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Jewish refugee teenagers enjoy a snack on the grounds of the Chateau de Chabannes OSE [Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants] children's home.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 47593

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    Jewish refugee teenagers enjoy a snack on the grounds of the Chateau de Chabannes OSE [Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants] children's home.
    Jewish refugee teenagers enjoy a snack on the grounds of the Chateau de Chabannes OSE [Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants] children's home.


    Jewish refugee teenagers enjoy a snack on the grounds of the Chateau de Chabannes OSE [Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants] children's home.
    1941 - 1943
    Chabannes, [Creuse] France
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Eric and Erica Goldfarb

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Eric and Erica Goldfarb

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Eryk (now Eric) Goldfarb is the son of Selig and Miriam (Lieberfreund) Goldfarb. Miriam was born in Poland and moved to Munich following her marriage to Selig in 1918. Eryk had two older siblings: Hermann (b. 1919) and Sonja (b. 1920). Following Hitler's abortive Munich Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, the Goldfarbs left Germany for Argentina. They returned to Europe two years later, however, unable to adjust to the difficult living conditions. Miriam, who was pregnant with Eryk, went to her sister's home in Chrzanow, Poland to have the baby. He was born there on December 2, 1925. The family moved to Berlin except for Eryk, who remained in Chrzanow under the care of his aunt for the next two years, before rejoining the family in Berlin. Selig worked as traveling salesman, before succumbing to heart failure in 1934 at the age of fifty-five. Miriam, who did not possess working papers, established a lunchroom for young Jewish immigrants in their home, and Hermann helped support the family as a factory cabinetmaker. Eryk attended a Jewish school and joined a left-wing Zionist youth movement. Starting in 1935, the family sought ways to emigrate together, but following Kristallnacht, they felt they had to leave Germany, even if it meant leaving separately. In early 1939, Sonja went to England with a Habonim hachshara [Zionist youth movement collective]. Two years later, in 1941, she married Robert Harendorf, an emigre from Vienna. On June 30, 1939 Hermann left for Shanghai, where he later married Else Ruben. On July 3, 1939, Eryk left Berlin on a Kindertransport to France, and the following month, Miriam departed for England with a permit to work as a domestic. After arriving in France, Eryk was placed at the Quincy-sous-Senart chateau. Soon after the German occupation of France, Quincy had to be evacuated. Eryk, a friend named Gerard Rosenzweig, and some fifteen boys from the La Guette children's home, were sent to a French boarding school in Clamart. A few months later, on January 15, 1941, Eryk moved to Chabannes, a large OSE [Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants] children's home, in Creuse. There he continued his formal schooling and also learned leatherwork. For the next year and a half, Eryk led a relatively trouble-free life, but this ended abruptly in August 1942, when the home was raided by French gendarmes, and the older children were arrested. By chance, despite the fact that he was almost seventeen, Eryk was not rounded up with the others, but he now could no longer remain in Chabannes. As a temporary measure, the OSE sent Eryk to do agricultural work at their Masgelier home and later at the Poulouzat home. The plan was that he would be able to flee from there to Spain and later join his mother in England. Eryk was given a set of false papers and then told that instead of heading twoard the Spanish border, he should go to Lyon to join other OSE youth who would be crossing the border into Switzerland. He met a group of five teenagers from La Guette that included his future wife, Erika (Fée) Beyth, and boarded a train to Annecy to meet the passeur. They safely crossed the border, but soon afterwards ran into a Swiss guard who sent them back to France. They went back to Annecy to retrieve their false papers, and then Eryk returned to Poulouzat. From there, he moved to Moissac, a home of the Eclaireurs Israelites, where he enrolled in an ORT bookbinding course. As the situation deteriorated, it became necessary for Eryk to assume a new identity. Under his new name, Etienne Giroux, he went to work as a farmhand. A few months later, weary of his isolated existence, he joined a group of young Jewish refugees, including two friends from Chabannes, who were working on a road project in the foothills of the Alps in southeastern France. When the worksite was closed, the OSE found a new hiding place for Eryk and his friend Ernst. They spent the winter of 1943-1944 working in a sawmill owned by Mr. Maillefaut near Die, in the department of Drome. That spring, the government decided to issue everyone new identity cards, so Eryk got a new legitimate identity card based on his previous false one. Eryk knew that there were groups of de Gaulle's underground army operating nearby, and on June 7, 1944, he and his friends joined the armed resistance. Eryk was stationed near the village of Vassieux. He participated in heavy fighting in Vercors and the battle of Romans and assisted in the liberation of Lyon. Eryk remained with the Free French Forces until they reached the German border in October 1944. Not wanting to step foot again in Germany, Eryk left the army and returned to Lyon. There, he met Ernst Jablonski, who had been his teacher in Chabannes, and reconnected with Erika. Ernst arranged for Eryk to live at the Collonges-au-Mont-d'Or OSE home on outskirts of Lyon. He stayed there from October 1944 to February 1945 and then went to Toulouse, where he found work as a bookbinder. He spent the summer working in a camp for Jewish orphans and then moved to Paris in the fall where he reconnected with many old friends, including Erika. During the spring of 1946, Eryk went to England to see his mother and sister for the first time in seven years and to meet their new husbands. Upon his return, he moved to the Fontenay aux Roses OSE home, to teach crafts to younger children and bookbinding to older ones. Erika was working there as well, and they married in the summer of 1947. The couple then moved to Paris, where they had two children. Having accepted French citizenship in 1948, Eryk was conscripted into the army. After his release from the army, the family immigrated to Canada in July 1952 to join Eryk's sister and mother.
    Record last modified:
    2004-05-17 00:00:00
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