“This text is solemn, it marked our history and I mostly feel anger upon reading it. We aren’t through yet with a society that makes people destitute! It is crazy that today people have to spend three quarters of their income to have a roof. It is crazy that others live in slums, in houses that really aren’t houses.
It is very important to keep this call to solidarity alive in this election period. We mustn’t forget the man, the citizen.”
Five years after Abbé Pierre’s passing, Philippe Torreton, one of the Foundation’s sponsors, read the call that gave birth to the “insurrection of kindness”, an amazing solidarity movement during the winter of 1954.
In front of journalists, staff and volunteers of the Foundation as well as former road companions of the Abbé, Laurent Desmard, his former personal assistant, reminded everyone of the circumstances in which this call was broadcasted on the airwaves of Radio-Luxembourg:
“A child frozen to death in the carcass of a bus, an old woman found lifeless under blankets, her eviction notice in her pocket, the Emmaüs Companions couldn’t take all this misery anymore… following the Call, donations submerged the Rochester hotel and soon the Abbé had to ask the Paris prefecture for premises, he got the Orsay train station. And on this footbridge, not two feet away from the current museum, all of France, back then, rose to fight misery.”