Farewell to Paul Encelot
Paul Encelot, a Frenchman and Mauthausen survivor, died in June 2019.
On 1 March 1943, all young people in the region born between 1920 and 1922 were ordered to report to the town hall in Ligny-En-Barrois – they were to be deported to Germany as forced labourers as part of the STO (Service du Travail Obligatoire – Compulsory Work Service). Following this, the young people sang the French national anthem, the Marseillaise, in protest. They were arrested by the Gestapo and ten of them were deported to the Mauthausen and Sachsenhausen concentration camps, Paul Encelot among them.
In July 1943, Paul Encelot was transported in cattle trucks to the Loibl Pass subcamp, where as a forced labourer he built tunnels and cleared land for the North Camp. Encelot described the day and night shifts working in the tunnels with pickaxe and jackhammer as torturous, the treatment by the guards and kapos as brutal, and the rations as scant. His inadequate prisoner’s uniform was always soaked through. He suffered some serious injuries, which were treated in the infirmary at the South Camp without any anaesthetics. Paul Encelot also remembered the provisional crematorium in which the dead were burned. In May 1945, Paul Encelot was finally liberated from the Loibl South subcamp by Slovenian partisans.
The staff of the Memorial Office of the Mauthausen Memorial had the privilege of meeting Paul Encelot in July 2014 in Ligny-En-Barrois. They were able to talk to him about his life history and join him as he visited the places where his deportation began. The memories of events during his concentration camp imprisonment were clearly painful for him. In spite of this, he was an indefatigable advocate of remembrance and commemoration. His involvement helped to create a memorial in Ligny to the young victims of 1 March 1943, he took part in the annual ‘Parcour mémoriel’ event in Nancy and, in 2016, he was awarded the Legion d’Honneur order of merit.
We shall not forget Paul Encelot.
Paul Encelot will be sadly missed.