Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Righteous Medal Ceremony - Yad Vashem

I was thrilled and honored to represent my family at this special ceremony in Ceyroux on 12/4/2016. Yad Vashem honors righteous gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews during the Shoah.

My father always talked about the good people of Ceyroux.  The story of Ceyroux was imprinted upon my brain from a young age as a special place of refuge.

My dad was a hero for fleeing Paris in June 1942, at the beginning of "La Grand Rafle", and for saving our family by leading them to Ceyroux.  My dad described how the kindness of strangers restored his faith in humanity. I am grateful to my niece Danielle for making the trip to Ceyroux 6 years ago in 2010, with my nephew Carl. Their visit facilitated the process of submitting the names of the righteous with Yad Vashem.  I am thankful to Mayor Daquet and the Simonnet and Parcelier families for protecting my family, giving them a new life in hiding on the farm for 2 years during the Shoah. Now, we are not strangers, we share a special bond, like family.

At the ceremony I met members of the families from Ceyroux,  many, many generations of  descendants. It was interesting to me the various levels present: There were 3 people who were original - alive during those 2 years:
  • Madame Alice Meillassoux, Leontine's niece.  She knew my parents.
  • Mr. Simonnet 
  • Daniel Daquet, son of Mayor Leon Daquet, although he was too young in 1942 to remember my parents
  • Henri Gaujal who was 10 when my grandfather made him a suit for his communion. He remembered seeing my dad hiding in the woods. He kept it a secret until my niece & nephew visited 6 years ago.
I met the daughter of Mr. Merigot, Vieilleville pharmacist who was also the coach of my dad's Sunday soccer team.  He warned my dad when he saw buses coming to collect Jews in Ceyroux.  I met Bernadette, granddaughter of Mr. Albert Mayne who was active in the Maqui. I learned that Mr. Mayne was the owner of the house that hid 8 members of my family in 3 small rooms.  He also warned my dad when my dad got called into Gueret. Bernadette still lives in that very same house.

my dad's 2 identity cards:
on the left from Ceyroux issued by Mayor Daquet, without the Juif stamp,
the one from Paris on the right with the Juif stamp in red

Bernadette of Mayne family
Daughter of Coach Merigot, the little girl in the Team photo

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Yad Vashem Medal Ceremony - Righteous honor granted to Daquet, Simonet, & Parcelier families- Ceyroux 12/4/16

In 2010 my niece Danielle made the visit to Ceyroux, France to meet the people who saved our family.
On Sunday December 4, 2016, MEDALs of Righteous Among the Nations  were awarded to Daquet, Simonnet & Parcelier families.  Dignitaries & recipients gave speeches to a packed town hall...    I gave a speech as representative of our family that was saved by these good people from 1942-1944. 8 family members survived in this remote farm village thanks to people who risked their lives to save us.

Mayor Leon Daquet provided my dad with a new ID that concealed his Jewish identity, changing his name from Jacob Joseph to Jacques, occupation from printer to farmer "cultivateur", and no more "Juif" stamp.

Read Article in 12/3/16 Saturday Paper: 

Monique Resche accepting the medal for the Parcelier family
I saw the house & barn that hid my parents, grandparents, and aunts for 2 years, in 3 small rooms. There was no running water or toilets.  The original well was still there although no longer operational. The house was owned by Monsieur Albert Mayne, a MAQUI (resistance fighter).

My dad described how he arrived in Ceyroux unannounced in June 1942 & told Leontine Parcelier that he was Jewish & needed a place of refuge. She welcomed him with open arms, "avec bras ouvert".

Madame Monique Resche said although what her family did was extraordinary, they did was was natural. Her mom was a bicycle message courier for the MAQUIs.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Upcoming Visit to Ceyroux to retrace journey of July 1942 for Yad Vashem ceremony

On December 4, 2016, I will be visiting Ceyroux  for a Yad Vashem ceremony to present the Righteous medal of honor to the Daquet, Simonet & Parcelier descendents for their role in my parents life in hiding. They provided my parents & their families with a place to live, new identities and work as farmers.  I look forward to retracing my dad's journey from Paris through Vierzon to Chateauxroux, to Ceyroux.  When my parents arrived there in July 1942 Ceyroux was in the Free zone "zone libre".  After 6 months, France was completely consumed by the German Nazi occupation.  Ceyroux was subject to intrusive searches which forced my parents to hide in the woods and barn.

Ceyroux's mayor Leon Daquet, the Simonnet and Parcelier families, and the people of Ceyroux all played a part in my parents survival.  Mayer Daquet provided my dad with a new identity card, "carte d'identite", changing his name from the revealing Jacob Joseph to a neutral Jacques. His occupation changed from printer to cultivateur (farmer), and no more Juif stamp.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Alicia - My Story - Holocaust memoire

I just reread this memoire by Alicia Jurman, a young Jewish girl's survival, escapes, and heroics during the Holocaust.    It is both tragic and miraculous.  Alicia suffers the tragic loss of her entire family one-by-one.  Her first escape is on the transport to Auschwitz: She is pushed out of the train when her neighbor discovers a loose floor board. He tells her "You must live."

She is imprisoned, beaten, starved, and infected with typhus by the Germans and their Polish collaborators.   After being whipped unconscious by an SS officer she is left in a pile of dead bodies awaiting burial.  A Jewish couple from the Chortov ghetto rescue her and nurse her back to health.  When she is later captured again by the Germans waiting to be shot by a firing squad, she is saved by  Jewish partisans.  There are many occasions where she saves other victims of the Nazis: Jews and Russians.  She speaks out and advocates for her right to live on many occasions.

