My parents came to Paris from Poland in the 1930’s. I was 2 ½ years old when the war broke out. I stayed in a small private house, or “day care” that was run by a French woman, Anne Lepage, outside of Paris in the small town of Le Vert-Galant. When the war broke out, Mrs. Lepage and her husband offered to hide me. Mrs. Lepage was very protective of me, to try to ensure that I would not be discovered as a Jewish child. She shielded me not to go outside and to stay away from her neighbors.
My mother visited me periodically during the first part of the war. In 1942, however, my mother went into hiding herself with neighbors in her apartment building in Paris. Mrs. Lepage thought my mother had died and had me baptized. When the war ended, I was 6 ½ years old. My mother survived and came for me. It was a difficult transition leaving my “French mother” to return to my Jewish birth mother.
In 1945, I began school in Paris and slowly learned what it meant to be Jewish. I also continued my relationship with my French family.
In 1950, my mother came to the US and remarried. I moved to the USA in 1950, at age 13, where I became “an American kid.” I would visit my “French mother” periodically. Eventually, both of my Christian Rescuers passed away. I have visited their graves to pay my respects. I have found some degree of closure.
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