Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Rene Lichtman - August 13, 1998

Mother in Hiding

Which left your mother alone.

Which left my mother alone, completely alone, no, no language skills, no um--fortunately, there were two women, righteous gentiles and um, Madame Gabi and um, her mother, in Paris, who lived above my mother. And they knew my mother. And they liked my mother, uh...

This was, her, her mother's name, Madame, Gabi's mother's name, do you remember?

Yes, no, I don't. I, if it, if it um...

Is it Lilly ?



Madame Lilly, Madame Lilly, yes. Um, and Gabi I remember more clearly, because we went, we actually went to visit her in '57. And she was, she was the, the manager of the Café Lapay, in Paris, which was this big café and she was the, the, you know, she was the whole--the manager. I mean, she ran the place. Um, but um, what happened with my, with my mom is that the Germans--and now, I guess this is starting in 1942, when they were really doing--implementing the Final Solution and, and rounding people up and going door-to-door. So my, my mother received uh, uh, word that they would be coming to her building. We lived in a very nice, six-story building in, in Paris on the third floor. And she was warned that the Germans would be coming. And so these two ladies said to her, "Why don't you come upstairs and stay with us?" something to that effect. They had a room way up on the top, they had space. But when um, so my, my mother, the next day, was actually on the fourth floor with, with them when the Germans came in. And we lived on the third floor. And they broke the door down and they went through the apartment. Now, my mother and father had kind of a business at home, which was very common and they were seam...seamstress and they did clothes, custom-made clothing. This was before uh, automation and everything else. So they had lots of sewing machines in all these rooms and, and people worked for them and they all worked together, kind of thing. And so the Germans went through and destroyed all those sewing machines. And then when they left, they barricaded the door and they put up their sign saying that this apartment is no longer--can no longer be habitated and uh, essentially preventing, you know, my, my mother from returning there. And this was their standard operating procedure, it was nothing personal, you know um, and that. So she spent the last two years with these, these women. And how she did it, how she reimbursed them, paid them, given the fact that she had no, no job--no, I've, I've never, never found out.

Did she pay Anne Lepage?

You know uh, my mother says she did. At one point, my mother was very jealous of um, of my guardian--of my feelings for my guardians, because I loved these people and, and um, missed them a lot when I had to go back, but, so my mother would always make statements like, you know, she said, "You know, I did pay them." But then to me it was always kind of a, a joke, because I, I, how, how, how, how would she pay? They were poor. You know, pay parents had no money. And, and so I have no idea how she would have reimbursed--plus she was in hiding. So...

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