FRENCH CHILDREN OF THE HOLOCAUST

A memorial
Serge Klarsfeld  

 
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Jacques BENGUIGUI was born on April 13, 1931, Richard BENGUIGUI on March 31, 1937, and Jean-Claude BENGUIGUI on December 26, 1938, all in Oran, Algeria. They were three of the 44 children from Izieu. Their mother, Fortunée Messaouda, née Chouraki, was born on April 30, 1904, in Oran. Arrested in Marseilles, she was deported on July 31, 1943, to Auschwitz on convoy 58. She was used as a guinea pig on Block 10 for medical experiments and, while she was there in the camp, learned that her three boys had been deported and killed. On her liberation, she weighed only 84 pounds, but her humanity was an inspiring example: she spent some time taking care of a paralyzed German woman (non-Jewish), the mother of two children. When she returned to France, she had the after-effects of the suffering she had endured, but she also had her young child, Yvette, who had escaped arrest. Born on March 2, 1941, Yvette had had to leave Izieu because she was too young; she had been entrusted to neighboring farmers. Fortunée Benguigui's participation in a hunger strike with Beate Klarsfeld in Munich in 1971 has become legendary. This is what Jacques wrote to his mother on May 30, 1943, from Izieu: O Maman, my dear Maman, I know how much you've suffered on my account and on this happy occasion of Mother's Day I send you from afar my best wishes from the bottom of my little heart. So far from you, darling Maman, I've done everything I could to make you happy: when you've sent packages, I've shared them with the children who have no parents. Maman, my dear Maman, I leave you with hugs and kisses. Your son who adores you. The three boys were deported on convoy 71 of April 13, 1944, Jacques's 13th birthday. Fortunée Benguigui died in 1988 on the day that she received the Legion of Honor medal.    
   

FRENCH CHILDREN OF THE HOLOCAUST

A memorial
Serge Klarsfeld

 
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