Talkshow Thursday: Meet Rolande Bisset
LM: The Germans arrived in June 1940, what do you remember most about that day?
Rolande: I felt like the lights had gone out over the city. The joy was gone, overtaken by a sense of fear and foreboding. We had not believed we would be defeated, so when the government fled on the 10th, we were distraught to see German tanks rumbling down the Champs de Elysees with thousands of German troops marching behind them on the 14th. We thought we would all be killed or taken prisoner. Rumors were rampant the Germans would steal anything of value, rape the women, and kill the men. I stayed in my home with the curtains drawn, hoping to escape notice. When I went out later and saw the Nazi flag flapping in the breeze from the Eiffel Tower, my heart broke.
LM: In a show of power, the Germans implemented many laws to undermine the French culture. What were some of those laws?
Rolande: Censorship and propaganda made life difficult. We were not allowed to speak French, wear berets, fly the French flag, or sing Marseillaise, our national anthem. There was a curfew, and anyone breaking it faced stiff fines, or perhaps worse...Books and American films were banned, and the Germans changed our time zone to match that of Germany.
LM: What was it like trying to provide for yourself during the occupation?
Rolande: The occupiers took about eighty percent of food production, so finding enough to eat became a daily struggle. There was a rationing system of sorts, but it was so mismanaged the black market flourished and people became malnourished. Lots of substitutions had to be created to handle the shortage of things like gasoline and coffee. My friend started roasting chicory to replace her coffee, but I never developed a taste for it. Many vehicles were converted to run off charcoal.
LM: Your father was part of the Vichy government. How did that come about?
LM: Despite your father's job, you chose to join the Resistance. How did that come about, and weren't you frightened for your life?
Rolande: I could not stand by and let the occupiers win. I knew I might die, but it seemed more important to do the right thing rather than live in bondage under the Germans. There were times I was terrified. What if the circuit had been discovered? What if I had been betrayed? Those thoughts were with me every moment of every day, and more so when I was on a mission. My friend Adele was involved in the Resistance first. She knew how I felt about the Germans, and she eventually got me into the organization.
LM: A little more than four years later, Paris was liberated. What was that day like?
Rolande: It was very scary, but also exciting. The FFI had staged an uprising, so there was a battle in the streets. Barricades and trenches were created, and hundreds of people had guns. I was frightened to think I had survived the occupation only to be killed in the fire fight to liberate the city. After the surrender, people were dancing in the street, singing, and drinking. They were hugging the Allied troops who had come to save us.
About the book:
|Cover revealed in January!|
A prostitute, a spy, and the liberation of Paris.
Sold by her parents to settle a debt, Rolande Bisset is forced into prostitution. Years later, shunned by her family and most of society, it’s the only way she knows how to subsist. When the Germans overrun Paris, she decides she’s had enough of evil men controlling her life and uses her wiles to obtain information for the Allied forces. Branded a collaborator, her life hangs in the balance. Then a British spy stumbles onto her doorstep. Is redemption within her grasp?
Simon Harlow is one of an elite corps of American soldiers. Regularly chosen for dangerous covert missions, he is tasked with infiltrating Paris to ascertain the Axis’s defenses. Nearly caught by German forces moments after arriving, he owes his life to the beautiful prostitute who claims she’s been waiting for the Allies to arrive. Her lifestyle goes against everything he believes in, but will she steal his heart during his quest to liberate her city?
Inspired by the biblical story of Rahab, Love’s Rescue is a tale of faith and hope during one of history’s darkest periods.
Available February 14, 2019
Linda, a stunning story and an example of the triumph of the human spirit. Paris of all places should not have had to suffer a German occupation. We will never know what these people lived through. Except we will, because you're writing about it.ReplyDelete
Merry Christmas, hope to see you in the New Year.
Thanks for your comment. You're right about not being able to imagine what it was like. It must have been awful.ReplyDelete