When Arlette's brother, Lucien, moved away from home, he moved to Alsace in northwestern France. When war broke out and German troops occupied France in 1940, Alsace was annexed by Germany and thus part of Germany. Therefore, Arlette's father was somewhat worried about his son when he was at risk of going into German military service. But Germany's annexation of Alsace also had an impact on the University of Clermont Ferrand, where Arlette was admitted in the summer of 1942.     

Lucien did not enter German military service, instead he became involved in the French resistance movement. Many of the students at Clermont Ferrand University did the same. When Alsace was incorporated into the German Empire, many students and lecturers from the University of Strasbourg traveled and continued their student life in Clermont Ferrand. Arlette had been admitted to the university's new English field of study. In the autumn of 1942, the Germans occupied all of France, and now the Nazis gained extra focus on the university.