In public: Lola Lafon and the book “When you will listen to this song”

Lola Lafon wrote this story after spending a night at the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam and more precisely in the Annex. The Annex refers to those few rooms where Anne Frank lived for 25 months with her parents, her sister and four other people. 25 months, until the arrival of the Gestapo on August 4, 1944.

During this confinement, Anne Frank wrote a diary known throughout the world. This story makes it possible to understand to what extent this diary has been diverted, cut, to adjust the past to our convenience.

From book to book, Lola Lafon composes texts that speak of young girls whose lives adults decide to rewrite, as if it were a question of reframing them because these girls are too disturbing.

But with Anne Frank, the challenge is also to delve into the personal history of Lola Lafon and to question the activity she has been doing since she was a kid: writing.

Writing this text, the year when a presidential candidate claimed to rewrite history. Publish this text, the year antivax activists had the indecency to wear a yellow star.

Excerpts from the interview

A book that gets a lot of reactions from readers

Lola Lafon noticed that this time the reception of her book is different: “I receive, as usual, messages on social networks. But for the first time in a very long time, I also receive a lot of handwritten letters. It’s very touching. There is the name, the writing, the more or less legible pages… And I wonder why, all of a sudden, this influx of letters? Is it the fact of talking about a young girl who writes to write her diary that leads to writing? I do not know. »

Lola Lafon has long refused to tell her story as the daughter of Eastern European Jews exterminated in the camps

Lola Lafon hid her origins: “There was something about me that wanted to escape, that wanted to be saved. I feel like I didn’t want to be part of that past. I was obsessed with these ideas of death, mass graves. But I couldn’t see the pictures. So I reinvented myself a bit as different and removed from this Holocaust story. And ultimately, it’s impossible to escape who you are. I did have a name Lafon, my father’s name which sounded very French from the South-West. But I have witnessed so many anti-Semitic phrases that at some point you have to choose sides. »

Simone Veil facing the National Front in 1979: “You don’t scare me”!

Lola Lafon insisted that an extract from the Journal de TF1 from 1979 be broadcast on the air. She explains what touches her: “There is the TV presenter who presents the National Front as a small group of extreme -right. It is important to see how this party was designated at the time, and where we are today! And then she calls them “SS with small feet”. It’s a deportee who speaks, a woman survivor. And what courage when she says: “You don’t scare me!” What power in his voice! »

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The watered down voice of Anne Frank in “When you listen to this song”

Lola Lafon is indignant “It’s practically a second death. What is a text from which we decide to cut entire paragraphs? There are two things. In March 1944, Anne Frank decided to completely rewrite her diary into a narrative. What makes her a writer. She wanted to call it “Story of the Secret Annex.” It was the Americans who, in the 1950s, called it A girl’s diary because it was selling more. But that was not his title. ! So we continue to call journal a text that she didn’t want to call that. I was flabbergasted by how first Broadway and then Hollywood took on this story.

4 mins

We thought that there was material to make a world success. But for that, the producers decided to remove as it was said: “What was too sad and too Jewish”. So as soon as Anne Frank mentions Jewishness, we take it out. Nazism, we suppress, with the idea of ​​making a family show.

Then, it is in the name of reconciliation that we censor. We don’t want to shock. We don’t want to hear about a young Jewish girl who dies in Bergen-Belsen. So we extract from history what may not seem universal to make it a symbol that speaks to everyone. »

How to call a great author

Lola Lafon explains: “The director of Anne Frank Museum told me that there is a phenomenal identification with Anne Frank. Young women enter this place and are persuaded to be the reincarnation of Anne Frank. That is very extreme. Others don’t want to leave his room. The staff is obliged to time it so that people do not stay there too long. But above all, he told me: “Even in my team, when someone starts saying ‘Anne’, it makes me feel funny. She’s not our cousin or our girlfriend. She was a great dead author. And does that give us the right to familiarity? »

A memory built according to the time when we grew up

“I grew up in the 1980s. In retrospect, I have the impression that this means that there was a great illusion, that racism was going to be settled with the little yellow hand of SOS Racisme. But there was no voice for “the friends” we were talking about. We imagined that all it took was a song to solve the problem of hunger in Africa. There was this kind of naivety, a little a little tragic all the same, politically which leads us here. explains Lola Lafon.

54 mins

Writing connects things that change

Lola Lafon has moved around a lot. And for her: “It’s a bit like dancing, writing is one of the things that doesn’t change. You have a notebook with you and you talk. It’s very comforting and I have the impression that writing is always what brings me back to myself and to a space that is intimate and has nothing to do with the country where we is. The connection between writing and dancing is that a big part of my life is: “start again, start again. »

Helene Deninck and what is called “the PPDA affair”.

” The book Impunity by Hélène Deninck is phenomenal. He does not speak for others, but with others. Hélène speaks of a system and asks the question of the number of people who are silent around to ensure that a system of sexual predation continues. * »*

Lola Lafon’s carte blanche

“For years, my dog ​​has been the object and the subject of dozens of meetings, according to our walks. Japanese, Italian and American Instagrammers asked me for permission to photograph him. We were ecstatic in front of his slender waist and her brown and white German shorthaired pointer dress.

He was admired, desired, like an enviable accessory. And my pride was that of an owner.

He may have been a male, he followed the lambda course of a woman: from his fifties, his eleven years of dog, he gently passed on the side of the invisible.
First, his limping, the onset of osteoarthritis, inspired compassion. From then on, no one spoke to us.
We didn’t really care: a quiet, silent understanding had developed between us. He no longer saw much of it, had an absolute and overwhelming confidence in me. I guided him, with an inflection of the leash, avoided obstacles for him.
But what in him was extinguished also seemed to give birth to an increased sensitivity, he sighed with happiness at the slightest caress.
If the children in the street marveled at his strange blue eyes and praised his sweetness, the adults only saw an opaque and worrying gaze, that of the old blind dog he had become.
We were arrested again, in the street, but now they ordered me to euthanize him. I replied that he was old, of course, but not sick, he ate with a very good appetite, stole apples from the living room table, dozed at my feet when I was writing.

But nothing helped, I was told that I could not leave it “in this state”.
He has become a foil, a monster of old age. A monster that announced to us what we would prefer not to know, not to see. monster comes from latin monsterwhich means “to show”, “to indicate”, and monstrum of the verb money ” to warn “.
My dog’s old age told me about the future, mine, ours.
His old age sent back to me our inability to bear the slowdown. See our annoyance when, at the checkout counters, fingers deformed by arthritis struggle to open a purse. See our exasperation when we are “stuck” behind a vehicle, a person who “is not moving forward”. See what we are fleeing: this prescience that aging is not, in truth, an aesthetic problem that we will get rid of with a cosmetic surgeon or at Sephora.
One day, yes, everything will slow down: our steps, our gestures, and we will no longer be these efficient, productive beings, we will no longer be “in the race”. But towards what, finally. The slowness to come is a state of our lives, an ultimate landscape.

My dog, whom I never managed to teach anything, taught me that no longer being admired was not a social death, but perhaps a rediscovered freedom. He taught me that those who turn away from aging beings as if they were afraid of being contaminated, are what I call almost dead, dead of fear.

He taught me that no longer following the movement of others was like a breath, a rebirth, the last.
I hope I will live up to this lesson, my dog.”

The guest tube

TORIS AMOS – Crucify

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In public: Lola Lafon and the book “When you will listen to this song”

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