Michel Jeruchim– Photo by Pete Bannan
In 1940, when Michel Jeruchim was three, Nazi Germany invaded France. Two years later, under Nazi orders, the French police staged a roundup of Jews living in the Paris metropolitan area with the aim of deporting them to concentration camps. The Jeruchim family, Michel’s parents, and his brother and sister, could no longer remain at home. Michel’s mother was acquainted with a Protestant couple who hid the family in their cellar until arrangements were made for Michel and his siblings to hide in Normandy. Michel was placed with a Catholic family, the Leclères. His parents attempted to cross into the unoccupied zone of France, were caught, and sent to Auschwitz where they were murdered.
Michel formed a loving bond the Leclères, and after the war, with no word from Michel’s parents, the Leclères sought to adopt him. But an estranged uncle who survived came to “reclaim” him, and his siblings. Michel was placed in an orphanage. Eventually reunited, Michel and his siblings immigrated the United States in 1949.
Michel went on to earn Master’s Degree and a Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. A scientist, he was at the forefront of the communication age. An expert in telecommunications systems, he was selected by the State Department to participate in the first Space World Radio Administrative Conference (WARC) where he helped develop the first set of technical rules for geostationary satellites. Dr. Jeruchim has authored or co-authored more than forty journal and conference papers on various topics in communications, and is co-author of two books, Communication Satellites in the Geostationary Orbit and Simulation of Communication Systems.
But he never fully came to terms the loss he suffered early in life. Years later, Michel’s wife, Joan, a psychologist, urged Michel to attend the first gathering of Jewish children who had been hidden in WWII. There, Michel found kindred spirits, who like him had kept their traumatic childhoods inside, but could now begin the process of recovery.
In addition to Out of the Shadows: A Memoir, Survival in Nazi-Occupied France and Making a Life in America, Michel and his wife, Joan, co-authored two sons who have given them six grandchildren.