Ginette Druker Kalish

July 16, 1942, marked the day when French Jews were rounded up in Paris and transported to Vel d’Hiver, to eventually be transported to Auschwitz. My mother, Ginette Druker Kalish and her mother Lola, hid, taking refuge in a trap door in their butcher shop for ten days. My twelve year old mother would sneak out at night in search of food and water. After ten days they emerged, put on layers of clothes, ripped off their yellow star, and made their way to the Gare de Lyon train station to go south to stay with family. Unfortunately, they were arrested by the French police and placed in Camp Rivesaltes, to be sent to Auschwitz.

Coincidentally, at that time, an American Mennonite and French professor at Gothenburg College in Indiana was visiting there in hopes to rescue children. It was a mission from the Mennonite Central Committee in the United States to manage one of their colonies for Spanish refugee children in the south of France. She was able to convince my grandmother to take her to La Ville Saint Christophe in Canet-Plage. She hid her there as a Spanish orphan, and ultimately saved her life.

On Wednesday, January 31st, we celebrate my mom’s 94th birthday. Ginette has two children, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren to carry on her legacy. To this we also celebrate Lois Gunden, the brave American recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous among the Nations in 2016.

Source: Elizabeth Tanzer