Chia Simon POLITANSKI was born on December 14, 1894 in Muegow, Poland. Other places of birth, such as Onianow, Unejewie, and Unjejow, are also found. The district of Turek is specified. His parents were Schliam Jenkel POLITANSKI and Hanna Riefkin, née FRANKE (deceased in 1929). He lived in France from 1923 on. On February 21, 1929 he married Jeanne HERSCHENBERG, born on June 5, 1899 in Mulhouse. (A marriage contract was established on February 19, 1929 by Paul BIRCKEL, a Mulhouse notary; the marriage certificate is number 111 in the year 1929). She was unemployed at the time. Her parents were Samuel Isaac HERSCHENBERG and Julie ZCKAWICZ. Simon POLITANSKI was a traveling salesman based in Mulhouse; he appears to have worked later as a haberdasher in Clermont-Ferrand. He and his wife had three children:
- Salomon Léon POLITANSKI, born on November 15, 1929 in Mulhouse
- Marcel POLITANSKI, born on June 26, 1934 in Mulhouse
- Blanche POLITANSKI, born on April 1, 1936 in Mulhouse
A residence certificate made out by police chief Charles KLEIN on July 10, 1951 gives the POLITANSKI family’s successive addresses in Mulhouse:
- 5, rue des Tanneurs, from October 5, 1931 to May 31, 1934
- 10, rue des Tanneurs, from May 31, 1934 to October 22, 1935
- 14, rue des Cordiers, from October 22, 1935 to March 14, 1936
- 5, rue des Fleurs, from March 14, 1936 to September 1, 1939
The POLITANSKI family left Mulhouse on September 1, 1939, first living in La Bourboule (from September 7, 1939 to February 2, 1940) and then settling in Clermont-Ferrand. Two dwellings are known for them in this city: n° 71 rue des Hauts de Saint-André (from February 2, 1940) and then at n°4 rue Villiet during 1940. Simon POLITANSKI’s in-laws, Samuel Isaac HERSCHENBERG and his wife, also lived with them.
Simon POLITANSKI was arrested on June 23, 1944 at his home by the Gestapo and imprisoned in the barracks of the 92nd infantry regiment. His wife managed to escape. When she returned to her apartment on August 10th she found that it had been plundered. The loss was estimated at 128,725 francs, including notably the theft of a wallet containing 100,000 francs.
A note issued by the city hall of Clermont-Ferrand on October 4, 1946 and recopied on the 21st, states :
After his arrest in Clermont-Feraand, Simon POLITANSKI was interned in Vichy, then transferred on July 15, 1944 to the camp at Drancy. He was deported on the 31st of the same month to Auschwitz, where he died at the beginning of August.
- The official certificate of Simon POLITANSKI’s disappearance was definitively established on December 25, 1946 (n° 30 847) further to the procedures undertaken by his wife in September.
- He was denied the mention “Died for France”. His French citizenship could apparently not be proved. In addition, a note established by the Clermont-Ferrand city hall on October 4, 1946 stipulates that, “POLITANSKI Surion(sic), born on December 14, 1894, lived in Clermont-Ferannd from 1940 and was a refugee from Mulhouse. This Jew was considered to be a usurer in his neighborhood. During his residence in Clermont-Ferrand POLITANSKI’s behavior attracted no unfavorable notice. With respect to the nation his attitude seems to have been correct.”
- On March 31, 1948 the head of the department of Dossiers on Political Deportees (Ministry of Veterans and Victims of War, Puy-de-Dôme departmental administration, Gribeauval neighborhood) delivered to Jeanne POLITANSKI (residing at n° 4 rue Villiet) a certificate that allowed her to receive her husband’s captivity pay, since he had “not returned as of this day”. Two people confirmed his disappearance: Madame FRIEDER and Monsieur SPIBER.
- Simon POLITANSKI’s death certificate was finally copied into the record on September 9, 1949 on the civil status register of the city of Clermont-Ferrand (transcription n° 64).
- On September 12, 1953 the Ministry for War Veterans and Victims (Strasbourg interdepartmental delegation) awarded him the status of “political deportee”. Two periods were taken into account: a period of incarceration (June 23 – July 31, 1944) and the period of his deportation (August 1 – August 5, 1944). Testifying on their honor, Flore DREYFUSS of Strasbourg on Decemeber 18, 1951 and Esther ZOBERMANN (also of Strasbourg, but born on May 21, 1926 in Belfort) on January 20, 1953 declared “having had knowledge of the arrest and deportation of POLITANSKI Simon (…) for reasons of race“.
- Simon POLITANSKI’s Certificate of Incarceration is n° 64 709; it was requested in 1956 by the Service International de Recherches (through the representation of Simon POLITANSKI’s widow’s lawyer, L. SCHENKEL, 411 rue du Vieux Marché aux Vins in Strasbourg). She was living at that time in Strasbourg.
NOTE: Two uncles are mentioned — Samuel SPITLBERG in Paris’s 18th district and Aron POLITANSKI. The two oldest children immigrated to Buenos Aires, Argentina to be with the latter.
Sources consulted in the Puy-de-Dôme departmental archives:
68 W 34, 145 W 27, 277 W 99, 277 W 104-105-106-113-115, 368 W51, 900 W 63, 902 W 376, 908 W 192, 1570 W 2-3-5
Cf. https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000000204078&dateTexte= (Arrêté du 3 novembre 1997 portant apposition de la mention « Mort en déportation » sur les actes et jugements déclaratifs de décès)
Research carried out by 11th-grade students of the Ambroise Brugière high school in Clermont-Ferrand (Allan Bulidon, Célia Couleaud, Vincent Debray, Léa Dexarcis, Clotilde Fernez, Mathilde Grivel, Clément Haffner) under the supervision of Monsieur Frédéric Jarrousse (history and geography teacher) 2016 -2017 school year