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Oral history interview with Leon Tsevery

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1281.9 | RG Number: RG-50.146.0009

Leon Tsevery, born in 1926 in Paris, France, discusses his family members; his father, who was a cobbler from Brest-Litovsk (Brest, Belarus) and came to Paris on foot at the end of the Soviet Revolution; his mother, who was born in Poland; his older brother Jacques (born in 1924); his younger brother; being on vacation in Allier when the war began in September 1939; attending business school while his brother attended a technical school; how in 1941 the school director said that he could no longer protect him and his brother; his father having to close his cobbler boutique in 1941; beginning to work; living on 50 rue de la Chapelle in Paris; the seven Jewish families who lived in their area; his father, who was politically engaged on the left; growing up culturally Jewish but not religious; becoming aware that he was Jewish when he received his card with the stamp “Jew” in 1942 at the age of 16; his mother sewing the yellow star of David for their clothing; how the day before the Vel d’Hiv roundup in 1942, an inspector of the police came to tell his father that all the Jewish men will be stopped tomorrow; deciding along with his two brothers to hide in their apartment; the arrest of his mother; going to visit his mother in a hangar where she was detained with other Jews; the arrest of his father and little brother (his father went to camp Beaune-la-Rolande and his mother went to camp Drancy, and both were eventually deported to Auschwitz, where they perished); going to the Free Zone by train with his brother; being inspected by a German soldier, but being able to pass through the line; working on a farm in a village where they had gone on vacation in 1940; being baptized by a priest and receiving papers of baptism; making a false identity card before returning to Paris where he was able to join the Resistance; meeting with Marcel Rajman (a famous member of the Resistance) in 1941; being arrested by the police in 1943 and taken to the Commissariat; escaping and continuing to work with the Resistance as the liaison for Monsieur Letexier, who was responsible for the young communists; he worked with the group of Missak Manouchian of the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans Main-d'œuvre immigrée (FTP-MOI); being denounced in 1944 but being able to continue his resistance work; joining an all-Jewish group and conducting small attacks on German tanks in Paris; being with the French 2nd Armored Division (2e Division Blindée) under General Philippe Leclerc at the liberation of Paris; his older brother’s work during the war as a courier for the UGIF (Union Générale des Israélites de France); and their attempts to find their younger brother at an orphanage in Montreal and being unsuccessful.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Tsevery, Leon
interview:  1994
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 20:12:29
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