When five-year-old Alain, a little boy living in Paris, is strafed by German planes at the onset of the German invasion in 1940, his world is instantly turned on its head. During the next four years, like the children who fight to survive today’s many conflicts around the world, he grows up fast and must be mentally strong and alert to stay safe. With limited parental support, Alain and his young friends face increasing deprivation, devastating hunger, and constant fear of the occupying Germans soldiers, with their intimidating rules and random street blockades and checkpoints. He also dreads the Allies’ air raids, although he knows the bombers are on his side.
Born in Paris, as a young boy Yves Masson experienced the hardships of German occupation. After serving in the French army during the Algerian war, he left France for New York City in 1965 and became a United States citizen in the early seventies. He lived in New York, Georgia, and California, and has made Florida his home state since 2011. After working as a marketing executive in Corporate America and running his own consulting firm, Yves turned to the arts.
My mother and I were on our way to the bakery to get bread for lunch. All of a sudden, planes screamed down from the sky. They roared close to my head, fired their guns, rose up, turned around, and seconds later came back and started to drop bombs.
“Mom, what’s going on?” I shouted, hanging on to her hand for dear life. I was not yet five years old.
“It’s the Germans. We have to go back home,” she shouted back. She tightened her grip on my hand and started to run.