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

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