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French Resistance

The fear when somebody knocked at the door. We thought they'd come to arrest you. The Resistance was very active in Nice. The Jewish Resistance was very close to the Resistance. I was 15 & I was asked. In France up to the age of 14 you did not have identity papers. I was 15 but could say I was 14, so I didn't need to have papers to show anyone I was Jewish. The Resistance knew about many people who were hiding. Would I bring food, or go & tell people when they were denounced? Basically would I help the Resistance.

What people don't know: the Germans didn't have a clue who was Jewish, especially in the south of France. It’s Mediterranean, lots of people looked Jewish. They didn't have a clue. But the French did the job for them.

I was told if I’m stopped, would I be able not to name the other people involved. It was a big risk. I must say, my parents were very good, they allowed it. That's what I did. Do you know how many times I had papers on me? How lucky I was? How many times I was—they used to close the roads, the French & ask for papers to see if they could find any Jews. Anyway, I survived that.

The Gestapo were in that famous hotel, the Excelsior. When people were arrested, the French gave them over to the Germans. From there you stayed a week or two in Drancy, & from Drancy to Auschwitz & everybody knows what happened there. If the French denounced someone they got a certain amount of money, so some of those French, when they knew of people who were hiding, they denounced them. If you were arrested & gave the names of 5 people, they let you out. But they'd arrest you again later. It’s amazing how people react in certain circumstances, even people you think you know. You'd be surprised.

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