Stories of Paris attacks’ victims revisited
They were artists and students, music lovers, parents and newlyweds. The victims of last week’s attacks in Paris had varied backgrounds and interests. Among the 129 killed in the attacks, here are some of their stories:
Veronique Geoffroy de Bourgies, 54, was out to dinner with friends who were visiting from out of town when attackers began shooting at La Belle Equipe, a restaurant near her home that she and her husband had recently discovered.
Her husband, photographer Stephane de Bourgies, who was in China for work when the attack happened, had lost his parents in an accident three decades ago, and he and his wife had spoken to their children about death. They talked about the importance of letting people know you love them because that love can carry you through when something terrible happens.
The pair had adopted their daughter Melissa, 14, and their son, 12, both from Madagascar. Shortly after Melissa’s adoption they decided to do something to help other children from that country off the coast of southeast Africa. They founded Zazakely Sambatry, a humanitarian organization whose name means “happy children” in the Malagasy language, according to the organization’s website.
“She was the one who did everything. I supported her in this project, but she was really the one who threw herself into it,” Stephane de Bourgies told French television station TF1, adding that it was important to his wife to help the children learn and grow up able to support themselves so they would stay and help improve the country.
As soon as he got the call that his wife had been killed, Stephane de Bourgies began the trip home to be with the couple’s children, who were being cared for by the friends who had been with his wife when she died.
“They were doing surprisingly well, almost better than me,” de Bourgies said in the interview with TF1. “I fell apart and it was them who made me feel better.”
Veronique Geoffroy de Bourgies was very funny and had a tremendous energy and strong personality, her husband said.
“If she didn’t like something, she didn’t hesitate to say it,” he told the television station. “But that was a fault that often became a positive trait.”
The couple lived relatively close to the scene of the Charlie Hebdo attack earlier this year, so terrorism wasn’t a foreign notion to them.
“We had talked about it like everyone talks about it,” he said. “We know it happens, but we didn’t imagine it would happen to us.”
Chloe Boissinot, 25, had stopped in at a Paris restaurant with her boyfriend when the terrorists attacked. He survived; she didn’t.
Boissinot came to Paris two years ago to be with him and began working in a pub, according to the “7 in Poitiers” news website. Friends and family poured out their grief on the social media.
“Chloe was full of life and health. I want everyone to remember her that way,” her sister Jenny posted on Facebook. Her mother, Babette, wrote parting thoughts to her departed daughter: “You will stay my little one always. You won’t grow old. You won’t get cancer.”
Others were angry and defiant. One family friend wrote to the attackers: “Terrorist, does my freedom of thought bother you? I’m a woman, French, I wear a skirt, put on high heels, drink wine. Look at me: I think, speak, spit my hatred in your eye. I am diversity. I am tolerance. Look at me: you won’t make me tremble.”
At Chateau-Larcher in western France, where Boissinot went to school, residents observed a moment of silence. Writing in a guestbook, according to the news website Francebleu, one friend called Boissinot “a beautiful flower ripped from the ground by terrorism.”
Romain Dunet’s interest in teaching had taken him around the world. The 28-year-old was an English teacher at a Paris high school when he was killed at the Bataclan, but he had done a stint helping instruct New Zealand students in French in 2013.
He pursued another passion, music, at open-mic nights in Paris bars and cafes, where he was known as Romain Dunay. Mixing covers and his own material, “he was a natural with creating vocal harmonies, and the effect was always stirring,” a friend from that scene, Riyad Sanford, told The Associated Press. A video that friends put together features him playing uptempo, acoustic pop-rock on guitar and singing about living in a virtual world.
Fellow musicians enjoyed his easygoing, fun-loving attitude as well as his music, Sanford said.
“He had a fabulous sense of humor,” he said. “Extremely approachable, he made many friends very quickly.”
During his time in Dunedin, New Zealand, Dunet “formed an incredibly positive relationship” with students, Judith Forbes, the principal of one of the several schools where he was an assistant teacher, told the Otago Daily Times.
A former student, Sashika Hendry, agreed.
