During more than one half-century, the gold Book of Hackenberg, signed by many French and foreign personalities (the President of the Republic Albert Lebrun, the King George VI of England, W Churchill and many other V.I.P) was regarded as missing forever in the prison camps or the files of the Army. However, after patients research, guided initially by Daniel Derveaux, his creator, this priceless work re-appears of nothing.
One owes it with Lorraine, Michel Truttmann, wire of the famous author of the best seller of the Line Maginot the Wall of France (Editions G KLOPP) impassioned him also by the modern fortification and the history of the troops of fortress.
It is in 1996, thanks to the contest of Roger Bruge, historian of the Maginot Line, that the author finds the trace of the girl of the major Henri Ebrard, officer of great value celebrates Pasha of Hackenberg. Including/understanding the interest of this work, Mrs Monique Grimault Ebrard agrees at once to entrust to the author this splendid original to make it reproduce.
In addition to its pages richly decorated by the drawings with artists with great talent who recall in images the history of Hackenberg and the French Army, this exceptional book is decorated many photographs for the majority new and of an often original text. It recalls the life of the crew and appuye primarily on the newspaper of walk of the work miraculeusement saved of the predatory Nazis by the Major Ebrard with other memories and documents out of the commun run.
Thanks to the priceless contest brought to the author by Mrs Grimault, Daniel Derveaux, Robert Louard and Michel Truttmann bring a new lighting on the fascination exerted by this Lorraine plot of land, very strongly strengthened, on the leaders of the Western democracies.
The most outstanding visit is, without question, that of its Majesty the king George VI of England, on December 9, 1939. In Hackenberg, the circuit starts with a review d' using binoculars and binocular glasses since the tops of block 5, then continues inside, in particular with the Western half-work and the backs.
The major Henri Ebrard controls the visit. The honors are returned by a section in front of the entry of the ammunition pavoized with the recovered flags and escutcheons the day before with the theatre of the 3rd Army (in Metz) by lieutenant Meyer.
After the presentation of the visit, on the plan of the major of work, and the examination of the fortified position on four well informed charts deployed on small planks in front of the block of entry, the group penetrates under ground.
The visitors get into two trains several of them small tip trucks north-eastern standard, usually intended for the transport of the ammunition, were arranged with benches covered with covers - troop. The pole of power trolley S.W n°2 (train of the king) is deployed towards the overhead line. The driver actuates the order and the train shakes in the principal gallery in illuminant of its headlight the way of 60. The way is rate/rhythm by the dry slappings of the wheels to the passage of shuntings and by the stamp of the warning signal actuated by the driver during the crossing of the armor-plated doors.
The famous visitor and the delegations gain initially imposing it block 8 of the second lieutenant Jean Penneçot, whose three howitzers of 75 mm model 1929 prohibit the Western approaches in direction of the Moselle (limit of shooting: Oudrenne). Mr Penneçot remembers this visit perfectly. Impressed by the superb coat of His Majesty, the second lieutenant receives initially the king in the headquarters of the block. During ten minutes, the officer explains the operation of the transmissions reserved for artillery and the organization of the shooting to him. Then, the young artillerist leads the authorities towards the two hoists 2500 kg of the block. He makes return the V.I.P in the cabins and closes again the heavy grids. He then climbs quickly towards the upper floor of the block (34 meters higher) to be able to be the first to be opened to the British sovereign and to make leave his hosts. The common delegation is now gathered behind one of the three parts of 75 mm that are on the point of serving the gunners of the Moinaux adjudant, chief of casemate. But with the general surprise, the Penneçot second lieutenant refuses to draw because it fears that its shells destroy troops of interval.
Block 9, one of most powerful of the work, is the second with being visited. An order is made hear which puts the personnel of the block at the guard with you. Then the king greets the men of lieutenant Maurice Vantelot ordering the block and is made explain the operation of the turret for bomb thrower of 135 mm juxtaposed with a casemate of identical gauge.
The royal train sets out again then in direction of the backs and stops in front of the underground barracks. There, the king passes in a room troop, visits the infirmary, the electric factory the room of neutralization and finishes by the cells of the M1 store.
