358 Commercial Street

You think repair work on the Bourne Bridge or traffic on Route 6 make it hard to get to Provincetown? Stella, Albert and Helene Edel had to elude the Nazis to get here in March 1941. Albert (1890-1961) was a French artist and art instructor. Stella, a painter, was his wife. Helene was their 11-year-old daughter. Driven from the town of Péronne in northern France by the advance of invading troops in 1940, the Edels fled to Paris. “When they saw that, too, was about to fall into the hands of the Germans, they hurried on to southern France and then into Spain, where they tried to find passage on a vessel that would take them to the United States,” The Advocate recounted. “However, the Spanish refused to let them depart, so they went over into northern Africa, where they found a boat that brought them to the West Indies.” It took them another month to reach Provincetown and 358 Commercial Street, the home of Mrs. Edel’s mother, Ida Benhardina Johnson, where they had spent summers in the 1930s. (“Girl to Describe European Flight,” The Advocate, 3 April 1941.) Johnson died in 1950 and the property came into the couple’s hands. Edel became an American citizen in 1953. He produced some lovely waterfront scenes. (AskArt.)

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