She survives by living as a peasant girl and working as a farm hand.  When she overhears German officers plotting to kill  Russian partisans in the nearby woods,  She rides the farmer's horse into the forest to warn the Russians.  On her way back she is discovered by the Germans who question her: what is she doing in the woods at night.  She saves herself by concocting a story crying and blaming the disobedient horse!  The Germans dismiss her as a silly peasant girl.

When the WWII ends, she returns to her uncle Kurtz' house to discover it occupied by a hostile stranger. Alicia unleashes her outrage accusing him of betraying her uncle so he could steal his property.
As a sole survivor, she sets up orphanages for other lost and hungry Jewish children. She later is recruited by the Breka to smuggle Jews out of Europe and into Israel.  She describes the difficulty of starting a new life after the war. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Because They Hate -- a Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America

I recently read "Because They Hate", an autobiography by Brigitte Gabriel.  This is a must read for today's times.  Brigitte shares her personal story of her childhood as a Christian living in Lebanon during the  genocide of the Christians committed by the Palestinians from 1975-1982.  In her story she quotes the Koran to show how it preaches hatred towards infidels. All non-Muslims are considered as infidels by Islam and the Koran.    Islam's goal is world domination, just as the Nazi's sought racial purity as Aryan domination. "In the Muslim world extreme is mainstream."

There is "no free press in the Arab world", it is government controlled and biased against Israel and the western world.  Their children are programmed from birth to believe Muslim is the only way and anyone who is not Muslim is their enemy.  They are brainwashed by their biased 1-sided, distorted news and television broadcasts.  They are masters at PR - since they control the press so only favorable coverage of Palestinians and hateful demonization of Israel is preached. 

Brigitte writes, "the Arab Muslim world, because of its religion and culture, is a natural threat to civilized people of the world." On page 79, she writes "I had been sold a fabricated lie by my government ... about the Jews and Israel that was far from reality."

Because Muslim men take up to 4 wives and have a higher birth rate, "Islamic communities worldwide outproduce Christians and Jews by 7 to 1."  The demographic shift is scary. "Muslim Arab societies don't have to create anything, just destroy what others have done, terrorize them into submission, and ...take it over for Allah."

Page186 "When you don't stop evil in its tracks you end up with a monster force that will...affect the lives of millions. Because we did not want to judge ...Palestinians bombing innocent Israelis, the Taliban, Saddam Hussein gassing his own people, we have helped create the monsters we are dealing with today."

Brigitte is a terrorism expert and has founded

Friday, April 15, 2016

Eugenie Mukeshimana speaks about the Rwandan Genocide

This week I had the honor of listening to Eugenie Mukeshimana speak about her experience as a Rwandan genocide survivor.  She was a speaker this week at Bergen Community College, sponsored by the Center for Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation .

She was 8 months pregnant when the genocide began in 1994: same year my own daughter was born. One million Tutsis were killed in just over a month. She talked about the hateful propaganda on the radio and how all citizens had to have their ethnicity identified on their residency cards.   Being a Tutsi was a death sentence.  She was fortunate to find a family who hid her under a bed for weeks.  Even after she was discovered with her baby, the family continued to protect her identity.  

According to Eugenie "Conflict is like a tsunami, it effects everything”.   All traces of Tutsi life was eradicated: the people, their livestock and property.  The small number of survivors in Rwanda continue to live side-by-side with those who slaughtered their families.

Eugenie is the Founder and Executive Director of GSSN Genocide Survivors Support Network

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Launching Speakers Bureau for Center for Peace Justice Reconciliation

As a member of the Center for Peace Justice Reconciliation (PJR) at Bergen Community College, I have initiated a Speaker's Bureau to help carry out PJR's  mission within Bergen and beyond. PJR’s mission is to foster awareness of mechanisms of social conflict, political and ethnic violence, and genocide through educational initiatives, exhibitions, and dialogues. The center develops skills in conflict resolution and ethical decision making to promote social justice and global citizenship.

Speakers include PJR team members, BCC faculty and staff. 


As first generation survivors of genocide age, it is up to us as educators and/or as second-third generations to spread the word so the world never forgets.  In addition to Genocide, topics include: issues of social justice, anti-bullying, character development, conflict resolution, totalitarianism.

Our goal is to partner with our faculty as they plan lessons for next semester.   Our speakers will tailor topics to meet the needs of our classrooms.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Alica Jurman's Story

"Alicia - My Story" by Alicia Appleman-Jurman.  Another incredible survival story of a young teenager in Poland during the Holocaust; 13 year-old Alica. She survives the Ghetto in Buczacz, escapes from the cattle car on way to concentration camp, escapes prison cell, survives alone after her father, brothers & mother are murdered one by one.... becomes a courageous hero.... faces fierce Antisemitism even after Poland is liberated....
tragic, poignant, miraculous ....

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Children of Willesden Lane – Beyond the Kindertransport

The Children of Willesden LaneBeyond the Kindertransport: A Memoir of Music, Love, and Survival – by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen  

This is the memoire and life journey of  a child prodigy, Lisa Jura, who escaped from Austria to England via the Kindertransport.

Here is a Holocaust story that can be shared with middle schoolers.  Teenagers would be able to relate to 14-year old Lisa's struggle and inspirational story. I read it in just 2 days.   I recently learned that the the author, Mona Golabek, is now performing her mother's story through her piano music. I am hoping she comes back to perform in the NYC/NJ area.    

Read the Chicago Tribune article from 2013