A Hidden French Child of the Holocaust revisits her rescuers.
By Ruth K. Hartz
French President Francois Hollande gave a very moving speech in Paris on July 22, 2012 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the first round up of Jews in 1942 at the Vel d’Hiv, a bicycle stadium in Paris. On July 16, 1942 early in the morning 13,152 men, women and children were arrested by French Police in their homes, taken to the stadium from where they were taken to internment camps near Paris and deported to Auschwitz Birkenau where they were murdered solely for being Jewish. I would have been one of those children.
At that time I was just five years old and found myself with my parents in the village of Arthes near Albi in Southern France under the Vichy collaborationist government of Philippe Petain and his Prime Minister Pierre Laval. We were helped by two local families in the village who took extraordinary risks in protecting us. Towards the end of the war I was sent to a convent where the Mother Superior hid about 10 Jewish children. My memoir “Your Name Is Renee”, written in the voice of the child that I was then details my story during that time.