Châteaubriant: Odette Nilès, last internee of the Choisel camp, celebrates her 100th birthday

Odette Niles
Odette Nilès, the last internee at the Choisel camp in Châteaubriant (Loire-Atlantique) celebrates her 100th birthday on Tuesday, December 27, 2022. ©Carine Picard-Nilès

Honorary President of The Association of Châteaubriant-Voves-Rouille-Aincourt and figure of the Resistance, Odette Nilès, the last internee of the Choisel camp in Châteaubriant (Loire-Atlantique), celebrates its 100th anniversary, Tuesday, December 27, 2022. “What beautiful longevity! And what a life! Formulates the Amicale de Châteaubriant-Voves-Rouillé-Aincourt in a press release.

“Odette brings all her experience. It is simple and reminds us of history », comments the president of the local committee for the remembrance of the heroes of ChâteaubriantSerge Adry.

We must not forget this period, even more with what is currently happening, such as the rise of racism.

Serge Adry

One of Odette Nilès’ granddaughters, Carine Picard-Nilès, is full of praise for her grandmother.  » It’s here woman of my life. She was the one who taught me the share and the spirit of brotherhood. She means a lot to me. »

Aged 53, this housewife assures that his grandmother is “a pillar of the family. “For several months, she had also had the objective “of pass the milestone of 100 years. »

She enters resistance at 17 years old

Although her body is “very degraded”, Odette Nilès “still has her head” and “mental strength. She ist resistant to the end. »
From 1939, his sense of social justice and people’s independence already led her to militate against non-intervention in Spain, to sto engage politicallyfor the banned communist party, to collect boxes of milk for Spanish babies.

The young Odette Lecland was then only fifteen years old. At 17, she entered the resistance against the German Occupier in his town of Drancy (Seine-Saint-Denis).

She is not resigned, unlike many others.

The Association of Châteaubriant-Voves-Rouille-Aincourt

She participates in the demonstration of students and high school students, the November 11, 1940 in Paris, then to that of July 14, 1941 on the Grands Boulevards And to that of August 13 at the Richelieu Drouot metro station.
It was on this occasion that the « infamous special brigades », as they are called The Association of Châteaubriant-Voves-Rouille-Aincourtarrest her and 16 young men. All are under 20 years old.

Videos: currently on Actu

“She is judged en court martial , on August 26 of the same year. It doesn’t drag. “Among his comrades, many are sentenced to prison in Germany.

Meet Guy Môquet

Three are sentenced to death and executed. She learns with what « extreme severity » the occupantspunish the recalcitrant. “She will now know what each of her actions could expose her to. »
For her part, Odette ends up in the Petite Roquette prison. “Not for very long” relates the Amicale de Châteaubriant-Voves-Rouillé-Aincourt, since it was part of “the contingent of 48 women who arrived at the Choisel camp, in Châteaubriant, in September 1941.”
There, it will be the time of the resourcefulness camaraderie, more or less silent revolt, but also that of a short, but eternal idyll with the valiant Guy Môquet.
“The time of hostages, executions, unfortunately. She is going to see so many, friends, leave for the peloton! “She will spend three of her years of youth, on borrowed time, in the camps of Châteaubriant, Aincourt (Val-d’Oise), Gaillon (Eure) or even La Lande-Mons (Var).

She finally escaped from that of Mérignac, to continue the battles for the Liberation in the Bordeaux region.

The Association of Châteaubriant-Voves-Rouille-Aincourt

Responsible in Charentes of the Forces of the Youth, it contributes to « drive out the last pockets of German resistance », on the side of Royan.
She meets a young FFI commander,Maurice Nilès, who will become Mayor of Drancy until 1997, deputy of the Seine, but especially her husband.

“With him, once France was liberated, Odette contribute to the recovery of life local, to the reconstruction of the country. And a family. »

Passing on the torch of Memory to young people

Their son, named Claude Guy in tribute to the young Guy Môquet,his comrade shot on October 22, 1941, will be born in November 1945, who will give them several grandchildren, then great-grandchildren.

« President of the Amicale Chateaubriant-Voves-Rouillé-Aincourt until 2022, it’s around the future she always looked to herselfresolutely, trying to convey to young people the torch of memory, relentlessly, for many decades. »

Today an officer Legion of HonorOdette remains one of the last resistance fighters of the Second World War still alive, like Madeleine Riffaud.

« For his birthday, we gave him a photography album that takes up part of his life, from his birth until todayi”, confides Carine Picard-Nilès. « It is a great pride for our Amicale and its committees throughout France », congratulates the association.

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