This account was started on December 2nd, 1997 and was dictated to me in French by my father Daniel Mayer over a period of about 18 months,
until the time of his death. We called it:
EACH OF US COULD
WRITE A NOVEL
My name is Mayer Daniel, born on January 10, 1908 in Bollendorf, a small village
near the county seat of Bitburg (Kreis Bitburg, Bezirk Trier), across from Luxemburg,
on the Sauer River. Half of the village is Luxemburger and the other half
is German. It was a beautiful village that attracted many tourists and had many
hotels, for example the Hauer or Michels (Hotel de la Poste) or Wirtz on the Luxemburg side.
In the summer it was a nice area, tourists took walks in the forests. In
the winter, there was snow and in January there was often flooding when the Sauer overflowed its banks.
We were 8 children and I was the youngest.
My sisters and brothers had made up a song when I was born: “You, we didn’t need.” We were 5 brothers and 3 sisters, the grandmother and my parents.
We had a wonderful, unforgettable family life. My grandmother was my mother’s
mother and lived with us, she came from Bollendorf and was called Tante Minette. Her
maiden name was Levy and she was a sister of Marx Levy. She married a Bonem from
Trittenheim. She helped with the housework.
When she could not see so well anymore, her grandchildren would say to her: ”Grossmutter, now you have worked
hard enough, sit down and rest” and she would cry and say: ”I always
did all the work and now they won’t let me help.” When
I came on vacation, I always brought her presents, aprons, or shoes or knit sweaters and she was very proud that her children
took good care of her.
I never knew my grandmother’s brother, Uncle Hermann Levy, also a brother
of Marx Levy, who died in 1914 and had a roof-tiles business. He was born handicapped
and walked with crutches. He was very learned, people came to ask his advice. My mother took over the tile business after he died, she was already in charge of
the bookkeeping; she was also well educated.
My grandmother died in the 20’s, she was very old. My mother was born in 1863 in Trittenheim, her name was Babette Bonem and she married
Salomon Mayer who was born in 1865 in Könen near Trier. My father had a brother Victor
in Könen who had a reputation as a drinker. Even when someone drank water, we
would say he was a “Shaskener” like Uncle Victorchen. He was a baker
in Könen and Daniel Levy apprenticed with him. My father had an older brother
named Karl who lived in Bollendorf. He was married to Tante Adèle and had a son
Siegfried who had married Isaac’s Delphine from Bollendorf. Uncle Karl
worked with my father as “eitzes geber” [advice giver] and as “balsasser” [intermediary] and he would
earn a small commission. He was not a hard worker and not very sharp. When we were expecting smuggled horses coming from Luxemburg, Uncle Karl would pace up and down around
the border bridge between Luxemburg and Bollendorf and he would make everyone nervous because he ran the risk of being noticed
by the customs officers. He was not a “Chochem” but he was very nice. My father had 2 sisters, one in Hopstädten, Bertha Weill, wife of Moses Weill, and
a sister Fanny in Gemünde who had married Gustav Strauss, a cattle dealer. Bertha
had one son, Elias, who fell during the First World War, and 4 daughters: Selma who married Albert Levy from Bollendorf, the
parents of Bella from Pittsburgh; and also Sophie who married a Stern,
Mina who married a Mayer and Betty and Ida. Fanny and Gustav had Selma, the wife
of Jack Hayum from Vineland, New Jersey, Julius also from Vineland, and Moritz.
My father was a cattle dealer, he was a good man, he took good care of his family,
made his children become educated and gave them lessons. He helped people who
were poor and had troubles. He gave money to charity associations. He was a very capable businessman. He was a pious man, he
went to synagogue often, he was President of the Board of Directors and never missed a Friday night or a Saturday morning
service. He knew a lot about religion and the precepts, he went to the Maariv
and Minha services. He knew how to read from the Torah and often led the services. Every morning, he put on his tefilin and said his prayers. He would remind me often to put on mine and sent me to do it if I had forgotten.
When his mother-in-law wandered around the house at night, he would promise
her money if she stayed in bed and did not get up during the night. That money,
she put aside for me and the other children. My father was very heavy and had
a good appetite. He went around in a horse-drawn carriage to look for horses
to buy and sell and he sent the “meshores” [employee] to bring them back.
