Josette Molland, Who Told of Life in Nazi Camps Through Art, Dies at 100

In the spring of 1943, Josette Molland, a 20-year-old art student, was certain of two things: that she was making a pretty good living creating designs for Lyon’s silk weavers, and that it was unbearable that Germans occupied her country.

She joined the Resistance. Fabricating false papers and transporting them for the famed Dutch-Paris underground network unburdened her of guilt. But it was dangerous.

Captured by the Gestapo less than a year later, Ms. Molland lived the hell of Nazi deportation and Nazi camps for women, at Ravensbrück and elsewhere. She tried to escape, organized a rebellion against her guards, was severely beaten and lived on insects and “what was beneath the bark of trees.” But she somehow survived and made it back to France.

“I had a happy life for the next 50 years,” Ms. Molland said in a privately published autobiography, “Soif de Vivre” (“Thirst for Life”), in 2016. But during those succeeding decades she also told her story as one of a dwindling band of officially recognized Resistance members still alive — about 40 of the original 65,000 who were awarded the Resistance medal, French officials say.

She died at 100 on Feb. 17 at a nursing home in Nice, according to Roger Dailler, who had helped her write her memoir along with another friend of Ms. Molland’s, Monique Mosselmans-Melinand.

The kind of horrors Ms. Molland endured — transported in packed cattle cars, arriving at the camp at Holleischen to find that a young woman had been hanged in the courtyard as punishment, sustaining a beating for helping a fellow prisoner who had collapsed (“Happily I only got 25 blows; 50 meant death”) — have been recounted before by other camp survivors. And like other victims of the Nazis, she often gave talks in French schools.

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