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In April 1942, when the 18-year-old volunteer soldier Émilien Dufresne set sail from Halifax, Canada to cross over to England, the Battle of the Atlantic raged on. The 72 ships had to form convoys to face the sea infested by the dreaded German U-boat submarines. 1943, The Overlord project – the Normandy landings – occupied all the training and learning of young Émilien, who became increasingly aware of the danger that awaited him and his companions. Covered in water up to his shoulders, rifle raised high, his life hung by a thread. He advanced bravely and vigilantly, avoiding underwater mines, while hundreds of his comrades swirled around him. On the night of June 6-7, 1944, following the success of his mission on the Normandy coast in France, he was captured by the Germans. The relentless pace of forced labor began. What the Allies destroyed during the day had to be rebuilt at night. A long, painful, and incomprehensible march through bombarded Germany and Poland commenced. A convoy of thousands of wounded who lacked care and sustenance had to beware of fierce guards and too often helplessly witness the execution of their fellow sufferers. The more the bombardments intensified, the more Émilien felt the hope of victory that had kept him alive for nearly four years. On April 9, 1945, the Americans had arrived; they liberated the camp. Ten long months of wondering every day – Is today the last day? Émilien celebrated life and liberation.

Dufresne - Memoirs of a WWII Soldier

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