart from the wonderful friends that I have made by coming here I aim to go on participating in this Marche every year as long as I can because it means so much to me to commemorate not only those poor souls who tried to gain freedom back in the 1940’s by climbing these mountainous passages but also everyone else past & present throughout our world trying to escape tyranny to this very day.
And for William.
— Ivor Snoddy