Mission Remembrance: Personal Stories
That Keep History’s
Lessons Alive
by Joanne S. Silver

In the film Les Invasions barbares, the terminally ill professor laments: Íf only I had written something.

Beach Lloyd Publishers, LLC, strives to fulfill that wish to leave something lasting behind. What began as a translating project in June 2002 has morphed into a company with multiple titles that feature World War II memoirs and testimonies of Holocaust survivors, Hidden Children, a Resistance worker who was an inmate in concentration camps, a woman who was a teenager in the Belgian Resistance, and others. Most published works appear in both French and English, and we distribute additional selected titles in both languages.

Remembrance was built into our name and the founding of the company: my father, named after the writer of the early 1900’s, was Rex Beach Lloyd, a Navy medic who landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944. On that very day, 15-yearold Armand Idrac sought refuge near Caen for himself, his recently widowed mother, and his younger sister. In the early 1970’s, I spent a six-week homestay in Normandy with the LeCoutour and Idrac families. In the summer of 2000, when Armand and I had been friends for 30 years, he unceremoniously handed me a manuscript—Mémoires d’Armand, written for friends and family.

The Table of Contents aroused my family’s curiosity, and the translating began for their sake. Soon, publication became a goal. Armand writes with dry humor and an engaging style, and the riveting facts carried the story. After penning the short Epilogue that I requested, he confessed, “You have no idea what this cost me emotionally; this is proof of our friendship.”

Not nearly as thrilled with business tasks as with rendering his humor and expressions in English, I nevertheless decided to form a corporation. The translation, renamed Memoirs from Normandy: Childhood, War & Life’s Adventures, was a hit in Philadelphia, at the 2003 conference of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. With Armand and his wife Yvonne chatting in French with teachers, this was a very special, exciting time, with sales and book signings moving quickly.

Because demand for the original French version was strong, we proceeded with its publication. Armand and I exchanged many transatlantic e-mails. We were thrilled to have the foreword by that great historian Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, whose family had sheltered the Idracs in their château. Emmanuel’s foreword includes excerpts from his 16-year-old sister’s journal about the hardships, heartbreaks and hopes from June 6 through the Liberation of Paris on August 25, 1944. We then published both books in shorter, classroom versions: My Normandy: A Teenager Lives through World War II and Ma Normandie à Moi : Un jeune homme vit la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. In poor health for years, Armand lived to see all four books published, and passed away on February 16, 2006.

Colleagues in the American Association of Teachers of French led to production of three more books and a DVD: Barbara P. Barnett’s compelling Visages de la Shoah : Marcel Jabelot, then its English version, Faces of the Holocaust: Marcel Jabelot, and the DVD format of that accompanying award-winning video. Tu t’appelles Renée followed, Ruth Kapp Hartz’s translation of her own moving story as a Hidden Child in Vichy France. We began distribution of Your Name Is Renée (Oxford University Press), the memoir in English, by Stacy Cretzmeyer.

And so the publishing and distributing has continued to grow, with carefully chosen, unique works of special interest.

Ronald Silver, my husband, has been the indispensible advisor, Technical Director and graphics expert, who also mans exhibit booths and assists at presentations. Other family members have acted as “free-lancers” for illustrating, and in other capacities. At Beach Lloyd Publishers, we are always ready to talk about what we have to offer, because we are passionate about our philosophy, which includes the mission to highlight the ideals shared by the United States and France. We promote our publications with heart, for we believe in the importance of learning from history’s stories, and choose to accomplish this by sharing the experiences of extraordinary individuals who lived through World War II and those events that changed the course of history.

* * * * *

In April 2008, Joanne Silver was named Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes académiques, the French Government’s most prestigious honor for scholarship and academic achievement. She serves on the Boards of the Alliance Française de Philadelphie and the American Association of Teachers of French, and on the jury of the DELF/DALF (French Government certification in the language). She holds a Master of Arts degree in French, teacher certification in French and Spanish, and in supervision of foreign languages. She retired from teaching in Downingtown Area School District (PA), and worked briefly as a publicist before self-instructing on publishing, to found Beach Lloyd Publishers, LLC. She is founder of the first International Lyceum Club in the U.S. (www.lyceumclub.org).

Print Window