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Joseph von Hoppen Waldhorn

Paris, France

Joseph was the youngest of three children born to immigrant Jewish parents. His Polish-born father was a former officer in the Austro-Hungarian army who had met and married Joseph's Hungarian-born mother during World War I. Joseph was raised in a religious household and grew up speaking French.

1933-39: My mother says it's better here in Paris than in the poor village where she grew up. Unlike my mother, who speaks broken French, my older sisters and I have grown up speaking French fluently. I attend a special public school funded by the Rothschild family. My father says that the terrible things happening to Jews in Germany won't happen to us here.

1940-44: I've fled Paris and am staying with the sister of a friend who is letting me hide on her farm in Sees in western France. About a year ago, when I was 9, German troopsoccupied Paris. At first, I wasn't in danger. Unlike my foreign-born parents who were subject to being immediately deported, I was a French citizen. I fled Paris after the Germans deported my father in 1941. I have false papers; my new name is Georges Guerin. My sisters also have false identities and have gotten office jobs in nearby Alencon.

Joseph's sisters in Alencon were discovered and arrested. Joseph managed to remain concealed until the end of the war, and emigrated to the United States in 1949.

 

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