Seventeen-year-old Lucie Fouble is the sensation of the Oscar award-winning documentary, Colette, which follows 93-year-old former resistance fighter, Colette Marin Catherine, to the concentration camp Nordhausen-Dora, where her brother Jean-Pierre was assassinated. Nordhausen-Dora, a dependency of the Buchenwald camp, is notably where Wernher Von Braun, father of the space conquest, developed the V2 missile. Buchenwald was also where prominent French aircraft designer, Marcel Dassault, refused to collaborate to the fabrication of a future Franco-German interceptor which would likely have changed the course of the war in Germany’s favor. Lucie Fouble is currently working on the Dora Dictionary which documents the 9,000 french deportees contained within Nordhausen-Dora.
Could you tell us about your work around the publication of the Dora Dictionary with Laurent Thiery?
Lucie Fouble: I am a volunteer at La Coupole (a museum on World War II in Pas-de-Calais and linked to the Dora camp since the V2 rockets were to be launched from there on England but the construction of the site has never been completed) for four years and I discovered the project of the Book of the 9,000 deportees from France in Mittelbau-Dora directed by Laurent Thiery, historian at La Coupole, and which was published in September 2020 by Éditions du Recherches-Midi . For this Book of 9,000, I notably wrote the notice for Jean-Pierre Catherine, deported to Dora. In 2019, Laurent Thiery was contacted by Alice Doyard, the producer of the documentary Colette, who asked him, after seeing that La Coupole was working on Dora, if there was a volunteer who could accompany Colette Marin-Catherine, Jean-Pierre’s sister, in Germany to retrace Jean-Pierre’s career, 75 years later. You should know that Colette did not want to go to Germany as part of what she calls “morbid tourism”, she wanted to share and my work at La Coupole, on her brother, corresponded perfectly to her wishes. This is how I worked on Jean-Pierre’s course in two ways.
How were you selected to participate in this short film and how was your first meeting with Colette?
Lucie Fouble: I don’t know if there was a real selection, you would have to ask Alice Doyard, but what I can say is that Laurent Thiery put me in contact with her. We spoke by phone. She asked me questions about Jean-Pierre, what touched me, my work at La Coupole, etc … I then met Anthony Giacchino, the director, and Annie Small on video if I remember correctly.
Colette, I met her a week before leaving for Germany, on a morning in Caen. I was impressed since it was the first time that I had encountered an ancient member of the resistance in such an intimate and privileged way. Also intimidated because Colette is someone with a strong character and I was a little shy at the time. But in the end, my first meeting with Colette went well and even though I had only seen her one morning, when we went to Germany, there is a kind of connection that today makes her an adoptive grandmother for me!
This film is in the special features of the Medal of Honor video game. Did you know that it makes Electronic Arts, the first video game producer and Facebook, the first social network, to win an Oscar?
Lucie Fouble: I knew there was a link with a video game but honestly, I don’t know more. I actually saw on social media that he was the first Oscar-winning video game producer.
Director Anthony Giacchino is the brother of Michael Giacchino, soundtrack composer of Ratatouille, Up, The Incredibles, Coco and Jojo Rabbit. How did you meet?
Lucie Fouble: You are teaching me something, I did not know 🙂
Anthony I met him for the first time on video and in-person in Caen, I have no particular memories of our meeting but at the time I did not know that he had already done great things! From the first moments, he was always attentive to me and I know that he made the effort to speak a little slower in English to help me understand!
What did you think of Michael Moore and Emma Thompson enthusiastic reaction?
Lucie Fouble: I would say that it is incredible and impressive that such great personalities are interested in Colette!
This film was an opportunity to talk again about Operation Paperclip and the case of Wernher von Braun, the father of the space conquest. Can you explain this to us?
Lucie Fouble: Indeed, the Oscar is an opportunity to talk about von Braun and the Dora camp in the United States, which represents a real “pied-de-nez de l’histoire”! At the end of World War II, during Operation Paperclip, the Americans aimed to recruit Nazi scientists for themselves. Von Braun, pursuing his desires for glory and science, had agreed to join the SS and was therefore given military rank. However, the Americans recovered him, as part of the Space race with the USSR, but erased Von Braun’s Nazi past and the history of the Dora camp. He was never worried and was never tried after the war. On the contrary, in the United States, he was erected as a national hero. But let’s remember, V2 is the dark origin of the conquest of space and the first steps of Man on the Moon. Von Braun is the creator of the V2 and the rocket that made it possible to go to the Moon, but it is also he who is at the origin of the thousands of deaths of the Dora camp, which was one of the deadliest camps of WWII.
Where did your passion for WWII history come from? Did your grandparents introduced you to the subject?
Lucie Fouble: To begin with, it was not my grandparents who told me about this period because they were born after the war and I did not know my great-grandparents. It has nothing to do with family. I only discovered afterward the events that happened in my family during the war. Actually, my passion for WWII, comes from the 3rd grade, when my history teacher taught us about WWII.
What are your plans for the future?
Lucie Fouble: I would like to do research on the Second World War and more particularly on repressive Nazi policies, including deportations.
Watch Colette here: