Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Crossing fingers for the archives and la Roquine

This post is from last December since I'm on a plane to Paris. I'm going to search for the official police records (ie. charges, police blotter if they still exist) on la Roquine, Katia the redhead or Lucienne Goldfarb bordello Madame, as she's been called. This time I'm going to archives that supposedly have records and files sealed since 1948 that have recently been declassified.
Wish me luck.

 Is there a difference between marzipan and almond paste? Aren't they both from almonds? And why did a man, I've never met, leave me a book with a friend in Paris. A book, that I'd heard had been pulled by the publisher? How were copies even available?
To backtrack, years ago I'd heard about Lucienne Goldfarb, aka Katia la Roquinne (the redhead), who owned a Parisian bordello, was a police informer, opera aficionado, had friends in high places and was an alleged Jewish traitor to the resistance. This came from an interview with Paulette Sarcelle, a female Resistant who'd been caught and survived a camp. Paulette knew Lucienne, as she was called then, in Paris when Lucienne and Paulette were members of the Jewish communist worker cell of the FTP-MOI. This cell was betrayed and the members executed, which is described in the quoted article below by Madeleine Meyer. Paulette grew visibly upset telling me Lucienne Goldfarb had written an autobiography with such blatant lies that the surviving Resistants were able to finally have the publisher pull the book. But here in my hands was the book, published in 1976, which consisted of Lucienne talking about her life after 1947, how she'd worked for love, respected the police and informed for them. Opera was her passion. She worked for no one but her girls and her clients and had bought a hotel by herself at 10bis rue Debarcadere. An infamous address, it seems and yet when I went there in 2014, it was closed. The cafe owner across the street shrugged, 'she lived there upstairs for years, fell down and is in a retirement home.' She intrigued me. Did she betray her friends? Did nothing stick to her because of her work for the police and close ties to Roland Dumas below - formerly in the Ministry and a high powered attorney. But until this book came into my hands, I'd found nothing, until Lucienne popped back up in the news a week later. All this within two weeks of each other.
 She'd retired and sold her hotel/bordello and the hotel reopening is trading on her name and the notoriety. This is her in 2014.
How could Lucienne deny her past? Yet she had refused to speak about it. Here's what Madeline Meyer said in an article in Libèration: Madeleine Meyer, shows an old class picture. In it the face of a teenage girl with curly hair is surrounded in black pencil. "She was called Lucienne." A redhead, round. "She began to say she wanted to engage in the Resistance," Madeleine says, "she was actually trying to infiltrate." On March 23, 1943, the special brigades carried out their first raid against the network of young Jews of the FTP-MOI of Paris. 57 people were arrested. Since 1943, the survivors of which Henri Krasucki, future secretary-general of the CGT, accused Lucienne Goldfarb of being the informer to the police. In 1943, nobody was suspicious of Lucienne in their working class district. Her father, arrested in 1941, was deported in 1942. Her mother and brother have just been taken to Drancy. She is 18 years old. "The street was a little schtetel (Jewish village)," recalls Simon Rayman, arrested with the Manouchian group in October 1943. All the young people know. The Communists are numerous. Lucienne goes to find Ginette, a friend of school, tells him that she wants to enter a resistance group to avenge her deported relatives. "It worried me," said Adams Rayski at Liberation. "The next day, I was followed from my apartment. Later arrested." A few days before the roundup, Madeleine Meyer and her parents were visited by a police officer. "He said he was a police inspector and that our apartment had been denounced by Lucienne Goldfarb." The next day, Madeleine saw two German officers come out of a carriage, accompanied by a red-haired girl. "My aunt said to me: but here she is, La Lucienne," she remembers. After the war, Henri Krasucki filed a complaint against the policemen who tortured him in the police station of Puteaux, but also against Lucienne Goldfarb. Nothing happened. For the police, she quickly became a high placed informer and untouchable. Now after forty years it's gone from brothel to chic hotel that opened in late June. I'm still wondering why this book landed in my hands Cara - Tuesday 

4 comments:

  1. What a fantastic idea for a book.
    The opening:
    Autobiography pulled by publisher arrives at author's home. Sender unknown. Just a note inside the front cover saying '......'
    From there, intrigue leads to research, leads to clues, leads to even more research and more clues, till unexpected secrets are uncovered and a race across the globe is what'll take to uncover the truth, or keep secrets buried, as they were meant to have been.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think that such a book is going to wind up on Aimee's doorstep soon!
    I hope so!

    ReplyDelete