Saturday, 23 June 2012

Rome wasn’t built in a day

Well everybody knows that. But how many people know that the small chapel of Charcuble was built within 24 hours?
When the French capitulated to the Germans in 1940, the conscription was abandoned at the same time. To keep the boys of about 20 years old away from possible resistance work and to learn them some discipline, the Vichy regime founded in July 1940 the Chantiers de la jeunesse française (CJF). The CJF organized, heavily leaning on and influenced by the example of the scouting movement, an alternative conscription. In these 6 months the lads were taught discipline and community spirit whilst executing works for the public interest, like helping with the harvest, foresting and helping with building projects, etc. Not long after the foundation of the CJF, jews were banned from joining. After the Germans had ousted the Vichy regime, the CJF was used for providing forced labour in Germany. Like many things related to collaboration and resistance in France, CJF is often a bit of an obscure subject.
On the side of Cormatin church we had found a small plaque of the Vauban CJF 4. After some research we found out that CJF France was divided in a big number of groups, of which Vauban 4 was just one. The mayor of Cormatin knew a bit more. The CJF group Vauban 4, based in Cormatin, had done work in the surrounding woods, and in the wood near our house there were still remains to be seen of barracks built by and for the CJF.
Very recently we noticed an article in our indispensible source of information, Le Journal de Saône et Loire. It was about a ceremony to commemorate the fact that 70 years ago, on May 1st 1941, the Group Vauban 4 had built a small chapel near Charcuble within 24 hours. We always like to check out these sort of things, hence we got in the car and drove off to Bissy-lès-Mâcon, the commune of which Charcuble is a hamlet. The bell tower looks a bit like a pre-romanesque construction, but the rest of the small chapel, including the wall paintings behind the altar gives the real age of the chapel away.
The chapel is still considered to be a consasacred place, and is maintained with the help of the commune of Bissy-lès-Mâcon.
Although Rome is not really comparable to Charcuble, but…. This chapel was indeed built in one day!

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