FRENCH CHILDREN OF THE HOLOCAUST

A memorial
Serge Klarsfeld  

 
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Ida FENSTERSZAB, born November 18, 1929, was arrested in the province of Deux-Sevres. Her mother was deported on convoy 11; Ida was deported on convoy 68 of February 10, 1944. She survived and, as Ida Grynszpan, became an activist devoted to remembrance. Here is Ida's account of her arrest and deportation in the great sweep of the region of Poitiers, on January 28, 1944, despite the opposition of the local population: I was detained at midnight on January 30, 1944, by two French gendarmes in the little village of Jeune Lie, in the Deux-Sevres. I was fourteen years old. My parents had hidden me with a French family beginning in June 1940. The night of my arrest, I was hoping to escape through the door-window of my room, but the woman who was taking care of me told me that the gendarmes had orders to take her husband if they didn't find me. Many neighbors, including a member of the local council, tried to convince the gendarmes not to take me. In vain. So I left with my little bundle and a few provisions in the black Citroen that was supposed to take me to police headquarters in Melle. As we drove off, one of the two gendarmes wiped his forehead and said, "What a terrible job!" But he did it anyway! When we arrived at the gendarmerie, the captain interrogated me at length about my father. He knew all the facts: he knew that my father had not been arrested. I said that I had had no word of him in a long time, which wasn't true – we corresponded regularly (he was later deported from Drancy, on the last convoy of July 31, 1944). He didn't ask me anything about my mother (she had been arrested on July 16, 1942, in the big roundup of the Velodrome d'Hiver and deported forever ten days later). After that I spent two days in a center in Niort along with entire Jewish families who had been arrested. There, my foster mother, who had moved heaven and earth to get me freed, was able to visit me. She had obtained a false baptismal certificate from the village priest, and this timid little peasant woman had had the nerve to present herself at the Kommandantur to explain that she had adopted me, that I was a convert, and that my arrest was a mistake. But the head of the Kommandantur just laughed in her face, and asked her who had arrested me. "Ah, French gendarmes! Well, in that case, there's nothing I can do!" Then on February 3rd, I was sent to Drancy for a week. On February 10th, I was among 1,500 men, women, and children who were loaded
       
   

FRENCH CHILDREN OF THE HOLOCAUST

A memorial
Serge Klarsfeld

 
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