When he went to Trier every 2 weeks to the horse market, a stable boy
accompanied him with the horses for sale and brought back the ones he had bought. There,
he would meet the Thals of Bernkastel [Herta Eichberg from Israel was a Thal daughter] who
were his friends and with whom he did business. One day, my father took me to
Bernkastel to visit them for 2-3 days and we were very well received.
Later on, my father bought a car, an NSU (Neckers-Ulm), which
was driven by either my brother Max or the employee. My father had studied in
Könen until the age of 15 and then he learned the trade of cattle dealer. He
came to Bollendorf and married my mother around 1885. When he left in the morning,
he would take a little sandwich, and if he did not get to eat it, he would bring it back home in the evening and give it to
me, telling me he had gotten it from the mouth of a rabbit (HasenBrot). He sometimes
went to Hopstädten to see his sisters. He also went with my mother to visit my
sisters Netta in Wiesbaden-Bierstadt, Paula in Cochem and Bertha in Differdingen. He also accompanied my mother when she went to the baths at Wiesbaden.
He died young at age 67, in 1932, in Bollendorf.
My mother Babette went to school in the city of Luxembourg and she learned French and English. She was very well educated and also had studied business. She took care of my father’s bookkeeping because many horses were sold on credit and you had to know
what you were doing. She also ran Uncle Herman’s tile business, she put
in orders and sold and did the bookkeeping. I remember that when there was a
tile delivery, we would unload down below by the garage on a big piece of land near the Sauer and we would count by 2’s: 2-4-6-…etc. My mother had help
at home -- a cleaning lady, my sisters, a laundry lady to do the wash, the ironing and mending. She had rhumatisms in the joints and her hands were very swollen and misshapen. She died in 1942 of a natural death in Bollendorf after having been shipped to Wolfenbüttel near Berlin
where all the Bollendorf people had been sent to allow for the construction of the Siegfried Line. Her daughter Paula and her husband Leo Hein were with her.
On the occasion of St Nicolas, we would get presents -- fruit, apples, pears,
candy in a basket, and I would recognize my mother’s hands misshapen by arthritis pushing the basket inside the room
while hiding behind the door. The evening of Nicklaus’s arrival, on December
6, we would stand behind the door and sing: “Lustig, Lustig, Tralalala,
Nu ist Nicklaus’Abend da. Nicklaus war ein guter mann der gut “achel”
und “schask’ne” kann!. [Joyful, Joyful, tralalala, Finally St Nicolas eve is here. Nicolas
was a good man who knew how to eat and drink well.]
My brother Salli once teased me by saying: “Quick, go behind the door
and sing Nicklaus, Nicklaus“ so I started singing, but it wasn’t even St Nicolas.
The construction works of the Siegfried Line caused the destruction of the Jewish
cemetery in Bollendorf. Once the work was completed, non-Jews were authorized
to go home, but the Jews from Bollendorf and neighboring villages were all assigned to live in one house. Daniel Levy’s house had been sold in 1939 and was occupied by the buyer, a certain Doekendorf. Later on, these Jews were all sent to Trier to another house and from there they were then shipped to the
concentration camps. That’s what happened to Paula and her husband Léo
Hein. My mother died before the deportations began.
The eldest of my brothers was Maurice (Moritz), he was 18 years older than me. He was the owner of a big store specializing in textiles, clothing and underwear in
Wittlich, on the Mosel,
near Trier, called “Josef und Mayer”. He married late, with Mimi, and had a
son Carlo. He left Germany at the beginning of the war and settled in Malmédy in Belgium where he had a wholesale textile
business. Then they moved to Liege. He was deported to concentration camp with his family.
After Moritz came Paula, the oldest of the sisters, the mother of Helen from
Louis and of Friedl. Her husband was Leo Hein from Cochem by the River Mosel, he was a cattle dealer.
She had learned to cook at the “Pension Winter” in Wiesbaden where my mother Babette Mayer stayed when she went to the spa. She was deported to concentration camp with her husband. Their oldest daughter Helen was in hiding in Marseilles during the war and survived, she left for America to join her aunt Netta and uncle
Max in 1946. Friedl, the youngest, went to France with Bertha and Siegmund Lazard
(her aunt and uncle) and Renéechen (her cousin). They found shelter in Verteuil-en-Charente
where Renée died of illness, and from there all three of them were deported to
Netta was the next one, Johanetta, who married Karl Mayer from Bierstadt-Wiesbaden
and had a son Walter. Netta also learned to cook at the kosher “Pension
Winter” in Wiesbaden. Karl was a cattle dealer.
