Here is an interview that Rina Ketty gave in the newspaper " Le Petit Niçois " a few days before the beginning of the WWII, August 27th, 1939. She was in concert in Nice when war burst.
" FROM MONTMARTRE TO THE FRENCH RIVIERA WITH RINA KETTY.
-Si, si, si, sérénade sans espoir.
-It is she?
And Mr.Thillet-Tréval, kind artistic director of the Casino of the Pier knocks in the lodge of the star. Rina appeared in toilet of evening of pink silk of spangles. His big black feminine eyes lit her face of child adorned with long brown curls.
-What do you want me to say? gracious artist asked. Said that I am happy to sing in Nice and that I have another very particular disease as the French riviera.
-It is a gratifying compliment for our region there, but speak to us rather of you. You are originally of... of...
-... from the Island of Beauty, i.e. I am born in Corsica, but of Italian parents [while she was born in Turin].
Rina Ketty rolls R with tasty one southern accent.
-I made my debut in Paris, she says to us. I sang from time to others, in amateur, in holidays of quarters. Later I made some "hooks" in Montmartre, up here on the Mound. There, I could make me know and I succeeded in having a commitment as the " Agile Rabbit ". The company of the montmartrois cabaret singers helped me to follow my artistic life. During 2 following years, I sang to the " Agile Rabbit ".
The face of Rina Ketty lights up with a broad smile and she follows:
-Afterwards I made my turn of singing in music hall and I had numerous commitments as the radio and also to record discs.
-The foreign stages ever haven't attracted you?
-Yes, I have already had opportunity to go to make tours in Belgium and in Switzerland.
-And the cinema?
-Ah! I have not shot film yet, but I am in talks.
-Shh! Impossible, there is nothing certain still.
-And your discs?
-This you can speak about it. I am soon going to record 4 novelties...
-Which will be 4 successes...
-I wish it. I am going to create first of all a Spanish waltz which pleases me very much: " Rendez-moi mon coeur ", of Misraky and Vendair. Then, I shall record a slow dance: " Chercher l'oubli ", of Michel Emmer and Chanty, then a tango: " Nuits sans toi " of Marbot and Chanty, and finally, a waltz musette, " Fermons notre porte ", of Réville and Vandair.
Rina Ketty put a last bite of powder on the small pointed nose when they vigorously knocked:
-It belongs to you Madam.
Some minutes afterwards, we heard the cool voice of this young woman who was blessed star of singing and radio. The public applauds unconditionally. It is true that the repeat customers of the Casino of the Pier are spoiled for some time. After Jean Tranchant, after Max Trèber and his sumptuous magazine, after Elyane Célis, here is now Rina Ketty and a pléïade of artists such as the famous actor Samson Fainsilber, imitating surprisingly the big stars of today. Also, Mr Thillet-Tréval, the clever manager of the Casino of the Pier records every evening a success of the most gratifying.
When Rina Ketty comes back from the stage, well that bravos still reminded of her, she came towards us by laughing willingly and entrusted us:
- I am very happy, Maurice Chevalier was in the room and he applauded a lot me."
Some days later, war bursts. Considering her Italian origin, she carefully makes forget during the conflict, occurring only in Switzerland.
La "Drôle de Guerre"
The Phoney War, also called the Twilight War by Winston Churchill and Sitzkrieg by Germany (German for "sitting war"), was a phase in early World War II from September 1939 until May 1940 marked by few military operations in Continental Europe, in the months following the German invasion of Poland and preceding the Battle of France. The great powers of Europe had declared war on one another, yet neither side had committed to launching a significant attack, and there was relatively little fighting on the ground.
While most of the German army was fighting against Poland, a much smaller German force manned the Siegfried Line, their fortified defensive line along the French border. At the Maginot Line on the other side of the border, British and French troops stood facing them, but there were only some local, minor skirmishes. The British Royal Air Force dropped propaganda leaflets on Germany and the first Canadian troops stepped ashore in Britain, while western Europe was in a strange calm for seven months. On the coverages of the magazine " Le Miroir ", you can see the inactive French soldiers inside the Line Maginot during the hard winter 1939-1940. On the last coverage, called " Les premières pâquerettes de Lorraine " and dated of mid-April 1940, they can see a French soldier picking daisies, while the country is officially in full war! The Germans will break from May 10th, 1940, having invaded Poland.