When finally the book was printed and I arrived in Paris with the 350 copies at a small reception laid on by my friends for about a hundred people these weighed nearly four hundred kilograms. And when my friends realised what had become of the "short booklet" the emotion and enthusiasm it aroused surpassed anything I could possible have imagined.
These events took place in March 1999. Since then, "word of mouth" has worked increasingly effectively. Through newspapers and via organisations all over the world, in France, of course, but also in England, Belgium, Switzerland, Israel, Greece, Brazil, California, and Australia, we searched for and found (and continue to find) descendants of the deportees all of whom have been anxious to contribute a biography of their relative.
In a short period of time I was obliged to have a further hundred copies printed, then another hundred, and another so that, to date, about 850 copies have been sent out.
The next step was the creation of a non-profit association (The Family and Friends of the Deportees of Convoy 73) to put into effect the aspirations of our group which has grown to about three hundred people related to 238 deportees. Each week brings new letters and telephone calls and I continue to mail out copies of our book.
After the issue of a second and a third volume in November of 2000 which gather 106 new testimonies, I'm currently working on the fourth volume, because about fifty new families have still contacted us to take part to this memorial, and we continue to find new families all over the world. This fourth book might be published as early as the end of the first quarter of 2002.
This book, which I began with no design or expectations and which is the only the work of reference on Convoy 73, has had an impact which I begin only to fully grasp: it has become something more than itself. The letters I received after its publication are overwhelmingly poignant; the book has clearly helped, in its own limited way, to comfort the families of the deportees and to fill the painful void left by the total lack of information on the fate of the men after their departure from Drancy, and provide a small substitute for an identifiable and tangible burial-place before which the indispensable process of grieving could finally and fully take place.
Eve Line Blum-Cherchevsky
Besanšon, September 2001