Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In my dad's own words: Escape from Paris

My parents had hid Mr. Duschler's son after he had escaped from Germany as a Prisoner of War at the beginning of the war in early 1940. Mr. Duschler was a peddlar and knew his way around and knew many people in many places. He really came through for me, and also for my family later on. He had contact with a "chemino", a man who worked for the railroad. This "chemino" lived and worked in Vierzon.
Vierzon, at the time, was one of the largest railroad stations in France and was located strategically on the boundary line between zones. But Vierzon was in German occupied territory. Vierzon had only 3 or 4 passenger train lines, but dozens of railroad lines for freight and cattle cars. These freight cars came loaded with food or freight equipment from the South and were discharged ( in Vierzon) and headed North to the occupied Zone and returning empty to the free zone going South.
Mr. Duschler gave me the name of the "chemino" and his address along with the hours that he would return home from work so I could wait for him. I also was instructed how much money I was to give him for helping to cross me over the border. I had no idea how this was to work. I was very reluctant and scared to take the train directly from Paris to Vierzon. Police and Germans were always all around the railroad stations looking for those who were forbidden to ride the train. Many Jews were caught at the station or riding on the train after they were asked to see their identity card.

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