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“What’s that? Wednesday” – Week 7

In addition to being the name of a Swiss Red Cross children’s home on the Plateau, Faïdoli was the name of a song that the children frequently sang.  As a way of keeping the young refugees occupied, Roger Darcissac and August Bohny often incorporated music. Bohny conducted the village choir and was an accomplished accordion player hence he believed that music gave the children courage and made them happy.

Towards the end of the war, Bohny and Darcissac published a book of songs they sang during this period. The song book included Christian hymns from the Désert, as well as songs about the homes in Le Chambon, such as “Faïdoli.” The music sheet pictured from theFaïdoli song book contains an illustration of a royal dragoon riding on horseback, upon what appear to be sand. This depiction is symbolic of the period of Protestant persecution, commonly known as le Désert.

However, the illustrations conceal a subtle but important twist. The particles of sand in the illustrations of the music book also form the dots and dashes of Morse code, comprising a hidden message of warning for the people of the Plateau that translates to:

“ATTENTION ATTENTION FRENCH MILITIA AND THE GESTAPO HAVE MET TO CONDUCT RAIDS IN LE CHAMBON-SUR-LIGNON GO HIDE IN THE FOREST A NOISE FROM LAST YEAR”

The message warned the refugees to hid in the forest until search raids were completed. This discrete measure of resistance and warning saved nearly 200 children from the searches performed by the Vichy Police who were under the control of Gestapo orders.

Click on the audio recording below to hear what the translation sounds like in Morse Code.

Image of Faidoli song music sheet.

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