Extract from the STO summons received by Abel Brouage in May 1943

Brouage Abel […] will present himself on June 7, 1943, before noon, at the Palais camp, Route du Palais, Limoges (Haute-Vienne), to undergo a medical examination. He must arrive with the necessary luggage for a possible departure to France or Germany. The non-execution of the present order will lead to the application of the sanctions provided for by the law.

Abel Brouage, STO refractory in the Lot-et-Garonne in 1943.

Testimony of Marc Boyer, from Les Lèches, required to serve as an STO in May 1943

« We headed for Limoges via Périgueux. With some comrades, we thought of « cutting out », but the Militia was there, on each side of the train, and we were not allowed to open a door. From there, we left for Limoges where we were interned in the

were interned in the camp of Palais sur Vienne. We were trapped. We went through a series of medical examinations. We were made to undress in order to check if we were not Jewish. Then, we were again taken on board, well supervised, in the direction of Dijon. There we were housed in barracks. To our great surprise, we were free! We tried to escape by going to the railway station, but it was heavily guarded. We had no idea what was waiting for us in Germany.

« Life in the maquis. Testimony of Christian Michaud, « Zazou

« The atmosphere was absolutely fraternal. Discipline was quite natural: we were there of our own free will, nothing forced us to stay. Obeying was therefore normal, whoever gave the order, without worrying about the hierarchy (we didn’t know the details, by the way). We loved our leaders, they loved us, everyone was ready to risk his life for a friend. We didn’t even think about the danger.

The inertia of certain gendarmes in the face of STO draft dodgers: testimony of Gaston Sussac, farmer at Saint-Michel-de-Double

« In May 1943, my older brother was drafted into the STO. The gendarmes brought the summons, finding it unfortunate to go and help the enemy. My brother then went 500 metres from our house to an old house. We set up a bed and some odds and ends, but he didn’t make a fire. We brought him food. He was with a friend from Saint-Michel-de-Double, Yves Redon. They only went out at night to the houses. They would eat and leave, taking food for the day. We got on well with a gendarme from the Saint-Vincent-de-Connezac brigade called Prud’homme. Here is what he had my brother do: « You write a letter saying that when you arrived at the station in Périgueux, you changed your mind and direction and that you did not go to Germany. There will be an investigation. « The gendarmes often came by for coffee or a bite to eat. We had no problems with them. They didn’t know where my brother was, but they knew he hadn’t left and didn’t want to know anything else. A fortnight later, the gendarmes came back to investigate. We showed them my brother’s letter. This lasted from June 1943 to 26 March 1944.