“He just really wanted to help everyone,” she told the newspaper, and make French fun, as well.”
Maud Serrault, 37, of Paris, had just begun married life when she died in the attack on the Bataclan concert hall. Days later, her Facebook site still showed her strolling down a wooded path at a hotel in Germany with her groom in a tuxedo for their June wedding.
She wore a rainbow-colored tiara and clutched a bouquet. In the other hand, she was holding the train of her wedding gown, covered casually by a denim jacket. Serrault and her husband were together at the concert at the time of the attack, but he managed to flee, according to the hotel trade website Hospitality ON. Serrault was director of marketing and e-commerce for Best Western France.
A native of Paris, she studied marketing and communications at CELSA Paris-Sorbonne.
Alban Denuit, 32, born in Marmande, France, artist, who was attending the concert at Bataclan hall. He taught and showed his work in the city of Bordeaux, according to the Sud Ouest news site. The Eponyme Gallery in Bordeaux, which promoted Denuit’s work, issued a statement speaking of its “deep sadness” over the death of this emerging young artist.
Gregory Fosse, 28, of Paris, who worked for the D17 television station as a music programmer, died at the Bataclan concert hall doing what he loved best: listening to music. Terry Jee, of Paris, a singer and friend, said Fosse embraced music of many styles. He had given considerable play time to Jee’s song, “Peace and Love,” which is a call for goodwill and tolerance, and that’s how the two men became friends.
“He wanted people to hear this message of peace,” Jee told The Associated Press. “He wore his heart on his sleeve and was always ready to help others.” Fighting through tears, Jee added, “Now I see that life is unfair.”
Fosse had worked in recent years for the TV station in Boulogne, on the outskirts of Paris. The station put out a statement saying, “We all knew his kindness, his special smile, and his passion for music,” according to the Liberation newspaper. Mayor Régis Bizeau in Gambais, where Fosse grew up, said the community was “deeply shaken,” according to the “toutes les nouvelles” news website.
Jee said he has now dedicated “Peace and Love”—called “Vive la Paix” in its French version—to his friend.
On a night off from running their family’s well-known restaurant, Pierro Innocenti and Stéphane Albertini went to the Bataclan to enjoy the rock music they both loved. Innocenti’s last Facebook post was a photo of the marquee advertising the Eagles of Death Metal show, with a caption Innocenti added: “Rock!”
The cousins were killed as they stood at the bar when the attackers entered, Innocenti’s father, Alfio, told The New York Times.
Innocenti and Albertini, as well as Innocenti’s brother, Charles, ran Livio, the family’s five-decade-old eatery known for attracting a star-studded clientele to its spot in a Paris suburb. Innocenti’s relatives also included French comedian and actor Smaïn, who said on his Facebook page he was “alive in body but bruised in my heart” on hearing of his death.
Pierro (also called Pierre) Innocenti, 40, told Le Parisien last year that he, his brother and Albertini had spent so much time at Livio as children that they were “almost born here.”
While the Innocenti brothers joined the family business early, Albertini joined it later, in 2003. A married father of a young son, he became known for giving a warm “good evening” to every patron, France’s Le Figaro newspaper said.
Outside work, Innocenti was a skydiver, a skier and a surfer who traveled the world seeking challenging waves, surfing pal Laurent Hubert told The Associated Press.
“He was really crazy about big waves and strong surf,” said Hubert, who got to know Innocenti as part of a group of surfers who frequent Biarritz, on France’s Basque coast. “He was in love with everything extreme.”
When he heard about Innocenti’s death, Hubert called around to friend after friend, unable quite to believe the news.
“This guy was super-alive,” he said, “and such a nice person.”
Among the audience at the Bataclan, Anne and Pierre-Yves Guyomard were particularly steeped in music. He was a well-known sound engineer who taught his craft at a technical institute, and she was a former student.
“He was a kind human, super-competent, extremely funny and fun-loving,” singer Leslie Winer told The Associated Press by email. “Peerless” in both the studio and live settings, Pierre-Yves Guyomard, 43, worked with artists including Winer and the French rock band Tanger, said guitarist Christophe Van Huffel, a former Tanger member and a collaborator of Winer’s.
