1890-1944 | Naissance: | Arrestation: | Résidence:


This biography was researched and written by the 9th grade students of the “Badinter” class at the Marais de Villiers middle school in Montreuil-sous-Bois, in the Seine-Saint-Denis department of France, with the guidance of their history and geography teacher, Claire Bertrand.

We initially began the project during the 2019-20 school year, but the COVID-19 epidemic stopped us in our tracks. At that time, we had very few resources available to us. During the 2022-23 school year, therefore, the project was relaunched, with the aim of gathering together additional records and searching for any possible descendants. Having written a Facebook message to everyone we could find with the name Frankfower in June 2022, Carole, the daughter of one of the survivors, contacted us in August that year. With the extra records and Carole’s help, our task became easier, although there still remain a few unresolved issues.

We are delighted to be able to share our work with you here.

A family of Polish descent

Fanny – Rosa – Sarah
Gitla – Gypojiale (the mother) – Perla – Jacob – Wolf (the father)
Source: Family photo kindly provided by Carole Frankfower, Wolf and Gypojiale’s granddaughter
Taken in around 1930-1931

Gypojiale Aguemann was born in Warsaw on June 28, 1890. Her parents were Radine and Bassa Crikman. On March 28, 1909, Gypojiale (the spelling varies according to the source) married Wolf Frankfower, also in Warsaw.

The town of Warsaw in around 1900

The couple had eight children, seven of whom were born in Warsaw: Fanny, born March 6, 1910; Rosa, born April 15, 1916; Jacob (Jacques), born April 11, 1918; Sarah, born August 10, 1921; Joseph, born September 17, 1922; Gitla (Gisèle), born August 10, 1925; and Perla (Pauline, Paulette), born December 28, 1928.

Their last child, Maurice was born in the 12th district of Paris on March, 1931.


The move to France

Wolf Frankfower moved to France on November 26, 1929. He arrived legally, having been granted a visa. We are not sure whether the rest of the family arrived at the same time as the father, and nor do we know what prompted the Frankfowers to leave their homeland. We wonder if they were victims of pogroms, or living in poverty.


Source: French National Archives, Pierrefitte.

Photograph taken in December 2022 by Claire Bertrand

The family set up home at 10 rue de la république in Les Lilas, a working-class neighborhood of single-story brick houses. They were designed by the architect Emile Cacheux, a French public housing specialist. The houses he designed were built in the 1870s.

Thanks to the 1936 census of Les Lilas, we know that Cypoja and her family (apart from the eldest child, Fanny) lived at this address until they were arrested..


Les Lilas municipal archives

Arrests and deportation

Between 1940 and 1944, despite being fairly well “protected’, the family came under threat from the French government’s anti-Semitic policies and due to their political activities. First of all, in September 1939, Jacques (Jacob) was arrested for his militant Communist activities, which were deemed dangerous. He was then interned in the Vernet camp in the Pyrenees from October 1939 through September 1942, prior to being deported on Convoy 37 to Auschwitz, where he died.

Source: French National Archives, Pierrefitte

Joseph was the next to be arrested. On May 14, 1941, he was arrested during the “green ticket roundup”, which targeted foreign Jewish men. He was interned at Pithiviers, then transferred to Drancy camp, from where he was deported on Convoy 6 on July 17, 1942. He too died in Auschwitz.


Source: Shoah Memorial, Paris

Next came Gitla (or Gisèle), an apprentice leatherworker, who was arrested and interned in Drancy on February 19, 1944 until March 7, when she was deported on convoy 69. She never returned home.


Source: Shoah Memorial, Paris

The Frankfower family was gradually decimated by the Vichy government’s anti-Semitic policies. Four more members of the family were arrested in July 1944, just as the Allies were liberating northern France following the Normandy landings. Wolf, Gypojiale (Cypora) and two of their children, Sarah and Maurice, the youngest child, were rounded up.



Source: Shoah Memorial, Paris

According to the Drancy registration records, the family members were all assigned to the same staircase and room number (3.4), but later then moved and split up. Sarah and Cypora appear to have stayed together in building 4.2, while Maurice and his father appear to have been separated and put in buildings 6.4 and 4.3 respectively. Ten days later, all four were deported on the last transport from Drancy, Convoy 77, which left for Auschwitz-Birkenau on July 31, 1944.

Separated from their children, Wolf and Cypora were murdered in the gas chambers of the Auschwitz killing center. They left their homeland in the hope of a better life in France, the country on which they had pinned so many hopes for themselves and their children and “the land of human rights” for so many of the migrants who had moved in France. They were sent back to their native Poland to die, simply because they were Jewish.


Claire Podetti, Claire Bertrand, Carole Frankfower

Reproduction of text and images

Any reproduction of a biography, even in part, must be approved in advance and in writing by the Convoy 77 association. To request permission, please fill in the form here: Form
If you wish to use any image from the French Defense Historical Service (SHD), please go to their online request page “Request a duplication”.


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