3. Chapter – Background check at the “Gestapo”

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I entered the room and found myself in a well-arranged office. I saw military photos, maps, different tank posters all over the wall. At the table there was sitting a spindle, tall, blond haired, middle-aged guy with a complete library behind him. I was ready for the interview.

As I mentioned in the previous article the office called Gestapo by the candidates (officially DSPLE) after the secret police of Nazi Germany.

My interviewer was a German sergent-chef (SCH) and he started the background check.

He was asking me in German and English which was a bit confusing at the beginning to answer the same questions in two different languages. He passed me on a drug test, asked like 10 times to tell him:

  • How often I take drugs
  • did I ever rub a bank,
  • do I have a credit etc.

He wanted to know everything about me (are you sure, you are not gay?) and about my family…

  • What are they doing,
  • how much money they do and,
  • how old are they,
  • since when are they married.

Everything about my siblings, grand-parents. He asked some questions even of my friends. Normally, if you give them your e-mail address they check your Facebook page and everything they can find on Google of you. If they find something, they are trying to convince you, they got those informations from some special agency.

Once, without any sign, the sergent-chef started shouting on me

that I must tell him what the real reason is I want to join the Legion. Meanwhile, another man entered the room and started to ask questions on my native language.

So one was shouting on me and the other one was interrogating in the same time. Nowadays, I prefer to say that I kept my calm but actually I wasn’t able to say anything else than repeating the same answer I already told them at the beginning.

His next question was a cold shower.

He asked me how my uncle is going. I didn’t say a word of my uncle during the whole time I passed in France. He even knew his rank in the police. I didn’t expect this type of questions.

At the end, the last 30 minutes was already okay. He told me that next week he wants to see me in military uniform. For the first time since I arrived to France, I was a bit more confident.

After the interview I went to eat and heard a story of another guy who passed his interview at the Gestapo in 20 minutes.

He got the same questions like everyone else but gave a never heard answer.

– Why did you come here? – asked the adjutant.
– Because the caporal-chef told me to come over. – said the guy.
He was between the firsts to get in.

We were around 50 left from ~150 at the end of the week. 14 of us went to Castelnaudary.

That day I officially became an Engagé Volontaire.

During the next years of service somebody told me that the 2 happiest days in the French Foreign Legion are the first when you enlist and the last when you leave. It’s a bit extremist pronouncement but actually it’s not too far from the truth.

The next week, after some further medical tests, we finally left by train to Castelnaudary. The 4th Foreign Regiment, the “school” of the French Foreign Legion.

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