Elisabeth Helfer Aubrac, a goddaughter of President Ho Chi Minh in France

(VOVworld) – “President Ho Chi Minh is great from his simple and humanitarian acts. I remember him every single day in my life”. These were moving words by Elisabeth Helfer Aubrac, who President Ho Chi Minh adopted as a goddaughter in France.
Elisabeth Helfer Aubrac, a goddaughter of President Ho Chi Minh in France - ảnh 1
President Ho Chi Minh holds Babette, the eldest daughter of Raymond Aubrac (1946).
The small apartment in district 9 in Paris of Elisabeth Helfer Aubrac and her husband is full of objects from Vietnam. Elisabeth was born in 1946 when President Ho Chi Minh was in France to attend the Fontainebleau conference. It was the close relation between her father Raymond Aubrac, a French revolutionist, and President Ho Chi Minh that created an attachment between her and her godfather Ho Chi Minh. 
Elisabeth recalled: “I read a book written by my father and listened to his stories about President Ho Chi Minh. In 1946, while being in France for the Fontainebleau conference, President Ho Chi Minh met my father, a former member of the French Parliament. My father invited Ho Chi Minh to stay in his house from August to September, 1946. I was born on August 15 that year and was named Elisabeth. Ho Chi Minh visited my mother and I at Port-Royal hospital and agreed to be my godfather. He often called me with an intimate name Babette”.  

President Ho Chi Minh often sent letters and gifts to his goddaughter on her birthdays. Elizabeth still kept those gifts as solemn objects. When Elisabeth was small, she often sent pictures and letters to her godfather. Despite the fierce war, he always responded with letters, photos and sometimes sent his regards to the Aubracs through his friends.
Elisabeth said a special gift that President Ho Chi Minh gave her was a piece of silk to make a wedding dress when she got married. Elisabeth said: “President Ho Chi Minh is great from simple things. Unlike the style of a leader, a politician, or a diplomat, President Ho Chi Minh was very close to all people such as workers or farmers. I remember him every day and have a feeling of close relations with my godfather's home country and people there. My father and I visited Vietnam several times. My husband and I are teachers. Luckily, we have opportunity to teach at the French-Vietnam Center on management in Hanoi twice a year”.

Elisabeth Helfer Aubrac, a goddaughter of President Ho Chi Minh in France - ảnh 2
President Ho Chi Minh and family of Raymond Aubrac in Soissy-sous-Monmorency, France (Photo: thethaovanhoa.vn)

Elisabeth proudly talked about her father Raymond Aubrac, who always stood together with Vietnamese people in the struggles against French colonialists and American imperialists. He made great contributions to Vietnam’s renewal process and helped foster friendship between Vietnam and France. Raymond Aubrac passed away in 2012. He was bestowed with the Ho Chi Minh Order by former President Truong Tan Sang for his great contribution.

Time passed by, 70-year-old Elisabeth Helfer Aubrac still remembers and is proud of her godfather, the great leader of Vietnamese people.


Hubert Broux

Great article and for me beautiful memories of Babette in Grenoble. Would love getting back in touch. Please kindly forward this... More