Carolyn Porter | Learn more about STO worker Marcel Heuzé
Frenchman Marcel Heuzé was sent to Berlin in January 1943 as part of the Vichy forced labor program Service du Travail Obligatoire
Carolyn Porter, Marcel Heuzé, P22 Marcel, World War II, STO, Service du Travail Obligatoire, love letters, Paris, White Bear Lake, Minnesota, Minnesota author, typography, font design, genealogy, epistolary, Daimler, Marienfelde
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In early 1943, Marcel Heuzé was one of hundreds of thousands of ordinary French citizens deported to Germany as part of the collaborationist Vichy government’s STO initiative: Service du Travail Obligatoire, or obligatory work service. After German men vacated jobs in factories, farms and mines to fight on the eastern and western fronts, thousands of positions needed to be filled. And those positions were filled by men like Marcel.


Living conditions in the labor camp were dire. The factory where he worked was a frequent target for bombings. Food was scarce, sanitation was nonexistent, and labor camps had a brutal reputation for working people to death. Survival was unlikely.


Yet, the letters Marcel wrote to his wife and daughters contained the most beautiful expressions of love imaginable:


My little darling, all I have left to do tonight is to ask you to kiss my little ones very tenderly for me, and Mom also. Your big guy, who loves you kisses you with all his strength and with all his heart. And now for all of you: lots of kisses and good night from your absent Marcel.