They emigrated to St Louis before the war, around 1937-38. Karl died in the
60’s and Netta in 78. Karl was very kind and affectionate. Walter married Helene and had 3 daughters, Gail, Nancy and Debbie.
Max is the fourth in the family, he had taken over his father Salomon’s
business and had stayed in Bollendorf. He was a fine horse rider, and during
the 1914-18 War he served in the cavalry, the “Siebten Jäger” in Trier [7th Hunters].
He married Hedy from Birkenfeld and they had 2 sons: Freddy (Manfred) and Kurt.
They left Germany in 1936 and settled in De Soto, near Saint Louis, Missouri, where he had a farm and raised cattle and grew some crops. Uncle Max retired in St Louis and Freddy continued to run the farm and also taught mathematics at the De Soto High School. Freddy and his
wife Liz had Linda, Susan and Michael. Kurt and Eva started a real estate business
and had 2 sons, Barry and Ronnie. Max died in 1992 at the age of 96 and Hedy
in 1995 at 94.
Julius was the fifth one, he was a handsome boy, he died 3 weeks before the
end of the war of 14-18 in Verdun at the age of 21. We have photographs of his grave
at the military cemetery.
Salli was the sixth one. He didn’t
serve in the 14-18 war because he was exempted because of his health. He worked
in Wittlich in the textile business of his brother Maurice. He was a very good
salesman. He visited his customers with Maurice’s collection. He would arrive in a village and in each house, he would sell the same material. He married Else Hess from Wittlich and had 2 sons: Micha and
Gadi. They emigrated to Israel in 1936. Salli worked
in a dairy near Tel-Aviv and had a few cows. He died in 1971 of prostate cancer. Else died in 1997. Gadi and Micha are
married and still live near Tel Aviv.
Bertha is the seventh, she married Siegmund Lazard from Differdange (Differdingen)
in Luxembourg. He was a cattle dealer too and also had a wholesale
butcher business. They had a little girl, Renéechen, who died young of illness
during the war. Bertha and Siegmund were deported to concentration camp from
Verteuil in the Charente region in France.
As for me, I was the last one. I
went to elementary school in Bollendorf and then I went to the Gymnasium [High School] in Cochem. To prepare for high school, I took private Latin lessons from the Catholic priest of Bollendorf. I had a lot of friends in school, we played soccer, we did sports, I started riding horses at the age of
6. The stable boys were my friends and let me ride even though my parents had
I was pretty “Chutspedig.” One day, I was sent to the grocery store to buy pepper and I bought peppermints instead.
My brother Salli saved me from drowning once when children teased me: “Look
at that hen in the Sauer River, go get it quick, you can still cook it,”
and I went in and almost drowned but my brother Salli was coming home from school right then. he jumped in the water and caught
me by my hair which was still very long. I went home and my sister Netta was
sewing at the sewing machine and I went close to her and she says to me: “Give me a kiss” and she realized that
I was soaking wet. She was very upset and sent me straight to bed in broad daylight and for me, that was a serious punishment. From
then on, we called my brother Salli “Salli Mayer, Lebensretter” (Life Saver).
We would go to the forest to cut wood, which was forbidden because it was a
private forest and the warden would chase after us. When I came back from the
forest with a nice branch, my grandmother would say to me: “ Come, you
deserve a nice piece of bread and butter!”
We would go pick blueberries in the forest with a bucket when it was the season. When people found a nice spot full of blueberries, they would say they had seen wild
I learned Hebrew with the hazan of the community and I didn’t like to
go there because his house smelled of mildew. He lived near the Sauer in the
house of Daniel Levi’s mother Caroline, which was regularly flooded and never had time to dry between floods. Julius Levy, the hazan, came from Cochem to help me prepare for my Bar-Mitzvah. He was newly married and would bring his wife to the Cheder, set her in his lap and ask the students: “Who
has the most beautiful wife in Bollendorf?” and the whole class would answer: “Herr Lehrer Levy [Mr. Teacher Levy]”. The sidra for my Bar-Mitzvah was ”Beshalah”.
One day, a client of my father’s came to buy a horse. We showed him several
and he liked one of them, and I said to the buyer that the horse limped and my father said right away: “Du bist ein Tüchtiger Mann, du sagst die Fehle des Pferdes zum Kaufer “[You are a clever man,
you tell the customer about the horses’ defects].
