About Dr. Bernard Bernhard Weil
Bernard came from a family of Jewish merchants and several generations of his family had lived in Strasbourg. Although Jewish by race, he was not Jewish by religion. In fact he was against all religion and disliked speaking of his Jewish background.
Bernard Weil was a highly successful medical doctor who was said to be kind, loving, and thoroughly enlightened, but taciturn and easily overwhelmed by his forceful spouse. [He] was far too busy with his medical practice, and let his wife make the major decisions concerning their children's education.
Bernard and Selma Weil lived in a Paris apartment on the Rue de Strasbourg, south of the Gare de l'Est when the children were very young. In 1914 they moved to a larger home on the Boulevard Saint-Michel.
However, 1914 saw the start of World War I and Bernard Weil was drafted. He joined the army medical corps and was sent to the front but the sight of so many casualties and the poor state of the medical services available to the wounded soldiers led to him suffering from exhaustion and depression.
He was sent away from the front to recover his own health. It was during this period that André gave him the birthday present of Simone reading a newspaper to him which we described above.
Bernard was posted to Neufchâtel in the Normandy region of northern France, then to Mayenne in the Loire region of northwest France south of Normandy, next to Laval not far from Mayenne and also on the Mayenne river, and from there to Chartres southwest of Paris. In each if these towns the Weils rented a house so that Selma and the children could be near their father.
After the war ended the family returned to their home on the Boulevard Saint-Michel in Paris in January 1919.