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Michael von Hoppen Waldhorn
May 25, 1889 | Tysmenichany, Poland
Michael was born in a village in the southeastern part of Galicia, an Austrian province before it became a part of Poland in 1918. Raised by Jewish parents, Michael served as an officer in the Austro-Hungarian army until the end of World War I. After the war, Michael and his Hungarian-Jewish wife settled in Paris, where he became known as Michel. They raised three children there.
1933-39: Michael's family was better off in Paris than they had been in eastern Europe. In Paris, Michael was a successful businessman with two dry-goods stores, and his children had better educational opportunities. The family also felt sheltered in Paris from the antisemitism that was raging in Germany.
1940-42: Germany defeated France in 1940. Because Michael was not a French citizen, he was in danger of being immediately deported with other foreign-born Jews. In 1941 he lost his stores and market stall and was arrested and imprisoned in Drancy for six months. In July 1942, one month after Jews were required to wear a Jewish star in public, Michael was grabbed on the street by the French police and sent back to Drancy. Six days later, the Germans loaded Michael and other Polish-born Jews into a cattle train.
Michael was gassed shortly after arriving in Auschwitz on July 24, 1942. He was 53 years old.