On the nights of July 16 and 17, 1942, French police rounded up 11-year-old Joseph Weismann, his family, and 13,000 other Jews. After being held for five days in appalling conditions in the Vélodrome d’Hiver stadium, Joseph and his family were transported by cattle car to the Beaune-la-Rolande internment camp and brutally separated: All the adults and most of the children were transported on to Auschwitz and certain death, but 1,000 children were left behind to wait for a later train. The French guards told the children left behind that they would soon be reunited with their parents, but Joseph and his new friend, Joe Kogan, chose to risk everything in a daring escape attempt. After eluding the guards and crawling under razor-sharp barbed wire, Joseph found freedom. But how would he survive the rest of the war in Nazi-occupied France and build a life for himself? His problems had just begun.
Until he was 80, Joseph Weismann kept his story to himself, giving only the slightest hints of it to his wife and three children. In the original French version of this book and in Roselyne Bosch’s 2010 film La Rafle, Joseph shares his compelling and terrifying story of the “Roundup of the Vél’ d’Hiv” and his escape. Now, for the first time in English, Joseph tells the rest of his dramatic story.
The book is published by Indiana University Press.
“Weismann’s narrative is an achievement to be grateful for.” (Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler’s List)
“Extraordinary…and timely…a powerful insight into what it is like to be on the receiving end of the demonization of a race or religion.” (Peter Grose, author of A Good Place To Hide)
“In bearing witness, Joseph Weismann has written a book that is indispensable for the enormous task of understanding the Shoah.” (Les Chroniques de Miawka)