Anne Cornet Guyomard, 29, had been one of her husband’s students before changing careers to pediatric nursing, Van Huffel said in a bio provided to AP. She worked at a child care center near Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the Paris suburb where they lived and were married in May 2013 by Mayor Emmanuel Lamy, according to the French newspaper Le Parisien. He recalled a couple “full of life and hope.”
The two had lived for a time on the Indian Ocean island of Réunion, where Anne Guyomard’s relatives told news outlet L’Info they had spent an agonizing day and a half wondering about the couple’s fate, calling unanswered phones, and appealing for word of the two via Facebook before being told they had been killed.
Anne was “the daughter I would wish on all parents—one who’s attentive, one who’s full of life,” and she loved children and people in general, brother-in-law Chris Hamer told L’Info.
The last time Winer spoke to Pierre-Yves Guyomard, she said, “he told me they were hoping to have children sometime soon.”
Romain Didier and Lamia Mondeguer were out near Didier’s Paris home when they found themselves on the street where assailants were attacking the La Belle Equipe bar, according to news reports. The couple would be among 19 people killed there.
Didier, 32, had come to Paris from the wine-making community of Sancerre, where residents and the mayor gathered Monday for a moment of silence in his honor, according to local news outlet Le Berry Republicain. In the capital, he studied drama and managed the Little Temple Bar for several years with a big smile, “great energy, great kindness, great jokes, great joy and a warm welcome,” according to a tribute on its Facebook page.
Some of his free time was spent playing with Crocodiles Rugby, and the team said his “joie de vivre was unequalled” in a post on its Facebook page.
“You knew what the words ‘courage’ and ‘unity’ meant,” the team wrote.
Mondeguer worked for a talent agency. She had made films, including one that interviewed visitors at an environmentally-themed 2009 exhibit that aimed to get at the similarities and differences of people around the world, the Goodplanet foundation wrote on its website.
Mondeguer “was ebullient, lively and funny,” the organization said. “She was the incarnation of youth.”
Manuel Colaco Dias, a 63-year-old Portuguese man who has lived in France for more than 40 years, was the only person who was killed near the Stade de France, where three attackers blew themselves up outside the stadium. Dias was a driver with the French company Regnault Autocars, according to the French newspaper Le Parisien.
His daughter, Sophie Colaco Dias, told The Associated Press that he traveled from his hometown Reims, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) away from Paris, with three clients attending the game.
“After dropping them off, he gave a call to my mother and told her he preferred to stay outside instead of buying a ticket for the match so he could speak with her on the phone,” she recalled. “But my mum was already speaking with me on another line. She told my father that she would call him back. After that, she constantly reached his voicemail.”
Marion Lieffrig-Petard, 30, loved to study music, explore other cultures and spend time with her 24-year-old sister Anna. They died together at a Paris restaurant during the terrorist attacks.
Marion was a student at Paris-Sorbonne University studying for a master’s degree in music. But her wanderlust had taken her to studies in Barcelona, Spain. She hoped to do the second year of her degree in Palermo, Italy, according to a Paris-Sorbonne news release.
Quentin Boulenger, who led marketing projects at the French cosmetics company L’Oreal Paris, was killed at the Bataclan theater.
Boulenger, 29, was raised in the French city of Reims and had lived in Paris for the past few years working at L’Oreal. The cosmetics company confirmed his death to The Associated Press.
Boulenger graduated from the Audencia Nantes School of Management in 2010. The school eulogized Boulenger via Twitter.
Suzon Garrigues, 21, loved rock music and the socially conscious works of 19th-century French novelist Emile Zola.
Garrigues died in the attack at the Bataclan theater, where she was attending a rock concert. She went to the concert with her brother, who was pushed to safety by the stampeding crowd, according to Le Parisien newspaper’s website.
In a news release, Paris-Sorbonne University President Barthelemy Jobert remembered Garrigues, who was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in literature there, as generous, funny, and a deep admirer of Zola’s works. Her father is a dermatologist in the Paris suburb of Maisons-Lafitte, where Deputy Mayor Jacques Myard said Garrigues’ “cowardly murder at Bataclan was the work of the dregs of humanity,” Le Parisien reported.
