Oral History Interview with Simone Horowitz

Simone Zuckermann Horowitz was born on June 10, 1926 to Polish-born parents who became French citizens. She describes how her family’s life changed after the Nazi occupation; and how she and her younger sister managed after her father fled to Southern France and her mother was arrested. She learned after the war ended that her father was shot in Montluc prison, July 8, 1944 because he worked for the Resistance. Simone and her sister lived in separate homes for Jewish children. Simone joined the Jewish Scouts and delivered false papers for the underground. During a roundup of children in these Jewish homes, Simone was arrested, imprisoned at Drancy, July 21, 1944, and transported to Birkenau in cattle cars.

She survived a selection by Dr. Mengele. She describes processing of the new arrivals, conditions at Birkenau, frequent Appells, meager diet, constant talk of food, and more selections by Dr. Mengele. Her determination to find her father after the war gave her strength to survive. The camp was emptied in stages. In January 1945, Simone and a group of girls were marched out of Birkenau and abandoned. She explains how they survived. Later Simone walked to Auschwitz and connected with a group of French survivors. She talks briefly about conditions in Auschwitz post-liberation. She was repatriated by the French Red Cross and arrived at Marseilles, France, May 1, 1945 after stopovers in Krakow and Odessa.
She returned to Paris September 1945, after living briefly in an orphanage and with relatives, and resumed her education. She entered the United States on a student visa in the fall of 1948, to join her American relatives. She completed her education and met her husband. She explains how her reluctance to talk about the Holocaust to her children affected their relationship.
Note: the Collateral Material files available through the Gratz College Tuttleman Library include:
• An audiotape of Mrs. Horowitz’s report about The Reunion of Jewish French Children, in France on May, 1999 is available at Gratz College Holocaust Oral History Archive.
Included with the transcript are:
• Photocopies of her father’s Death Certificate
• a document about Expropriation of Funds from the Zuckerman bank account
copy of a photograph of a monument erected by the town of Porte-les-Valence for the 31 men shot as hostages by the Germans on July 8, 1944 (among whom is the name of Simone Horowitz's father, Nevah Zuckermann).

Date: 10/12/1999 to 12/19/1999
Interviewer: Sylvia Brockmon
Interviewee: Simone Horowitz
Language: English
Permalink: https://hoha.digitalcollections.gratzcollege.edu/item/oral-history-interview-with-simone-horowitz/