After elementary school, I went to Cochem to High School where I learned Latin,
French and English. I was eleven or twelve years old. I lived with my sister Paula who had just gotten married. When
farmers would come to their house on business and they asked who I was, my brother-in-law Leo would answer about his wife:
“Den hat Sie gehabt” [She already had that one]. One day they
sent me to Seel to buy cheese, it was 3 or 4 Kilometers on foot. When I came
back after a few hours, Helen, my niece, was born, and I was told she had just arrived by train from Coblenz.
I found that strange and I even went to the train station to check on the train schedule, but there was no train and
the story didn’t fit. I did not know anything about how babies are born.
I stayed in Cochem for 3 years. I
was not a very good student. I had a lot of friends in school, Rudi Hirsch
for example. I played soccer and other sports. I took violin lessons and I didn’t like it very much, I had to go to Seel, 3kms away and if on the
way I saw a game of soccer being played, I would lean my violin against a tree and go play instead of going to the lesson.
At age 14, I went away on my apprenticeship.
My father took me to Merzig by train with my suitcase and clothes and things.
On the way, my father noticed that there was a hole in my sock. He took
out the can of black shoe polish and put some on my skin where the hole was. It
was a 3 to 4 hour trip. I went to work for Emil Kahn who had built a three-story
department store and sold clothing, material, shoes and furniture. In the same
store, my oldest brother Moritz was already working as head salesman, he had already worked there twenty years before for
Abraham Kahn, the father of the present owner. I lived with the Kahns in their
villa on Saarbrücken Allée, I shared a room with another apprentice, Julius Schloss,
we slept in the same bed. Julius always rolled on me while sleeping and
I would tell him: “Don’t come too close to me while I sleep because I have a disease, “Gefallene Krankheit,” and when I have fits I start hitting.” And so Julius was afraid to come too close and he left me a lot of room in the bed. [Julius Schloss emigrated to the U.S, we found him in Skokie, IL and we called him.]
On Sunday morning, we had to clean the villa.
Sometimes I would go to farmers to buy chickens for the Kahn family, they were alive and we had to have them “Geschecht” [killed ritually]. All the meals were
taken with the family, all of us together at the same table. I was
good friends with the maid Marie, she came from Merl and would always spoil me, she put aside desserts for me, sausages. Mrs. Kahn would keep an eye on what the employees were eating, she was very stingy
and would say to my brother Moritz: “Herr Mayer, essen Sie Konfitur, es ist Teuerer wie die Butter,” and my brother
would reply: “Die Butter ist mir teuer genug” [Mr. Mayer, eat jam,
it’s more expensive than butter… Butter is expensive enough
Everyday except Sunday, we were at the store.
I would straighten out, make sure that every item had a label and I also sold in the shoe department. I remember that if we had a difficult customer for a suit, we would put some money in the pocket of the
suit and when he tried it on, we would say:” Try to put your hands in the pockets” and when he felt the money,
he would decide to take the suit and at the register, we would remove the money. What
a circus! That was something else! If
a customer left without buying, we would run after him to tell him to come back because he had forgotten something in the
store and Emil Kahn would then ask him if this umbrella was his, or something else, and the customer would say no, but then
the boss would take over to try and sell him something. If we noticed that
someone had stolen something, we didn’t say: ”You stole something” but we said: ”What is the size
of the item you have in your bag?” and people had to pay. There were a
lot of shoplifters, you had to watch out and if we recognized someone who had tried to steal before we would warn the other
salesmen by saying: ”Show this lady the new DLG shoes” [DLG=Das Luder
Ganneft]. Once, a customer left with merchandise and we noticed when we were
straightening out that a pair of pants from one suit was missing, a vest from another, and that they had been stolen. We went to the train station and found the merchandise in the restrooms
at the train station.
Emil Kahn had a son who was younger than me, Walter. I went to his Bar Mitzvah and I would bring him to our house in Bollendorf on vacation. When his mother gave birth to his sister, he was very sad and said: ”I just lost half my fortune.” Mrs. Kahn also helped at the store, she was very capable, when a bolt of material
did not sell well, she would have a dress made for herself in that material and when women customers came in, she would take
them aside and say: ”Here, I’ll let you have 3 yards of that for yourself too.”
After 3 ½ years, I left Merzig to go work in Colmar in Elsass [Alsace], where
a traveling salesman had found a job for me with Chaussures Franzen in the Bäcker Gasse.
I had a room and took my meals at the Geismar Kosher Pension. I was an
apprentice and shoe salesman. I liked the city.
