Page 401. " Levade arrived in the concentration camp at Drancy "


Drancy was a transit camp just north of Paris that was used to hold Jews temporarily until they could be transported to the concentration camps in Poland. It was a multi-storey complex, originally intended to be a public housing project for 700 people.  But its close proximity to a railway station made it ideal for holding the thousands of Jews being rounded up in Paris and beyond.  Up to 7,000 Jews were housed there at a time.

The camp was run by the French police until July 1943, when it was taken over by the SS.

Drancy Inmates
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeDrancy Inmates - Credit: Deutsches Bundesarchiv



Page 407. " the problem was that I wasn’t wearing a star "


Nazi Colour Coding Chart
Public DomainNazi Colour Coding Chart - Credit: East Renfrewshire Council Holocaust Remembrance 2004

The badge system in Nazi concentration camps defined and differentiated  each prisoner racially, politically and/or sexually.

Yellow Star: Jewish

Green Triangle: Criminal

Red Triangle: Political Prisoner (often Communist)

Black Triangle: “Asocials” (vagrants, Roma gypsies)

Pink Triangles: Homosexuals

Purple Triangles: Jehovah’s Witnesses

If the prisoner was non-German, they had the initial of their place of origin on their badge.  If a prisoner fell into more than one category they wore a number of badges (e.g. a Jewish, gay communist would wear a yellow star, pink triangle and red triangle).

Jews were required to wear the yellow badges even before they were interned.  Non-compliance, as in Hartmann's case, could lead to deportation.

Note: Hartmann also appears in Faulks's The Girl at the Lion d’Or.

Page 416. " a German paediatrician called Levi "

Levi first appears in Birdsong.  He loses his brother Joseph in a tunnel, and while searching for him encounters Stephen Wraysford.

Page 417. " We were considered proper Germans then "

Jewish soldiers served on both sides in World War I, and many of the survivors subsequently ended up being deported to the gas chambers by those compatriots in whose name they'd bravely fought.