Its majesty regains the entry of the ammunition now. A small detachment of 164 ème R.I. F (regiment of the time of war of the infantry of the work) returns the honors to him. The flag of the work, its guard and ten graded and soldiers present the weapons to the king while the lieutenant chief of detachment greets sabre.
The official cameras crépitent. The king then receives the badge of the work which it examines attentively. He signs the gold book George R.I (rex imperator, king d' Angleterre and emperor of the Indies) before gaining in the car the work close to the Mount of Welches where the captain François Tari up, ordering the work, receives it with his cooking, with thirty-five meters under ground. The meal is followed of a procession of English troops and a company of the 80ème regiment of infantry on the road serving the work, with height of light quartering.
The astonishing genesis of this book richly decorated is told to us by his creator and realizer Daniel Derveaux, artist of talent, then soldier conscript provisionally exempted of the class 1934-2, incorporated in 162 ème R.I.F.
This remarkable engraver and draughtsman, editor internationally known inhabitant of Saint Malo was one of the first occupants of the camp of Veckring and Hackenberg. He delivers his testimony thus to us.
Daniel Derveaux then leaves definitively Veckring and joined the central portion of the regiment. Known in the area for its talent, it is invited to the small work of the Wood of Dung (in Hestroff) where the captain Pierre Wolf, ordering the work, asks him to crunch the officers in order to them immortaliser on a mural fresco in the underground cooking.
Then, its work carried out, Daniel Derveaux turn over to the Wood of Villers and draw regularly, in particular in Christmas 1939.
Taking down on June 14 with his comrades of the intervals, the artist-soldier gains the area of St Nicolas de Port. Observer in the bell-tower of Luppecourt, it receives its baptism of fire there. Its feats of arms are worth to him to be decorated with the Military Cross.
The assessment of Daniel Derveaux, become author and publisher of art, is impressive: 2500 drawings, 40.000 tests of etchings, 6000 stones, zinc, aluminium, 300 engravings on copper, 1000 pullings in serigraphy, nearly 10 million drawn specimens are worth to him today to appear in the who' S who.
But let us retrogress. After the departure of Daniel Derveaux, the gold book had remained unfinished. An artist amateur, Robert Louard, gunner with the camp of Veckring, were then put at contribution.
It is supposed that it is the Major Ebrard which then asks Mdl Louard to complete the decoration of the gold book. Thus the book grows rich by many additional watercolours in preparation for the passage in the work by large of this world.
But after the funny one of war and the combat of May and June 1940, comes for all the crew the hour from the captivity.
Probably hidden by the major Ebrard, the invaluable gold book escapes predatory, just like the splendid flag of the work and the Tricolour which floated in front of the entry of the ammunition.
The senior officer then succeeds in introducing the flag and the flag into the lining of his two hoods that it recout thoroughly. He miraculeusement manages to return them to his family to France as of the first weeks of captivity. Thanks to this trick, these marvellous memories of Hackenberg are intact parvenus to us.
In November 1940, four months after its entry with the camp of Spittal year der Drau, in Carinthie, Ebrard addresses to its family her first letter since the departure of the work.
With more thousand kilometers from there, his wife and her daughter then discover with amazement the invaluable memories of the unconquered work.
As for the gold book, it will be finally aimed by the military authorities of Oflag XVIII C which will leave it between the hands of the commander Ebrard.
The former Pasha of Hackenberg made a courageous and honourable choice. Being deprived from its two hoods, it will spend five years to face the cold of Carinthie. Exceptional fact: its canteens of personal businesses containing moreover its notebooks, the newspaper of walk and operations of the work (more than five hundred pages) like its gun of officer and his sabre will return to France with him, almost complete.
By Danier Derveaux.
The gold book is preserved by German.
Transmission and observation aids.
Autonomy of H.
General information on the personnel.
Reconstitution of scenes.
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SF Boulay. Hackenberg (gold Book); Document written by Michel Truttmann. Thank you Michel. E R Cima ©2005-2008
0_*; Local files; 1_*; Introduction; 2_*; Visit of king d' Angleterre; 3_*; Deliver of Gold; 4_*; Safeguard