Out Of The Shadows

     

Out of the Shadows:  A Memoir

 

Survival in Nazi-Occupied France and Making a Life in America

 

 

“I was five years old when I saw my parents for the last time, separated from my sister and brother, dislocated from everything familiar to me, and thrust into the hands of strangers…”Michel Jeruchim

Tree of Life Books announces the publication of

Out of the Shadows: A Memoir, Survival in Nazi-Occupied France and Making a Life in America

 by Michel Jeruchim to be published November 11, 2019.  Jeruchim’s powerful memoir tells the story of the last generation of Holocaust survivors, children whose parents sent them into hiding to save them from Nazi death camps. Nearly 1.5 million children were killed between 1939 and 1945. While the exact numbers are unknown, only six to eleven percent of European Jewish children survived. Michel, his brother Simon, and sister Alice are among them.

To schedule a talk or appearance, please contact: Joy E. Stocke, stockey@mac.com or 609-213-6580

Born into a loving family in Paris, in 1940 when Michel was three their tranquil lives were upended when Nazi Germany invaded France. Two years later, under orders from the Nazis, the French police staged a roundup of all Jews living in the Paris metropolitan area with the objective of deporting them to concentration camps. Through a stroke of luck, Michel’s mother, Sonia, learned about the raid, and the family escaped arrest. But, the Jeruchim family could no longer stay in Paris. Sonia’s acquaintances led them to a Protestant couple outside of Paris who hid them in their home until arrangements were made for a safe haven for the children in Normandy where Michel lived with a Catholic family, the Leclères.

Their children safe, Sonia and Samuel attempted to cross to the unoccupied zone of France, but were caught when they reached the demarcation line. They were first sent to a detention center and from there to Auschwitz where they were murdered.

Michel, Alice, and Simon survived the war. During the three years Michel lived with the Leclères, they formed a loving bond. After the war, with no word from Michel’s parents, the Leclères sought to adopt him. But an estranged uncle who survived the war came to “reclaim” him. Taken again from a loving home, Michel was placed in an orphanage, where he was joined by his siblings. Reunited, Michel, Simon, and Alice were able to immigrate to the United States in 1949.

Michel and his siblings embraced American life. Within two years, Michel became fluent in English and attended an elite high school in Brooklyn. At City College of New York, he earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He went on to earn a Master’s Degree and a Ph.D.at the University of Pennsylvania. Michel was among those at the forefront of the communication age and went on to co-author three-dozen technical papers and two books on satellites and related topics over an almost sixty-year distinguished career. But, as he settled into marriage and began raising children of his own, the grief over the loss of his parents and the trauma of his childhood resurfaced.

Years later, Michel’s wife, Joan, a psychologist, urged Michel to attend the first conference organized by The Hidden Child Foundation, in New York City, a gathering of Jewish children who had been hidden and saved during the war. There, Michel found kindred spirits, who like him had been too young to tell or understand the weight of their stories. These children became experts at keeping their traumatic childhoods inside, since no one had come forward to address their pain. The Hidden Child Foundation created a supportive community within which former hidden children, like Michel, could unburden themselves and begin the process of recovery.

To schedule a talk or appearance, please contact: Joy E. Stocke, stockey@mac.com or 609-213-6580

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