Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Sam’s house stands next to the old port of Marseille City, where the ship L’Amiral Latouche-Tréville docked on July 6, 1911, transporting young Vietnamese patriot Nguyen Tat Thanh (later Ho Chi Minh). Thanh boarded the ship as a kitchen boy under the name Van Ba, making his way to Europe to seek methods for national salvation and to save his fellow countrymen from colonial slavery.
Sam recalled June 1946 when her late husband, Nguyen Van Tien, was chosen to come to the Biarritz coastal town to welcome President Ho Chi Minh and a delegation from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on their official visit to France at the invitation of the French Government, due to Tien’s active participation and contributions to the Overseas Vietnamese community in Marseille.
Tien, who was late General Secretary of the Businessmen Association under the Association of Vietnamese People in France, was honoured to meet and take a photo with President Ho. During his meeting with the Overseas Vietnamese community in Marseille, Uncle Ho called on them to promote solidarity and support for the fatherland and the Vietnamese Government while maintaining friendship with the French people.
This was an unforgettable memory for Tien and he recalled it to his descendants and Vietnamese people in Marseille with a lot of pride.
In 2008, Sam presented a photo of President Ho Chi Minh and a Vietnamese delegation during their visit to Biarritz on June 17, 1945, and a bronze plate portraying President Ho, which had been preserved by her late husband for more than six decades, to the Presidential Palace in Hanoi.
Sam said that shortly after she arrived in France in 1958, she participated in patriotic movements launched by Vietnamese people in Marseille to call on expats to give support to the fatherland.
When the US started its bombing campaign against Vietnam’s northern region, she actively joined other members of the Association of Vietnamese People in France’s branch in Marseille to call on expats, the French people, and the French Women’s Association to raise their voice against the US and demonstrate their support for Vietnam.
In 1963, Sam and her husband opened the ‘Hanoi’ restaurant near the port, which then became a meeting venue and a host place of many Vietnamese delegations to Marseille.
A small corner was set up at Sam’s house to pay tribute to President Ho, with a mother-of-pearl portrait of the national great leader hung on the wall. Sam said that in 1973 when she returned to Vietnam, she had sought to find a portrait of President Ho Chi Minh.
She found an old man with a very beautiful mother-of-pearl portrait of Uncle Ho when she came across a house near Hoan Kiem lake in Hanoi. She asked to purchase the portrait, but the old man said it was not for sale. After much entreating, she showed her genuine admiration to President Ho Chi Minh and the old man decided to gift her the portrait for free. Sam was overwhelmed with happiness and appreciation and the portrait has been preserved by Sam with her whole heart since then.
With her enthusiastic contributions to the community and the country, Sam and her husband were presented the Resistance Order, first class, and the Labour Order, first class. Despite her old age, she still maintains her active role in charity activities launched by the Overseas Vietnamese community in France.
In 2019, Overseas Vietnamese in France celebrated the 100th anniversary of their patriotic movement. On June 18, 1919, on behalf of the Group of Annamite Patriots, young patriot Nguyen Ai Quoc sent a document with eight requests to the Versailles Conference. This event marked the start of the OVs movement in France which later resulted in the formation of patriotic organisations of Vietnamese in France, including the Association of Vietnamese People in France.
Overseas Vietnamese in France have gathered together to build an active and creative community where Vietnamese cultural identity has been preserved and promoted. Everyone in the community always turn their hearts to the motherland and have made positive contributions to the national construction and defence.