About the Shoah

Today in Israel, we commemorate Yom HaShoah. One day.

In France, we often hear that we, the Jews, speak too much about the Shoah. I have been told that by my own friends. But from my family, the truth is that I heard very little about what happened to them during those dark years.

I had to dig deep, to ask questions who made my uncle mad, who brought my grandmother to tears in order to know the stories of the survivors, because I needed to know! Yet, now that most of them are gone, I know so little. Because they couldn’t tell me everything. Because they didn’t want to think about it. Also because we will never hear the stories of those who didn’t survive.

As a child, what I learned about the Holocaust was lessons rather than stories. Lessons about coexistence and acceptance – because never again! Lessons about racism and hatred – because never again! Lessons about food – always finish your plate, and never throw food to the garbage – because never again, but you can never know…

But sometimes, the lesson would actually come with a story. And so came the story of the people who saved the survivors of my family.

And so came the story of the man who freed my grandmother and 16 other teenagers from the transit camp of Drancy, France, where their parents had to stay before being deported to Auschwitz. My grandmother never saw her mum again.  As for the man who saved her, she never knew his name. I guess I will never know his name.

So came the story of the man who saved my grandfather, his two brothers, their cousin, and many other children and teenagers by hiding them in his hospital. His name was Justinien Blazy, Righteous Among the Nations.

These people risked their life to save the ‘unwanted Jews’.These people loved their country, and so they went against the law of their government because it was the right thing to do.The lesson.

About the Author
French social educator, Chloe Perla Portheault didn't come to live in Israel because of anti-Semitism but in order to try to understand a country and and conflict that people talk so much about from afar. It's been a perpetual quest ever since.
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