In August 1941 Agnes Humbert was in a French prison after she and her colleagues had been caught circulating anti German literature. The Germans cracked down on even the smallest acts of resistance:
The news from the Eastern Front may be disastrous, but we still do our best to keep up the spirits of even the most despondent among us.
Yesterday another ‘new girl’ arrived, in absolute floods of tears. After an entire night of her wailing and sobbing, Mimi could take it no longer and yelled: ‘If she doesn’t shut up I’m going to put my head in my pail and jam the lid on!’
Immune to all attempts to soothe her, the new girl refused to answer any of our questions and carried on sobbing convulsively. Then someone slipped in the coup de grace: ‘They don’t execute women, you know – or not so far, anyway.’ Even this didn’t calm her down.
It was morning before she could eventually be persuaded to talk: “Well, it was like this you see. I had this pig. I live out in the suburbs, and I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to keep a pig without telling “them”.
And then, well, I decided to call him “Hitler” — well, how was I supposed to know that there was a law against calling your pig Hitler? Anyway, that’s why they brought me here. And whatever’s to become of me now?’
But answer came there none, as we were all doubled up with laughter. She found out soon enough, poor woman. Calling your pig ‘Hitler’ still only gets you nine months: a small price to pay, some of us maintain, for giving so much pleasure!