Defining moments of my years or research on François Linke were my meetings with his descendants. It was very emotive to walk into the Linke family apartment on the Quai Henri IV in Paris and to find all the rooms almost preserved in aspic by first his daughter Caroline and subsequently his granddaughter Geneviève. So little had changed since Linke was last there in 1946, this meeting and later meetings with disbursed members of Linke’s family allowed me to write the quite intimate account of his family life in my book on Linke (Chapter X, pp. 293-323). I later found his birthplace in what is now the Czech Republic, a small village physically little changed since the Linke family left.

However the most magical moment for me was my first meeting with one of Linke’s two grandsons at his house in Nantes on the far west coast of France. Charming on the telephone, Gaston Pierquet opened the door to me at the appointed hour and I for one second thought that it was François Linke himself so alike they were. We had an instant  rapport and his appreciation of my research was re-enforced when I put Linke’s First Daybook on the desk in front of him, a moment captured on the accompanying photograph. He looked at me and said in an incredulous voice and with tears streaming down his cheeks “Mais – c’est l’écriture de mon grand-papa”.