The Fun Archaeology



Gérard Rohrbacher

Gérard Rohrbacher was a French soldier, orginally from Moselle region, east of France.The “Malgré nous” (french for “against our will”) refers to men of the Moselle region who were forcibly enlisted into the German Wehrmacht or in the Waffen-SS, during the Second World War.Based on orders from Gauleiter Robert Heinrich Wagner, the regional military governor of Alsace, of August 25, 1942, some 100,000 Alsatians and 30,000 Mosellans were drafted by force into the German armed forces. Additionally, many men who refused conscription saw their "entire family...deported after they refused to serve".[2] Most of those were sent to the Eastern Front. A smaller number served in the Waffen-SS. Many Malgré nous deserted the Wehrmacht in order to join the French Resistance or escape to Switzerland, thereby running the risk of having their families sent to work or concentration camps by the Germans. According to Historian David Kaplan 40,000 "either avoided the draft or deserted once in uniform". This threat obliged the majority of them to remain in the German army. After the war, they were often accused of being traitors or collaborationists. In July 1944, 1500 malgré nous were released from Soviet captivity and sent to Algiers, where they joined the Free French Forces.From the “Journal des combattants et de toutes les victimes de guerre”, within the article “Aux Etats-Unis avec les nazis” (8th June 1991) we can read Gérard was and sent to Africa together with the German war prisoners inside an American camp. After being forcibly incorporated into the Africa Korps he was taken as a prisoner in Tunisia, and forcibly boarded into a Liberty Ship to Boston, interned in several prisoners camps in Colorado and North Carolina among the nazis.Gérard Rohrbacher’s Album consists on the soldier personal album containing original black and white pictures, hand notes on the places depicted into the pictures and two letters. The cover of the album is made of a brown quality of paper recalling leather. It is curious to note that the very starting picture of the album is a Adolf Hitler one. The dimension of the album are 25,5x16,9x2,8 cm.The pictures in the album depict moments of Gérard captivity in US camps as well as other war memories in Europe: moments of personal life among the soldiers, views of the captivity camps, military trainings and ceremonies both among the prisoners and the nazi army, shelters in the Siegfried Line.Gérard collected his memories about the war times in a book, named Mes Mémoires de guerre 1939-1945, edited by la Penséè Universelle in 1990 (dimension 13,7x18x1,1 cm, 165 pages).