Picture taken in Louveciennes orphanage, front row right to left are Paulette, Nathan and Annette Szklarz, as indicated by the author.
Nathan was born on 12 April 1932. Annette and her twin sister Paulette (my mother) were born in on 9 April 1938. They had two older brothers, Jacques and Jean. All the children were born in Metz, France. Their parents were Traitel (known as Charles) Szklarz (born 7 September 1902 in Siedlce, Poland) and Cecile Szklarz (neé Rychner) (born 19 July 1901 in Sosnowiec, Poland).
At the beginning of the war the family were relocated to Virolet, near Poitiers, in the “département” of the Vienne, along with other Jewish families from Metz. The parents were deported in 1942 leaving the five siblings alone. The eldest, Jacques, was 17 years old. He tried to keep the family together but had to send the youngest children to live with foster families.
In June 1943 all the children except for Jacques were ordered to go to the UGIF children’s home in Rue Lamarck, Paris. Soon after, Jean was sent to the trade school in the rue des Rosiers and Nathan, Annette and Paulette were moved to an orphanage in Place Roux, Louveciennes where Annette and Paulette were cared for, among other children, by Denise Holstein.
In January 1944 Nathan, Annette and Paulette, along with others including Denise Holstein, were moved to a different building in Louveciennes at Rue de la Paix, when the Nazis took over the first building for their own use.
At 6am on 22 July 1944 the Nazis arrested all the children from the orphanage (except my mother who was in hospital in St Germain en Laye with measles and then hidden in a convent until 1945). Nathan and Annette were taken to Drancy and then sent on convoy no. 77 to Auschwitz and straight to the gas chambers. Nathan was 12 and Annette 6.
From arrival at Drancy, Annette was listed as Danielle Szklarz in error.
Jacques, Jean and Paulette survived. The story of the Szklarz family is the inspiration of the book The Young Survivors. written by the author of this biography, Debra Barnes. The reader is also invited to read more information about Nathan on the blog of the author.