A personal journey into a family’s history gradually becomes a historical investigation into the lesser known tragedy of the Nazi’s mass arrests of prominent French Jews and their imprisonment at the “camp of slow death” just fifty miles from Paris.
“This story has haunted me since I was a child,” begins Anne Sinclair in a personal journey to find answers about her own life and about her grandfather’s, Léonce Schwartz. What her tribute reveals is part memoir, part historical documentation of a lesser known chapter of the Holocaust: the Nazi’s mass arrest, in French the word for this is rafle and there is no equivalent in English that captures the horror, on December 12, 1941 of influential Jews―the doctors, professors, artists and others at the upper levels of French society―who were then imprisoned just fifty miles from Paris in the Compiegne-Royallieu concentration camp. Those who did not perish there, were taken by the infamous one-way trains to Auschwitz; except for the few to escape that fate. Léonce Schwartz was among them.