Renee Fiszman is a child survivor of the Shoah from France. Her father joined the French military at the war’s outset, and this would prove to be a crucial decision for the rest of the family; he was taken as a POW early in the war, and would not rejoin the family until 1945. When the July 16 round-ups began in Paris, Renee and her mother and brother were taken out of the line since her father was a soldier; as Renee says, they were minutes away from deportation to Drancy, and Auschwitz itself. Her mother saw events closing in, and she moved to put her children in hiding. Renee and her brother stayed with a family away from her beloved Marais district, and she went through the motions, attending school and church and hoping the family would be together again. Her mother was tragically deported to Auschwitz, where she was murdered, and while her father did return, family life did not resume as it had been. Renee remembered many difficult days coming to grips with loss and her new reality after the war. She did marry, and did find solace there, moving to Canada with her husband Charles in the 1950s.
Renee visited with Crestwood students twice in 2016; first Arielle, Guanghao and Alexander visited her at her home, and she subsequently did an interview in French with Arielle and Daven.
Oral History Project March 9th, 2016
Denise Hans visited Mr. De Franco’s Grade 8 English class last week to share her trials and tribulations during the Holocaust. Though she was only 4 years old at the time, she remembers vividly the day the Nazis knocked on her parents door and took away her father, uncle, aunt and cousin. She was to learn decades later that her father was shot during the Death March to Buchenwald from Auschwitz, while her uncle’s family was gassed upon their arrival to Drancy concentration camp, just outside of Paris.
To read more of her harrowing story, please see Mr. De Franco’s Cloud Grade 8 English site.
In 1942, after the Vichy regime started arresting Jews, the Engels attempted to escape France by going to Switzerland. On the border, they were caught, and shipped to a temporary prison. They would then be shipped to the Rivesaltes interment camp. At this time, the Vichy government had a policy of releasing children. While Julien, 9, and George, 5, would be released, their parents would be shipped to Drancy and then to Auschwitz. Julien and George would never see their parents again. Both brothers eventually made their way to North America, after being rescued.
admin July 9th, 2012