On Sundays we would take a walk with friends, there were many Jewish gatherings.
They called me the “Schwob” [from Swabia]. After a while, I became homesick for my mother, I called
her and she said to come home. Later, I went to work with my brother Moritz in
his store in Wittlich. Salli also worked there, he was a traveling salesman. Then I went to work with Edward Wolf in Düsseldorf, he sold fabrics. I stayed there 2-3 years and I had a room in their house.
Then I worked for C. Heinrich Starcke in Schlettau (Moenchengladbach), near
Leipzig, in the Erz Gebirge [mountains], a manufacturer of curtains and supplies for window treatment.
I was a traveling salesman for them. Around 1933, I went to show the collection
of samples to a customer and he asked me if I was Jewish. I answered yes and
he showed me the door and said “Raus” [Get Out]. In the evening
I wrote my report to my boss and told him that I had the impression this customer wanted to copy my collection and have the
models executed by a competitor and that I had therefore left. My boss called
me to congratulate me. That was my last job in Germany before coming to France, and I quit in 1935.
In Düsseldorf, it was necessary to protect the synagogue; at night we took turns
watching it and standing guard, sometimes we had to beat the Nazis with a stick, there were 5 or 6 of us.
I was part of a soccer team, the Macchabees, and we had tournaments. Sometimes the referee was very mean; if it looked as though our team was about to win, he would call for
extensions until the other team won.
I had a lot of friends, men and also lady friends, we would go out a lot, went
on walks, boat rides, traveled to sea resorts (for example to Knocke Le Zoute, in Belgium).
One day I brought a lady friend to Bollendorf. She stayed in a hotel and
I stayed at home, and she walked down the street, and my brother calls me to the window and points to this woman. I don’t tell him that I know her and I bet him that I can seduce her on the spot. I run after her, talk to her and bring her back to introduce her to my brother, who is astonished. When my mother asked if she was Jewish, I answered: “Nanicht, ein Rabbiner’s
Tochter “ [And how, a rabbi’s daughter].
I also went out to concerts and the opera with my friend Paul Nussbaum. He was a great music lover and would conduct the orchestra from his seat along with
the conductor. We were often together, but when I wanted to go out alone, I would
tell him: “What’s the matter, you don’t feel well? You look a little pale.” And since he was a little anxious
and concerned about his health, he would go to bed.
A friend of mine, Paul Rosenthal, was a paint manufacturer in Düsseldorf, we
would go out together. He was the one who told me about the store for sale in
Nice, which was called CPCM (Comptoir des Produits Chimiques et Métallurgiques) and he handled the purchase. We bought it together from Horst Weinberger who then emigrated to South Africa. (He came back to Nice in the 70’s
with his wife Renée and he was very nice and a good friend; he lived up the street from Rue Chateauneuf and died around 1985). We paid with money my mother had given me.
We gave the money to a person I didn’t know with whom we had set up an appointment in a post office. She had a piece of a postcard, I had the other piece and both fit together and that’s how the deal
was concluded. In 1935, I left for Nice and I worked in the store with Paul Rosenthal. The store was at 6 Rue Bardon. I had
a visa for 2 months and I lived at 4 Rue Bardon at Madame Mouton’s. I
thought Nice was very beautiful, with the sun and the palm trees, I thought I was in a dream.
I went to synagogue on Rue Dubouchage with Polnische Jews, there were quite a few interested parties who came to see
me to marry off their daughter. The Merovka family in particular wanted me to
marry Irène their daughter with whom I played tennis. They would ask me about
my business. “Schänes Geschäft” [a nice business you have] they would
say, and I would answer: “Viele Chovet” [Many debts]. That cooled
I spoke a little French that I had learned in school. Paul Rosenthal told me that when I visited our customers, the painters, I should ask them: “How‘s it going?” [Ça gaze?]. I would visit
our customers and transport the merchandise ordered on the back of my bike. My
visa was extended several times until it finally became permanent, especially after I married a French national. I did not have a lot of money and I would go to the beach at lunchtime instead of eating. In the evening, I would say Bon Appétit and go to sleep without eating.
One day, after I had accumulated some savings, I wrote my mother in Bollendorf
to ask if Renée was married. Since she was free, I wrote to her in London where she was working for the Kujinski
family as an “au-pair” to learn English and I asked her to marry me and she said yes. Her father Daniel Levy was a first cousin of my mother’s, his father was the brother of my maternal
grandmother. Renée came to visit me in Nice for a few days, she stayed in a hotel
and I was not allowed to go up to her room, I had to wait for her downstairs.
