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Her Name Shall Remain Unforgotten
A child in the heart of the genocide

by Marion Deichmann ©2017, Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-941501-26-9, 176 pp
 

Marion Deichmann was born in Germany shortly before Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor on January 30, 1933. Her family was middle-class German Jewish who could not imagine that all of Continental Europe would capitulate and be occupied by the Nazis.

 

The family roots are mixed Jewish and Protestant and go back to medieval times in Germany.

 

This book is dedicated to Alice Deichmann, Marion’s mother who was murdered in Auschwitz. It tells the story of how Marion survived thanks to courageous French families who risked their lives to save Marion from concentration camps.

I - Introduction ............................................................................. 7

II - Prologue ................................................................................... 9

Becoming a citizen of the world ...................................................... 9

III - Family history: the Aron genealogy .................................... 13

IV - Early childhood in Germany (1932 -1934) ....................... 21

Visits with my grandparents in Saarbrücken (1934 – 1938) ...... 21

V - Luxembourg (1934 -1940) ................................................... 27

VI - France, September 1940 ....................................................... 39

VII - Paris from 1940 to July 1942 ............................................... 41

Arrival (1940 – 1941) ...................................................................... 41

Paris, race laws and restrictions (1941 and early 1942) .............. 50

1942 (January to July): a black year ............................................... 53

The noose tightens for the Jews .................................................... 54

The Final Solution ........................................................................... 56

Preparation for the mass arrests of 16 and 17 July 1942 ........... 56

VIII - The Arrests, the « Rafle du Vel d’Hiv » Thursday 16 July

1942 ......................................................................................... 59

IX - Drancy .................................................................................... 61

My mother’s fate .............................................................................. 61

X - Auschwitz ............................................................................... 65

XI - Wandering .............................................................................. 67

XII - Normandy, February or March 1943 to December 1944

............................................................................................... 105

Exodus to the farm (June – August 1944) ................................. 111

XIII - Paris (1945 – 1947) ............................................................. 119

XIV - Sailing to New York… and back to France (September

1947 - December 1953) ...................................................... 135

XV - My life in America ............................................................... 149

XVI - Reunion with my father ..................................................... 151

XVII - Epilogue ............................................................................... 157

XVIII -Addenda ............................................................................... 161

1. The “Righteous of the Nations” title given to the Parignys.

.......................................................................................................... 161

2. A “Stolperstein” for my mother in 2016 ............................... 162

3. Montréal, Canada with Hélène 2016-17 ................................. 163

XIX - Annexes ................................................................................ 165

1. History of the Jews of the Sarre region (Saarland) - ............ 165

2. The thirteen Bocks: the identity and fate of the children of a

Judeo-Protestant couple ............................................................... 167

3. Comparative history .................................................................. 170

XX - Bibliography ......................................................................... 175

I - Introduction To my children, to my grandchildren

The time has come when I am able to tell my story. A time when I can tell you about my mother. It has been so long since she left… It was in 1942, during the Second World War, the years when our planet was fire and blood. I would like to convey to you an intangible world, a world that no longer exists, a world destroyed by the war.

 

I’ve chosen to tell my story in French, the language of reason, and my age of reason, of coming of age! German, my mother tongue, was then the language of hate, the language in which one shouts and kills, in which German Jews were hounded. And yet I spoke only German to my mother, except in public places in France, when we couldn’t betray our origins, when we had to hide our identities. Then we spoke in recently acquired French. I called my mother “mutti” or “mama”, depending on the occasion or the context. These two languages merge in my memory.

 

Impressed onto the depths of my soul still remain the image of her face, the way she moved, the colors of her clothes.

 

She was at the same time my mother, father, country, anchor. Then one summer day it was all swept away and it was in quite another world that I was to grow up.

 

In front of my eyes, the eyes of a child, she was taken away from me one morning. Then there was a train, a convoy that left from Drancy, then the Auschwitz concentration camp, and then, and then, and then…A gas chamber, blazes and a pile of ashes mixed with piles of other ashes. Her, and not me. Why? 8 An abyss that separates me from my mother, created by the evils of “humanity”. A bottomless abyss across which, one day at a time, I had to build a bridge to live. Without really knowing why. A solitude inhabited by my mother.

 

Memory is what remains, but it is the feelings experienced that give the keys to the apprenticeship of becoming a person.

 

Research into my mother’s death was only possible sixty years after the facts. Only recently did I dare to write to Auschwitz to request a death certificate. The reply I received from Poland was like a second death: upon arrival at the camp my mother was neither registered nor tattooed. She was sent directly to the gas chamber where she choked to death by gas and then was engulfed in flames. In the eyes of the demons of industrialized murder she no longer deserved to live. I will perhaps never stop mourning my mother’s death. This is her resting place.f

It is difficult to tell whether Marion is German, Luxembourgish, French, American or Swiss. Due to the war and her families numerous forced relocations, she has adopted parts of all of these nationalities.

 

She has degrees in psycholinguistics and psychotherapy from the University of California, and from universities in France and Switzerland. Marion has worked for over two decades at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland. Now she is an avid gardener and has taken the time to write her story.

Her Name Shall Remain Unforgotten

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Marion, 13 years old
Paris 1946

 

 

 

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