The French People of the Drôme and the Ardèche



Hermann-Joseph Draer, known in the village of Saint-Mélany (Ardèche) by the given name André, was born on the 27th November 1920 at Luckenwalde (province of Brandenburg, Germany). His parents, native to a region of Poland annexed by the U.S.S.R., had settled in this town the previous year.

In 1929, they left Luckenwalde to settle in Paris where they were issued with papers as Russian refugees.

Under the German occupation almost the entire family, whether settled in France or remaining in the U.S.S.R., was deported and exterminated. Only Hermann’s family (parents, two sisters and a brother reassembled in Toulouse) and escaped the roundup of suspects.

In his writings Hermann Draer recounts how, from towns to villages, in the south of France, his movements took him to Saint-Mélany, where he at last found the refuge that allowed him to live out in safety with his family the last phase of the occupation.

He died in April 1982. His ashes were placed in the cemetery of Saint-Mélany.

The survivors, wife, and descendants of Hermann Draer are anxious that a testimony such as this should be preserved and they now hand over to the town hall of Saint-Mélany (Ardèche) a copy of the text “The French People of the Drôme and the Ardèche” composed by Hermann-Joseph Draer. A copy of this text has also been entrusted to the French Committee for Yad Vashem, Department of the Righteous of France

A commemorative plaque is erected at the cemetery of St Melany

Thanks :
Saint-Mélany Town Hall:
Marc Minetto, Mayor and François Audibert, Secretary Mayor
Portes-lès-Valence Town Hall, Civil Status Service
Fernande Aubert, Michèle Durand, Pauline Roure, Paul Vannières
and the people of Saint-Melany
Stan Scott for English translations
Without which this work of memory would not be possible.

Hermann Draer, French from Drôme and Ardèche