Obituary for Robert Chanut

09.08.2016

Obituary for Robert Chanut

From Paris we received the sad message that M. Robert Chanut has died at the age of 92.

Robert Chanut was born on 11 July 1924. In 1944, he was arrested by the Paris Security Police and taken to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp. He received the prisoner number 62122, was assigned to Gusen on 28 April and worked in the weapons factory of the Commando STEYR. Exactly one year after his arrival at Gusen, on 28 April 1945, he was taken to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp together with several hundred French, Belgian and Dutch prisoners. He was liberated on 5 May 1945 and returned to France.

When he was arrested on 14 February 1944, Robert Chanut, who had been married for five years, expected the birth of his first child. In the last lines of his book published in 2011 and entitled “365 Days Survival at GUSEN I, O Place of Despair”, Robert Chanut describes the only moment when the Gusen Camp management of Gusen demonstrated a little humanity: «one day in summer 44 the Blockschreiber submitted to me a message from the Red Cross. These words, written in French, brought me back to the civilised world: “Fils né le 13 Mai 1944 [On 13 May1944 a son was born to you]”…»

Robert Chanut returned to Austria only one time, in October 2011 during a commemorative and study trip organised by l’Amicale de Mauthausen (Paris). On 15 April 2016, he was awarded the “Cross of the Legion of Honour” for his witness reports on the deportations.

From the 45 men from Cluny, who were deported to Mauthausen, 12 returned to France. Robert Chanut was the last survivor.

We mourn for Robert Chanut.