Bernard Dargols – French Jew in American Uniform Fought on the Beaches of Normandy, Passes at 98
In just a few weeks, the 75th Anniversary D-Day celebrations will commence. But one man won’t be able to attend: Bernard Dargols was the only native Parisian to fight in an American uniform. He passed into eternity at the age of 98, just a few days before his birthday. (RTL.FR)
When he came to the United States in 1938, Dargols went to work on Manhattan. On D-Day, 1944, he was a Staff Sergeant who “waded ashore during Operation Overlord” to join the fight to tear France from the grip of the Germans.
“Some GIs were killed in the water. By what miracle was I going to make these last few metres…If the Liberty Ship had been able to quickly go into reverse, I think I would have asked them to do it.”
Dargols landed on Normandy on June 8, 1944. He said that the French were amazed to hear a US soldier speaking with a Parisian accent when they liberated the city.
Dargols told Time magazine in 2014 he had badly wanted to fight the Germans, after seeing newsreel footage of Adolph Hitler shaking hands with the French leader Philippe Pétain, whose government collaborated in deporting about 73,000 Jews from France to the Nazi concentration camps.
His mother survived the Nazi occupation of Paris by hiding in her apartment building—a fact Dargols learned only in 1944, when, as an American G.I., he drove his Jeep into the courtyard underneath the family apartment, after Paris’ liberation, and found his mother alive.
He later moved back to Paris but never forgot what he or his comrades in arms were fighting for – or against.
C'est avec tristesse que je vous annonce le décès de Bernard Dargols, vétéran français de la bataille de Normandie 👉 https://t.co/xjn4VCgdug— D-Day Overlord (@ddayoverlordweb) April 29, 2019
It is with sadness that I announce the death of Bernard Dargols, French veteran of the Battle of Normandy 👉 https://t.co/2AYdjiQPpO pic.twitter.com/8JeAraavx9
Bernard became an intelligence officer and was assigned to Camp Ritchie near Washington. In April 1943 he chose to become an American citizen.
Humans tend to forget the sacrifices of those who saved the free world from tyranny during WWII. The younger generations do not understand what the term “nazi” really means, nor do they comprehend that two sets of tyrannical regimes were aimed at the world at the same time: Germany and Japan. As hatred and anti-Semitism rise in the midst of our so-called “modern times,” the specter of those old demonic regimes lurks beneath the surface. Mr. Dargols spent many days trying to educate the younger generations. With his passing, the world’s knowledge of those wars and what happened there grows dim.
“Today we’re seeing the signs of anti-Semitism. I want young people to fight back against it.” Bernard Dargols
R.I.P., Sir, and thank you for your service.
Featured photo: actu.fr screenshot of Bernard Dargols during WWII with his jeep “La Bastille”