Marie Lausch and Mathias Dymarski loved music and going to concerts and had gone with another couple to see Eagles of Death Metal play at the Bataclan music venue.
“Both of them had tremendous energy and an enthusiasm for life,” said a statement from a group of their close friends provided by friend Pierre Charton.
The pair, both 23, had been together for five years and had just moved in together in Paris two months ago, the statement says. Lausch was in her final year of business school and was doing an internship in the cosmetics industry in Paris. Dymarski, a civil engineer, had just gotten a job in the Paris region.
Lausch was passionate about fashion and dance, while Dymarski was a high-level BMX bike rider. They also enjoyed traveling, going out with their friends and sneaking off for a romantic weekend just the two of them, their friends said.
Ciprian Calciu, 32, and Lacramioara Pop, 29, were among the millions of Romanians who have migrated West in recent years in search of better-paid jobs. The dream of a better life took them separately to Paris, where they met, became a couple and had a son, Kevin, now 18 months old.
They died at the Belle Equipe restaurant where they were celebrating a friend’s birthday, said Calciu’s cousin, Ancuta Iuliana Calciu.
“They weren’t even sure what restaurant to go to. There was another one about 250 meters (yards) away they wanted to go to,” she added.
Calciu repaired elevators and Pop, who had an 11-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, worked in a bar.
“I’m so glad they didn’t take their son that night,” Calciu’s cousin said Tuesday.
Flowers and candles appeared at the gate of Pop’s family home in the small village of Coas in far northwestern Romania, while in Tulcea, an eastern port at the end of the 2,860-kilometer (1,780-mile) River Danube, there was a memorial service on Monday at the church where Kevin had been baptized.
Raphael Hilz, a 28-year-old architect originally from the southern German town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, was one of two German victims of the attacks, killed at a restaurant near his office.
Hilz had been working for six months in Paris in the international firm of architect Renzo Piano, his uncle told the Suedtirol News.
The firm told The Associated Press that they were “very sad to confirm that one of our colleagues of German nationality” died in the Friday attacks.
They said two other colleagues, from Mexico and Ireland, were injured but were now doing well.
Nicolas Classeau, the popular director of the University of Marne-la-Vallee outside Paris, was mourned on the school’s Facebook page.
“Full of wisdom and kindness,” the page said in announcing his death the day after the attacks. “Invested in his work, dedicated to help students beginning with personalized assistance,” the page said, adding how Classeau was always able to help students to solve complicated academic problems and situations.
“Words fail to describe the sadness we currently experiencing … A thought for all the dead of this barbarism and their families,” the site said. The university also offered psychological assistance to anyone in need.
Classeau, 43, was the father of three children under the age of 16, according to Le Parisien newspaper.
He was a lover of rock music and played guitar in a band during high school, the newspaper said. He was attending the Bataclan when he was killed. His companion was wounded and is hospitalized in Paris.
Nick Alexander, 36, of Colchester, England, was working at the Bataclan concert hall selling merchandise for the performing band, Eagles of Death Metal. “Nick was not just our brother, son and uncle, he was everyone’s best friend—generous, funny and fiercely loyal,” his family said in a statement. “Nick died doing the job he loved and we take great comfort in knowing how much he was cherished by his friends around the world.”
Hannover-born art critic Fabian Stech was among the victims killed at the Bataclan club. The 51-year-old, who had been living in France since 1994, taught in Dijon at a private art school and worked for the German art magazine Kunstforum International, the magazine said in a condolence notice on its website.
He leaves behind a wife and two children, the magazine said.
“That Fabian had to die such a horrible and unnecessary death makes our pain and grief unbearable,” his family in Germany said in a statement published in the Hannoverische Allgemeine newspaper. “Together with his children and his wife, we miss Fabian. He was a great person.”
2 dead, 7 arrested in Paris raid
Video confirms ninth assailant in Paris—police sources
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.