An Opportunity to be Better - Biographies

Henri Torlotting

Jean "Henri" Torlotting was the third child of a family of four boys born to parents Jean Pierre Torlotting and Catherine (Cezard) Torlotting. Originally the name Torlotting was spelled with one T, but following an incorrect entry by the town hall when Marcel was born in 1912, Torlotting was spelled with two Ts.

The first child, Nicolas Marius Torlotting, was born in 1908 while the family lived in the Metz suburb of Sablon. He died young during his military service.

The second child was Jean Guillaume Marcel Torlotting, also born in Sablon in 1912. He would be the father of Gérard and Gerard's two siblings, but would die as a man of about 40 years.

Henri was born on May 24, 1916. His birth registration was in Metz, but whether this reflected a change in residence or just a change in political divisions within the city is unclear.

The last child, René Torlotting, was born in 1924. At the age of 18, he was drafted into the German army for three years.

Just when Henri met Mathilde Felix is uncertain, but they were apparently married during the war. In January 1945, he was teaching at a school for boys in Plappeville, a village about 5 miles directly south of Fèves.

The couple moved to Fèves sometime before mid-summer 1948 as Henri mentioned he had been the one who had documented the damage inflicted on the village during the war.

The Torlotting family. Mother Catherine (Cezard)
Torlotting and father Jean Pierre Torlotting at
the rear with (l-r) René, Marcel and Henri in front.
The photo was probably taken about 1927.

In small villages, the local school teacher was frequently greatly respected as he was often the only formally educated person in town. But that respect didn't guarantee a very prosperous living situation.

In Fèves, the building Henri and Mathilde lived in was not only their home, but the lower portion was also the classroom. In addition, one upper room also served as the town hall! They later moved into a staff apartment above the new Town Hall, next to the school where he taught. In 1966 they moved into the house they had built in Fèves.

But there was considerable space behind this multi-purpose building and Henri put it to good use raising chickens and tending a garden with vegetables and flowers.

Henri's and Mathilde's garden

Henri died on November 16, 1988 and Mathilde passed on September 29, 1993. Both died in Fèves and were buried in the Cimetière du Sablon on the south side of Metz. No children were born to the couple.