My maternal great-grandfather was drafted as a lieutenant in 1939 after France declared war on Germany.
He was taken as a prisoner of war and sent to a POW camp where he caught bronchitis. The German doctor of the camp examined him. My great-grandfather told him that he had two babies (my grandmother and her brother) and that he needed to go home to look after them. Luckily, the doctor was a Malgré-nous from Alsace, enrolled by force by the German Army after France was defeated. The doctor made a false report, stating that my great-grandfather suffered from tuberculosis, a very contagious disease. Therefore, he was sent home.
My paternal great-grandfather could not be drafted in the army in 1939 since he had 4 young children that he had to take care of. He lived in Rennes until 1943. The city suffered from regular aerial bombings of the Allies. His neighbours’ house was destroyed in 1943 and his cousin died when the train station got bombed. 807 civilians died there during the 4 years of occupation. After that, he went to live in a small village on the northern shore of Brittany that was liberated during the summer of 1944. He made friends with an American soldier from California who was stationed for a couple of weeks in the village and who became a lifelong friend. They visited each other several times after the war.