Henri Hochberg’s family in Metz, France
Henri Salomon Hochberg was born at Place Sainte-Croix in Metz, in the Moselle department of France, at 10:30 pm on July 17, 1932.
His father was a tradesman called Noach (Norbert in France) Hochberg. Noach was born on August 24, 1888 in Podvolotchinsk, a town that is now in Ukraine, but was formerly in Poland and then Russia. Noach was the son of Nisen Hochberg and Esther Glas.
Henri’s mother was Hindla Reizla Weiss (or Bier), who did not work outside the home She was born on October 26, 1907 in Szczurowa, a village near Krakow in what is now southern Poland. She was the daughter of Joel Bier (or Weiss) and Sara Bichter.
Henri’s birth was registered at the town hall by one of his paternal uncles, Max Hochberg, who was a storekeeper in Metz.
Here is a family tree showing three generations of the Hochberg family:
The family’s move to Charente, France
In 1941, the family moved to Mouthiers-sur-Boëme, south of Angoulême, in the Charente department in western France. They stayed on an old French estate called the Logis des Gagniers. On January 15, 1941, a second child, Monique Madelaine, was born there. There was then a third child, Betty, whose date of birth is unknown, and possibly more. The Hochberg family was Jewish.
The separation from their parents, who were deported in 1942
On grounds of their religion, Noach and Hindla were deported on November 4, 1942, two years before their children. They were deported from Drancy to Auschwitz on Convoy 40, and their children were left alone. Henri was taken in at the UGIF (Union Générale des Israélites de France) children’s home at 70 avenue Secrétan in the 19th district of Paris, while Monique went to the UGIF home at 67 rue Édouard-Nortier in Neuilly-sur-Seine. We don’t know what became of Betty.
Henri and his sister Monique
On July 21, 1944, the UGIF homes in and around Paris were raided; both Henri and his sister Monique were rounded up. The reason for the roundups was that during the Second World War, Paris and the rest of France were occupied by the Nazis, with their racist and anti-Semitic ideology. French Jews were particularly affected by the Nazis’ policies and repressive practices, with the help of the French government, officially led by Philippe Pétain. Henri and Monique were reunited after the round-ups, but then on July 31, 1944, they were both deported from Drancy on the last convoy to Auschwitz-Birkenau: Convoy 77. Henri was twelve years old and Monique was just three.
Recognition for Henri after the war
Given the fact that he was so young, Henri was assumed to have been murdered as soon as he arrived at Auschwitz concentration camp and killing center. His official date of death is August 5, 1944.
After his death, the French Ministry of Veterans and Victims of War and the Mouthiers-sur-Boëme town hall began researching Henri’s whereabouts. On June 25, 1953, Betty Hochberg, who had married into the Gefeller family, requested information about her brother Henri. She was then living at 44 Wartweg in Giessen, Germany. A missing persons certificate was drawn up on September 1, 1953, and returned to Betty a few days later, on September 8, 1953.
- Defense Historical Service, 21 P 258 327, death file on Henri Salomon Hochberg.
- Defense Historical Service, 21 P 463 631, Dossier n° 77 931 on Henri Salomon Hochberg.