My father was part of the French Underground, and was hiding and fighting the Germans. When I was 11 years old around early 1942, the Germans were advancing through France and we learned that the French Police (Gendarmes) were taking all-male, non-French citizens from their homes. Since we were still Polish citizens, my father and I had to go into hiding.
Mr. Tonnere hid me in a wine barrel and drove me to a village called Glenic where the Bugeaud family hid me for a few months. They were one of five families that helped me to hide. At their home, I hid in a very small attic, too small to stand up in! When the Germans would come to drink at their inn, I would hide in an abandoned well. It was very scary, with snakes and all kinds of bugs. I would hide, sometimes for hours, with my feet in the bucket, and my hands wrapped around the rope.
I only had one opportunity to see my family during the war, while I was in hiding with the Glomot family. Mr. Glomot, who was the mayor of his village, had obtained false papers, indicating that we were Christians from Alsace. We were the Sefe family, from a town that had been destroyed. My mother took my sister and me on a train to go see our father. When we got off the train, there were German soldiers there checking everyone’s papers.
As we got close to the desk, everyone turned to look because there was terrible screaming! I realized that it was my little sister. My mother explained, in flawless German, that her daughter was very sick and needed medicine. The soldiers let us pass. Afterwards, my mother told me that she had been pinching my sister to make her cry.
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