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Ora with her parents, Etla and Yaakov in Metz, France.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 78330

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    Ora with her parents, Etla and Yaakov in Metz, France.
    Ora with her parents, Etla and Yaakov in Metz, France.

    Overview

    Caption
    Ora with her parents, Etla and Yaakov in Metz, France.
    Date
    1935
    Locale
    Metz, [Moselle] France
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Ora Ninio

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Ora Ninio

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Biography
    Claire Clara Ridnik (later Ora Ninio) was born on May 24. 1935 in Paris, France to Etla Krasnopol (b. August 20, 1908, Rovno, Poland) and Yaakov (Jankl) Ridnik (b. May 8, 1907, Kostopol, Russia). Ora has one brother, Leon (Leo) Ridnik (b. Paris 1948). Both Yaakov and Etla came from religious families. During the 1930’s, Yaakov and Etla both decided to leave home. They met on a train full of students going to study in France. Yaakov studied chemistry in Grenoble becoming a chemical engineer and Etla studied piano in Toulouse. In 1934 they married in Paris, and one year later Ora was born. Yaakov worked in the sugar industry where he extracted sugar from sugar beets. His older brother, Leon (Leibush) also lived in Paris. After marrying in 1938, Yaakov opened a small grocery store in Paris, to support his wife and child. Following the start of World War II in 1939, Yaakov and Leon volunteered for the French army. They were sent to the border between France and Belgium. Leon was killed very soon after arrival. Yaakov was captured and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp in Germany, where he remained until the end of the war. During his incarceration, he was able to send photos of himself to his wife Etla, who was also able to send photos of herself and Claire

    Etla realized that France was becoming dangerous for Jews, and that many were leaving. Together with a friend, she bought a car. They left Paris heading south, together with her two sisters and their husbands and children, her younger brother Benjamin Krasnopol, and the couple and their child with whom she had bought the car. Etla managed to obtain gas for the car by telling the right people that her husband was in the army. The trip was arduous, and the car’s inhabitants utilized public kitchens in order to eat. A little over a week later, they arrived in Lourdes, where they rented a house. Claire and her mother shared a room, where Etla hid their documents behind the wallpaper. Etla joined the resistance and obtained false papers for everyone. She changed her name to Marie Gerard, and told her daughter that she would now be called Claire Suzanne Gerard. Etla worked aiding refugees cross over the Pyrenees to Spain, often accompanied by a priest. Several times, Etla had nowhere to leave Ora, so she accompanied the refugees across the mountains as well. In Lourdes, her mother joined the French Resistance and smuggled people to the Spanish border. Every evening her mother had to look for places to hide Claire Suzanne for the night. Sometimes she couldn’t find anyone to take Claire and so she brought her with her on the smuggling mission. One evening Etla took her along as she and a priest smuggled a group of Jewish refugees across the border. When they encountered German soldiers in the woods, the priest put Claire under his robe and prayed, saving her life.
    Most of the time, Claire lived in someone’s home for a few days until her mother came to collect her. Then, around 1941, Claire and her cousin Arliette were placed in the monastery Orlons St. Marie. They remained there for a year and a half. Occasionally, Etla was able to visit her. Upon learning that the convent wanted to baptize the two girls and seeing that they were not in good health, she managed to arrange with the President of the Red Cross, Madame Georges to remove the girls and return them to Lourdes, where they lived until liberation.
    After liberation, Yaakov returned home on May 8, 1945. The family made its way back to Paris, where they found that their apartment was taken by another family. At that point her mother had a breakdown and never recovered. Claire (now Ora) dreamed of becoming a doctor. In 1951, she joined a cousin who was going to Israel. Ora studied for a year at Hadassah Nursing School in Tel Aviv, but had to leave her studies and return to Paris to take care of her brother, born after the war, since her mother was still traumatized by her war experience to care for him. Ora immigrated to Israel in 1966 with her husband and their two children.
    Though Ora and her parents survived the Holocaust, Yaakov’s parents were Alok (Alik) and Golda, brother Pesach Ridnik, sister Dunja (Dina) Musman nee Ridnik and brother-in-law Dawid Musman were all murdered.
    Record last modified:
    2018-04-23 00:00:00
    This page:
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