Oral History Interview with Armand Mednick

Armand Mednick, born in 1933 in Brussels, Belgium, describes being called “Avrum” by his Yiddish-speaking parents; growing up in a close family in Brussels; growing up feeling ostracized in a non-Jewish neighborhood and experiencing antisemitism that was influenced by the fascist Rex Party; contracting tuberculosis and being hospitalized at age six until May 1940, when his father, an active political leftist, fled with his family to France; his father being drafted into the French Army and deserted; being placed in a sanitarium at Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne Mountains under the new name “Armand”; his father, mother, and baby sister hiding nearby in Volvic, where they passed as Christians; recovering and joining his family; attending Catholic school; how at home there was some Jewish observance; his memories of walking for seven miles with his father to attend a clandestine seder; his father joining the French resistance in 1944 and the family returning in 1945 to Brussels; celebrating his bar mitzvah; his family moving to Philadelphia, PA in 1947; how the Buchenwald death lists confirmed that most of their extended family of 55 relatives were killed; becoming a potter and teacher; and producing a series of clay reliefs with symbolic Holocaust images, in an attempt to exorcise his painful childhood memories.

Date: 06/15/1983
Interviewer: Janice Booker
Interviewee: Armand Mednick
Language: English
Subject: Antisemitism--Belgium.
Art teachers.
Art therapy.
Hidden children (Holocaust)--France.
Hiding places--France.
Holocaust survivors.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945), in art.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Belgium--Personal narratives.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Religious aspects--Judaism.
Jewish children in the Holocaust.
Jewish refugees--France.
Passing (Identity)--France.
World War, 1939-1945--Jews--France.
Men--Personal narratives.
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Volvic, France
Permalink: https://hoha.digitalcollections.gratzcollege.edu/item/oral-history-interview-with-armand-mednick/