The Museum of Family History
HONORING AND PRESERVING THE MEMORY OF OUR ANCESTORS
FOR THE PRESENT AND FUTURE GENERATIONS
 

HOME          SITE MAP          ABOUT THE MUSEUM          FEEDBACK          OPPORTUNITIES          LINKS


 

 Postcards from Home 
 

Paris
FRANCE



 

MELMAN  BAR MITZVAH IN WARTIME PARIS
Paris, France
June 1942

Bar Mitzvah of Chiel Mendel Melman in Paris, wearing a yellow star, in a synagogue on the rue Notre Dame de Nazareth.

Chiel Mendel Melman (now Max Melman) is the son of Abraham Yitzchak and Bracha Goldblum Melman. He was born on 11 Jul 1929 in Ozarow, Poland where his father made a living as the owner of a grocery business. Max was educated at a cheder until he left Poland at the age of seven. In the early thirties, the Jewish community endured numerous anti-Semitic attacks. The deteriorating situation led Max's father to leave for Paris in 1932. There he lived with his wife's sister-in-law and opened a wholesale tailoring business. By 1937 he was sufficiently established to bring over his family. After moving to Paris, Max was sent to public school, which he attended until June 1942.

The Melmans remained in Paris after the German occupation, though many of their relatives fled to Vichy. Beginning in the spring of 1941 with the deportations of foreign-born Jews, the family's situation deteriorated quickly. For a time, Max's father was forced to leave home every evening to avoid arrest. In June 1942, just ten days after the decree was issued requiring Jews to wear the yellow star, Max had his Bar Mitzvah at the rune Notre Dame de Nazareth synagogue.

Three weeks after the Bar Mitzvah, on July 16, nearly 13,000 Parisian Jews were seized from their homes and interned in the Velodrome d'Hiver. Fortunately, the Melmans were tipped off beforehand and were able to find refuge during the most dangerous period in the home of their concierge. When the situation finally calmed down, the family returned to their apartment, where they remained until the end of 1943. For three months of this period, Max and his sister were hidden separately from their parents in the home of a French woman outside Paris. They were so unhappy there, however, that they ran away and rejoined their parents in Paris. From the end of 1943 until August 1944, the Melmans were hidden with two branches of the Castera family in Versailles.

Following the liberation, the Melmans returned to Paris, where they had to wait another two years before being able to repossess their apartment. Max went to work with his father in the tailoring business.

 




 


 

Copyright 2006 Museum of  Family History

All rights reserved.  Image Use Policy