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Lyszka family papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2015.489.1

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    Lyszka family papers

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    The Lyszka family papers contain biographical papers and photographs documenting Renée Lyszka's (later Renée Lisse Sachs) childhood in France, where she hid in Saint Pardoux with her aunt Renée Cwajgenbaum during World War II. The collection documents the Cwajgenbaum and Lyszka families in Łódż, Poland, and Paris, France as well. The papers include identification, immigration, and French school papers of Renée; burial certificates of Renée's parents Abraham and Sara Lyszka; and an identification document of Abraham's. The photographs include photographs of Renée as a child in Paris, Brunoy, and Saint Pardoux; her aunt Renée; her parents, Abraham and Sara; and members of the Bogochwal and Cwajgenbaum families.
    inclusive:  1935-1974
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the loving family of Renee Lisse Sachs (Toujours Dans Nos Coeurs)
    Collection Creator
    Renee Lisse Sachs
    Renee Lyszka was born on March 13, 1940, in Paris, France to Abraham Juda and Sara Cwajgenbaum Lyszka. Her father was a tailor. Her parents were originally from Poland. Her father Abraham, born on November 20, 1896, had lived in France since he was a young child. Her mother Sara arrived in France in the mid to late 1930s. Their marriage had been arranged by Sara’s brother, who asked Abraham if he would marry her so that she could get out of Poland. It was agreed that it would be a marriage of convenience, and that once Sara was safely in France, they could separate. Sara gave birth to a child that died in infancy, and then Renee was born, so the couple stayed together. In May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded France. An armistice was signed in June and Paris and the northern and western regions were placed under German military administration. This included an SS run Jewish Affairs office which enacted policies that restricted Jewish persons, especially foreign born residents. Renee and her father looked Aryan and could still move about in relative freedom, but her mother had to remain secluded. In 1944, when Renee was four, Sara had to go out. She warned Renee not to open the door. Renee heard steps, assumed it was her mother, and when someone knocked, opened the door to a stranger who asked for her mother. Renee told him she did not know. When her mother returned and Renee told her what had happened, her mother said that it was no longer safe to remain at home. Renee was sent to stay with a neighbor. Her mother had been denounced by a neighbor and was arrested at home that evening and sent to nearby Drancy transit camp. Renee’s father told her that her mother was in a hospital. Abraham made uniforms for the French guards, and was able to bribe someone to get Sara released, but they decided that Renee must be hidden elsewhere. Renee and her father obtained false papers as Christians with assumed names. Renee was hidden with her Aunt Renee and her fiancée Uncle Alexandre, who also had false identities, in St. Pardoux. Paris was liberated on August 25, 1944, and the war ended in May 1945. Renee returned home to her parents. In 1951, her mother became ill and died. Renee was sent to live in an orphanage. In 1954, her maternal uncle Michael, who had immigrated to the United States, wrote to Renee and offered to sponsor her immigration. She went to live with him in York, Pennsylvania, where she finished high school. She Americanized her surname to Lisse. Renee earned an undergraduate and graduate degree and enjoyed a long career as an honored foreign language teacher. She married Keith Sachs in 1969 and they had two children. Her father Abraham, 74, died in 1970, in the US. Renee, 75, passed away on March 8, 2015. She was active in the Hidden Children’s Foundation and shared the story of her wartime experiences to diverse groups. She would end her presentations with this thought: "In a terrible world, there are always good people and you can be one of those people.”

    Physical Details

    French English
    1 box
    1 oversize folder
    System of Arrangement
    The Lyszka family papers are arranged as two series. Both series are arranged alphabetically. Series 1: Biographical material, 1953-1971; Series 2: Photographs, 1935-1974.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The Lyszka family papers were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by Keith Sachs in 2015.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 14:25:57
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