Kir not Keir

Something you may not know…

An interesting factlet:

A delicious French aperitif known as Kir, white wine (bourgogne aligoté for the purists) with a dash of crème de Cassis (blackcurrant syrup), is named after le chanoine Kir (Canon Kir) who served this drink at official ceremonies in Dijon where he was deputy Mayor.

Canon Kir has quite a history. A priest and a keenly political man, he helped many prisoners escape from the Longvic camp near Dijon during the Second World War and was resolutely opposed to the German occupiers in Dijon. He survived imprisonment and an attempt on his life reportedly by a pro-Vichy bunch of collaborationist volunteers.

I am currently working on a book based on the memoir of Frenchman Roland Chopard, who was deported as a slave labourer to Germany in 1944 towards the end of the WW2. While reading through Roland’s notes on his family, I came across this intriguing snippet:

‘Au cour des années d’occupation, cet homme, rebelle de nature, participa à la résistance, fut même je crois déporté et fut l’ami du chanoine Kir.’

(During the years of occupation this man, who was rebellious by nature, took part in the Resistance, was even deported I think, and was friends with Canon Kir.)

The man Roland is talking about is his uncle Gaston, who suffered all his life from the effects of being gassed in the First World War. This did not stop him from being part of the Resistance in the next war.

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