Wednesday, February 22, 2012

In My Dad's Own Words: Wearing the Star 1942

In December 1941 the US entered the war. For a short time we felt reassured, but it was only a false sense of security. In early 1942 the newspapers announced that all Jews under occupied territories must report to Police to pick up a star of David with the word "JEW" printed on it. The Star was a 3x3" piece of yellow fabric that we had to cut and sew ourselves with black thread onto our clothes over our left breast. Any Jew caught not wearing it would be arrested.

This caused pandemonium, like a bomb shell. Every Jew, now, was involved. I now realized fully that being a French Jew was of no help to me. My country had betrayed me and was completely working with the Germans. I cannot describe the way I felt at that time having to wear the Star of David in the street. I felt humiliated, degraded, branded like an animal. The hurt inside me was killing me and I knew right then and there I could not take it anymore. I would have to do something. The due date to attach the star was June 6, 1942.

...Finished was the sense of security that I had for being a French citizen. I learned and realized the hard way that I was a Jew, and nothing else. By wearing the Star of David we were sitting ducks. Wherever we went they could spot us a mile away. I decided I would leave the German-occupied zone and go to the Free Zone which was under the Vichy Government, but not German rule.

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