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Cocumont / Dessenheim : a twinning through history.

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COCUMONT / DESSENHEIM : linked since 1939

It was Friday 1st September 1939. Faced with the Nazi menace, Alsace was evacuated. Provided with a few things to eat and light luggage, the population of Dessenheim (in the canton of Neuf-Brisach in the Haut-Rhin Department) joined the long convoy of refugees which was being organised. There were thousands of them on foot, on bicycles or in horse-drawn carts. It was 16.30, the destination unknown …

Fernand Meyer lived through this time; he remembers : « we were 520 people from Dessenheim (344 adults and 176 children). After walking for 10km, there was a halt for a first night in exile. The next day we set off again towards Colmar, circling the town to the North to the wine-producing village of Kientzheim for a stay of three days. On the morning of the 5th of September, the convoy set out again to go the station at Benwihr. There we were crammed into cattle trucks with bales of straw, with no toilets or lighting, to go to the South-West of France. Two days later, on the afternoon of 7th September, our train entered the station at Marmande. »

The local authorities having requisitioned the availables lorries, cars and buses, the population of Dessenheim was transported to Cocumont in the late evening. The list of names contained 514 people, 6 having been lodged in a neighbouring commune. « Arriving at about 9 o'clock in the evening, we were lodged in the Mairie, the school, the Convent and the hairdresser's ... It was only the next day that we were divised amongst the host families of the commune. »

The enforced exile would last for thirteen months. On 28th September 1940, the population of Dessenheim returned to Alsace, not without having forged some indissoluble bonds of friendship...

The exchanges between the two communes increased at the beginning of the 1980s through the basketball clubs. In 1990, Léon Schatt, Mayor of Dessenheim and Roger Boyancé, Mayor of Cocumont, signed the official Oath of twinning. Since then, every three years it has generated warm reunions in whitch are mixed frienship, brotherhood and the duty of remembering.

              August 2012 : At Cocumont, the two communes renewed the oath of twinning.

Link to Dessenheim web site
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