These are some of the many faces of Charles Roman, one of the most remarkable people I know. His is one of the featured stories in a new documentary entitled “A Pause in the Holocaust.” You can find some info about it under Charles’ photos.
I took these photos as he was telling someone the story of his journey from Austria to France to Italy that began when he was 10 and he and his family fled to escape as the Nazi’s began their occupation. His father was sent to Auschwitz and was killed and he and his mother escaped to the French town of Saint-Martin-Vésubie and then crossed the Alps, with others, on foot, to a little town in Italy named Cuneo. He brought a box camera along with him that he had previously received as a gift for his birthday and took photos during his journey. Some of these photos are the only known ones in existence. I took photos of his photos and will gladly post them if anyone is interested. Eventually he came to New York where he started a very successful business which he recently sold. Charles is 82 & sharp as a tack. His story is incredible and believe it or not, has a bit of humor to it as well. I would guess that his sense of humor served him well.
An interesting side note…..after going through everything he did and finally getting to the United States, he was drafted and sent to fight in the Korean War! He didn’t even speak English! Seems they took both citizens and non-citizens then. Maybe they should consider doing that again.
A Pause in the Holocaust
In the summer of 1943, thousands of Jewish refugees in Italian-occupied southern France enjoyed a rare respite from persecution, protected by an unusual force: the occupying Italian Army, who temporarily shielded local and foreign Jews despite pressure from the Germans and the French Vichy administration. In one Alpine village, Saint Martin Vesubie, life was, briefly renewed as Jews attended synagogues, schools and cafes, and Yiddish was heard as often as French. With the invasion of Nazi troops in September the lull was broken and most of the Jews were deported. Veteran French filmmaker Andre Waksman, whose family survived the Holocaust in southern France, reconstructs this little known World War II history. Torino Film Festival (Italy) 2010 (France, 2009, 52 min)
If you’d like to know more about this period in history, read “HOLOCAUST ODYSSEYS: THE JEWS OF SAINT-MARTIN-VESUBIE AND THEIR FLIGHT THROUGH FRANCE AND ITALY” by Dr. Susan Zuccotti Quite a bit of Charles’ and his mother’s story is in it.