One by One, D-Day Memories Fade as War’s Witnesses Die

In this photo taken on Thursday May 8, 2014, Bernard Dargols poses during an interview with the Associated Press at his home in La Garenne-Colombes, outside Paris. Dargols waded onto Omaha Beach in June 1944 as an American soldier to help liberate France from Nazis who persecuted his Jewish family. At 98, Dargols died last week. An ever-smaller number of D-Day veterans will take part in June 6, 2019 ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of history's largest amphibian invasion. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)

PARIS — A Jewish French-American World War II veteran, Bernard Dargols, lived almost long enough to join the celebrations next month marking 75 years since the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

Dargols waded onto Omaha Beach in June 1944 as an American soldier to help liberate France from the Nazis, who persecuted his Jewish family.

At 98, Dargols died last week. He was laid to rest Thursday at France’s most famous cemetery, Pere Lachaise.

FILE – In this June 30, 2007 file photo, French-born GI Bernard Dargols, 87, left, who landed with the US troops on Omaha Beach on June 8, 1945, Raymond Mouquet, 68, second left, the mayor of the nearby town of Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer and American WW II veteran Arnold Franco, 83, from New York, third left, take part to a ceremony at the American cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy. Dargols waded onto Omaha Beach in June 1944 as an American soldier to help liberate France from Nazis who persecuted his Jewish family. At 98, Dargols died last week. An ever-smaller number of D-Day veterans will take part in June 6, 2019 ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of history’s largest amphibian invasion. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

An ever-smaller number of D-Day veterans will take part in June 6 ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of history’s largest amphibian invasion.

Of the 160,000 Allied forces who came ashore that day, few are still living. Historians stress the importance of keeping their memoires alive.

Dargols warned in his memoir against allowing extremism to flourish: “It could start again. We must be vigilant.”