Oral History Interview with Suzanne Gross

Suzanne Gross, nee Sarah Pertofsky, was born in Paris, France in 1931. Her parents were born in Belz (Russia) and emigrated to France around 1924. They had a beauty parlor in Paris which was closed by the Germans after the invasion of Paris. At that time Jews were rounded up systematically and families were forcibly separated. Non-native born Jews were rounded up before Jews who were considered French.

As a child, especially after she started school, Suzanne was made to feel she was not really French. Suzanne talks in detail about her experience when she had to wear her Yellow Star to school.
Her father went underground, worked at first on a farm, then joined the Jewish French partisans. He later worked in a steel factory be¬cause the French partisans did not want Jews. Her mother was hidden by neighbors for three months.
Sarah was sent to a farm in Normandy with 5 or 6 other children by the French Jewish Scouts (Eclaireurs Israelites de France) who had an underground network to hide Jewish children. She worked on various farms under harsh conditions. She was a hidden child in a convent school where she had to pretend she was Catholic.
She was reunited with her parents in Paris, who lived clandestinely on and off in their boarded up shop. The family received money from a resistance movement in the steel factory where her father worked. The concierge helped by selling items knitted by her mother. During this time Suzanne and her sister often warned Jews when a police round-up started. Many Jews were imprisoned at Drancy. She describes how families searched for arrested relatives from afar.
She gives a detailed account of her emotional responses to the childhood trauma she experienced and to surviving the Holocaust. The family emigrated to the USA in 1946.

Date: 08/09/1983
Interviewer: Janice Booker
Interviewee: Suzanne Gross
Language: English
Subject: Antisemitism--France.
Hidden children (Holocaust)--France.
Hiding places--France.
Holocaust survivors.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Personal narratives.
Jewish children in the Holocaust.
Jewish families--France.
Jews, Ukrainian--France.
Passing (Identity)--France.
Star of David badges.
World War, 1939-1945--Deportations from France.
Women--Personal narratives.
France--History--German occupation, 1940-1945.
Normandy (France)
Paris (France)
Paris (France)--History--1940-1944.
Gross, Suzanne, 1931-
Eclaireuses éclaireurs israélites de France.
Location: Paris France
Normandy, France
Permalink: https://hoha.digitalcollections.gratzcollege.edu/item/oral-history-interview-with-suzanne-gross/
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