The wedding took place in Echternach on January 3rd,
Nussbaum’s. We had a meal with the family, my brothers and sisters,
my mother, my in-laws Daniel and Mela Levy, my sister-in-law Marthe, Uncle Marcel and Tante Marthe on the Grosbous side. Rabbi Serebrenick from Luxembourg married us. We got
married on January 10, 1938 in the City Hall of Thionville in France so that Renée would not lose her French nationality. On our honeymoon, we went to Milan to the Hotel Rosa and we went to La Scala and saw “Carmen.”
Our first apartment was at 32 Rue Chateauneuf, 4th Floor. Rosenthal left at the beginning of the war and I bought his shares, or actually, Marthe bought the shares
because the business had to be owned by French nationals, in 1939. In September
39, war broke out and I enlisted as a volunteer in the French army, but they wouldn’t take me because of my flat feet. I had even brought Renée with me to the barracks and I asked if she could live with
me there. The sergeant told me: “But
Sir, just imagine, if everyone brought his wife!”
On September 3rd, 1939, the Ministry of the Interior decreed “the rounding up
of foreigners coming from the German Empire” and their internment at the Fort Carré d’Antibes. Daniel
Levy, Renée’s father and I, we spent 2 months there and then we were interned in the Camp des Milles, near Aix-en-Provence,
in an old tile factory. We were then transferred to another internment camp,
St Nicolas, near Avignon, a branch of Les Milles. We
were eventually liberated because we both had French wives.
In August 1940, Nice was still a free city, but soon after it was occupied by
the Italians. We had to put blue paper on the windows because of the curfew. There was a shortage of heating material, wood was sold by weight and they wet it
to weigh even more. The French militia began making lists of Jews. Their food ration cards and their identity papers were stamped with the word JEW. Foreigners were protected by the Italians. We had to hide,
Daniel Lévy and I, under the roof of the apartment building we lived in. Food
was scarce. Renée and Marthe, who could still go out, had to go up to the hills to farmers to try and find carrots and oil to feed Suzanne; there was no milk.
In 1943, the Germans arrived. Raids
began immediately. From our apartment along the train track, we began to see
the deportation trains. Many foreigners were taken.
Then the store was placed under the guardianship of a Government administrator,
in accordance with the instructions of the Vichy government. That administrator had the keys to the
store, the accountant also had the key, it was as though the store did not belong to us any more. We had hidden the merchandise with customers. We were in hiding
at our neighbors’. We all had false papers.
In 1937, Helen, my niece, left Germany and went to Luxembourg.
She stayed there from 1937 to January 1941 and when Luxembourg became occupied and had to be “Juden Frei” [Free
of Jews], she left for Marseille. She joined the thousands of refugees already
there. Marseille was an important harbor in free France, a gathering point. Helen was traveling with some friends and she wrote us in Nice, we wanted her to come
join us but we didn’t have room for her traveling companions (2 rooms for 6 people).
But I wanted to give her money and Marthe was the only one who could bring it to her.
She took the train but had no address, she had to ask for the refugees and finally was shown a big building, a former
warehouse on the Harbor where the refugees were housed and could get meals. No
sign of Helen. Finally, by pure luck Marthe recognized Alfred Levy from Bollendorf, Gustav’s brother, who always wore
some kind of hat. He was able to tell her that Helen came in the evening for
dinner, but didn’t sleep there. So Marthe gave her some money. Helen managed to spend the war working for a family in Cassis near Marseille, and in 1946, with the help
of Uncle Max and Tante Netta, she left for America.
After a period of hiding, in 1943, at our friends the Giribones and in a convent,
the Mayers left Nice and entered Switzerland clandestinely. Switzerland accepted as refugees families with
a child under the age of 6. Marthe, Mela, Daniel Levy went to the
southwest of France where they lived on a farm and survived the war. We
all found ourselves in Nice again in 1944. The store reopened and we started
working again. Life was hard, there was very little food, but slowly things
got back to normal.”
[This is where Daniel Mayer, my father, stopped the story of his life. Life improved for the family, Nice was building and rebuilding. Beatrice, my sister , was born in 1946. My grandparents Daniel
Levy and Mela lived very near us and we saw them everyday until they died in 1968 and 1971.]