Holocaust survivor Albert Garih spoke to students at MTCS on Thursday morning about his escape from Nazi Germany during the Holocaust.
Garih was a small child when his father was sent to a forced labor camp and he and his mother went to live in the basement of a friends home. Albert and his mother later spent the next few nights hiding with their Communist neighbors after police came to their home.
More details below:
Hear more of what Albert told WGNS when asked why he travels the country speaking to children about his struggles as a young Jewish boy in the 1940’s (1min and 40sec)…
Albert Garih and his twin brother were born June 24, 1938, in Paris, France, to Benjamin and Claire (née Alfandari) Garih. Albert’s twin died in infancy. Natives of Constantinople (now Istanbul), Turkey, Benjamin and Claire had each moved to Paris in 1923, where they met and married in 1928. Benjamin worked in a garment factory and the family lived in the janitor’s house at the factory, where Claire stayed home taking care of Albert and his two sisters, Jacqueline, born in 1930, and Gilberte, born in 1933.
In September 1943, the German authorities deported Albert’s father, Benjamin, to a forced labor camp in the Channel Islands, the only British territory occupied by the Axis powers. Shortly after Benjamin’s departure, Claire confessed to Madame Galop, a woman she had met at the market, that she feared being taken away with her children. Madame Galop and her husband invited Claire and her children to stay with them. They hid with the Galops for more than six months during 1943 and 1944, until a neighbor threatened to denounce them to the German authorities.
Claire and her children then returned home, where two French police inspectors came to their door in June 1944. Though they had been instructed by the Gestapo to arrest the Garihs, the police agreed to report that they were not home if the family left immediately. Claire and Albert spent the next few nights hiding with their Communist neighbors, the Ménétriers, while Jacqueline and Gilberte hid on the ground floor of their building with the janitor.
With the help of a local social worker, the Garihs found places to stay. Claire worked as a governess for a Parisian family. Albert was placed in a Catholic boarding school for boys while his sisters were placed in one for girls, both in the northeastern suburb of Montfermeil. The children had no way of communicating with their mother. Though Albert was protected by the headmistress—he suspects she knew he was Jewish—he became incredibly thin and weak from the scarcity of food during wartime.
Learn more HERE.