32. Why a World War II Survivor Adopted the Enemy’s Language

Bill Davis

Bill Davis recording for America the Bilingual at his home on the Côte d’Azur.

Listen to Steve’s conversation with octogenarian Bill Davis, whose bilingualism was essential to an unexpected—and rewarding—life after World War II. Bill describes what it was like to hide in the mountains during the Second World War to escape the enemy, all the while loving the language of the enemy. Years later, he had another, very different escape…from a future American president.

So that we don’t give away his story before you listen to the episode, we’re posting the complete episode notes on Steve’s Medium blog; you can read them here.

Listen on iTunes by clicking here: America the Bilingual by Steve Leveen on iTunes. Or on SoundCloud here. Steve comments on Twitter as well.


The America the Bilingual podcast is part of the Lead with Languages campaign of ACTFL—The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

Special thanks from Steve to Sylvette Jouclas, Bill’s wife, for graciously welcoming him into their home this summer.

This episode was written by Mim Harrisonthe editorial and brand director of the America the Bilingual project, and produced by Fernando Hernández, who does the sound design and mixing as well. The associate producer is Beckie Rankin. Graphic arts are created by Carlos Plaza Design Studio. Meet the America the Bilingual team—including our bark-lingual mascot, Chet—here.

Support for the America the Bilingual project comes from the Levenger Foundation.

Music in this episode, “Quasi Motion” by Kevin MacLeod, was used with a Creative Commons Attribution License. Our thanks to Epidemic Sound for helping us make beautiful music together.