It was a year ago. The town hall of the commune of Montigny-lès-Metz, a small town of 20,000 inhabitants in Moselle, was then discussing the possibility of installing new Stolpersteine (pavers in memory of the victims of Nazism) in the town, when a tune came in the mind of Dimitri Sokolowski, deputy mayor of Montigny-lès-Metz. “I mentioned the title Comme toi by J-J Goldman when discussing Lucienne, Denise and Georgette Bernard deported and murdered in Auschwitz on August 5, 1944,” he says on his Instagram account. “Their story made me think of Sarah, a young girl who in the song was not “born like you” (like us) and who had experienced a disastrous fate because “other people had decided otherwise””.
The idea of inviting the singer on the day of the ceremony then emerged in Dimitri Sokolowski’s mind. “I had imagined for a moment, admittedly a little unreasonably, seeing him play Like You on a sidewalk in Montigny, at the time of the tribute,” he admits. The deputy mayor of Montigny-lès-Metz is giving it a try. “Like a bottle in the sea”, he sent a letter to Jean-Jacques Goldman, who replied within a few days.
In a handwritten letter, the favorite personality of the French wanted to thank Dimitri Sokolowski for his “touching invitation” and congratulated the municipality for its initiative. The 72-year-old singer, heartbroken, explains that he cannot be present during the tribute ceremony. But in a few lines, he opens up about his personal story: “On May 5, 2023, three Stolpersteine were placed in Munich, the birthplace of my grandparents and my mother who had fled to France and where they had were welcomed and hidden. With you, I think of Denise, Lucienne and Georgette who were not so lucky.”