My visit to


« The truth is, I believe that if there is a God, he couldn't have let this happen. »

Jean Szwimer

Born in 1932, to a family of Polish musicians, Jean lived in the Marais district of Paris, where his family found work in the clothing industry. Arrested with his mother during the Vél' d'Hiv roundup, Jean remembers the horrific scenes he witnessed as a ten-year-old child. Jean was detained at Beaune-la-Rolande, then Drancy, before being freed thanks to his brother, then employed in a fur company doing business for the Germans. After a brief stay in Paris, he went into hiding on a farm in the Loir-et-Cher region, (central France) before staying in the South with his mother until the end of the war. Back in Paris, he occasionally visited the Lutetia Hotel (serving as a base for Holocaust survivors looking for relatives), hoping to find his father and brother, whom he eventually learned had both been deported. Until now, Jean had never spoken up, or even shown his children his childhood photos that he had kept hidden all those years.

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