Born in Paris, France in 1937, Rene is the only son of Polish immigrants who arrived in France in the 1930s. Rene's father joined the French Army shortly before the outbreak of World War Two. After the German invasion of the Benelux countries in May 1940, his father was killed in action just outside of Paris in Compiégne. After the fall of France, Rene's mother sent to him to stay with a family in the countryside and it was there that he was kept hidden from the Germans for the remainder of the war and his mother went into hiding in Paris in 1942. Although Rene and his mother survived the war, most of his maternal and paternal family members in Poland were murdered by the Germans. In 1950, Rene's mother married an American Orthodox Jew and the two moved from France to Williamsburg, New York. An audio interview from 1992 is also available: OCLC# 45257583.
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