Two classes, a 10th grade class of German-speaking students and the 11th grade class specializing in History-Geography-Geopolitics-Political Sciences (HGGSP), both from the Marcel Pagnol High School in Marseille, worked together on this project to address the following question: What was it like to be a woman or a child during the extermination campaign in Europe?
The students carried out their investigation using the archived records about six deportees: three women, Margarete ALT, Anna TUGENDHAT and Henriette COVO, two children, Marcelle KORSSIA and Suzanne KOSLEWICZ and a teenager, Marcel KRAJZELMAN. Each of the classes contributed its own skills: the 10th grade class, with the German-speaking students, translated the archives, carried out part of the historical research and put it into context, while the 11th grade class of HGGSP students acted as their tutors during the investigation and helped them develop a critical approach to the sources and the historical silences in each deportee’s life story.
They split into groups according to the investigations to be carried out and then pooled their work. All the projects are related to each other and are organized in similar format. For example, for Marcel Krajzelman:
- Investigation: Who was Marcel Krajzelman?
- The historical silences in Marcel’s story.
- The exhibition in the CDI (Documentation and Information Center, similar to a school library): pooling and presentation of the students’ work on all six projects, school outings, testimonies, visual aids, and sources vs the gaps in the story.
- Students’ observations: Why is it important to work on the history of women, children and teenagers? How does your work help to combat prejudice?
I) Investigation: Who was Marcel Krajzelman?
1) At the beginning, how many records about Marcel did you have? What did you learn about your deportee from these records? What hypotheses did you put forward?
At the start, we had 7 pages of records about Marcel in the Veterans and Victims of War dossier provided by the Convoy 77 non-profit organization, www.convoi77.org. We discovered that the deportee Marcel Krajzelman was Jewish and Polish.
He was born on April 21, 1929 in Warsaw, Poland, and died on August 5, 1944 in Auschwitz after being deported on Convoy 77 on July 31, 1944. His last known address was the UGIF center, a children’s home, at 70 avenue Secrétan in the 19th district of Paris. He was detained because he was “JUDEN”, meaning Jew.
The hypotheses we put forward are:
- That the photo is somehow related to the UGIF center?
- That it is a family photo of Marcel? We think that he is the little boy.
- That there were some survivors?
- That there might be some more recent records?
2) What did you learn by contacting the archives services and/or other people?
We found some additional information from the online archives and from the archivists.
Through the Shoah Memorial archives, we discovered that Marcel lived on rue Bastroi in Paris1 and that he is in the first row on the right in the photo2. On the list of people deported from Drancy camp to Auschwitz, which includes Marcel, there are also the names of two other people we are working on, Suzanne Koslewicz and Marcelle Korssia.
Marcel Krajzelman was interned on an unknown date in the Drancy camp by the “Befehlshaber der Sicherheitspolizei“, the German Security Police Commander operating in France. He was detained under the Nazi category « Jude », meaning Jew, and was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp on July 31, 1944.
His father was Slama David Krajzelman, who was born on May 10, 1899 in Siedlec. He lived in 17 rue Basfroi in Paris and was arrested during the Green Ticket Roundup. He was deported from Drancy to Auschwitz on Convoy n°1 on March 27, 1942. He died in the camp. His mother’s name was Henda, also known as Ida. Her maiden name was Machina and she was born on February 27, 1902 in Warsaw. She and her husband were Polish. She was deported on Convoy 26, which left on August 31, 1942, and she also lost her life.
Marcel’s older brother, Joseph Krajzelman, was born on January 26, 1924. He was interned for the first time in Drancy in 1941, then released because he was ill with oedema or muscle wasting disease6 He was arrested again in 1942. His first name and surname are on the list of internees in the Rivesaltes camp dated 04/09/1942 and the list of internees who left for the occupied zone on 29/07/1942. The internees were listed by name, surname and the department of France that they had come from. Interned women and children were assigned a train car and notified of their destination. Some people were released. The internees came from the following departments: Cher, Haute-Vienne, Indre, Dordogne, Corrèze, Creuse. The name Joseph Krajzelman is on the list. On September 16, 1942, he was deported on Convoy n°33.
Marie Krajzelman was Marcel’s sister. She was born on August 15, 1935 in Paris and was sent to stay at the Saint Mandé center at 5 rue Grand Ville, after her parents were deported, as was Marcel. She and her brother were rounded up on July 22, 1944 on the orders of Aloïs Brunner.
The roundup on Avenue Secrétan took place during the night of July 21-22, 1944, at 70 Avenue Secrétan in the 19th district of Paris. The Secrétan center was a children’s home run by the UGIF, the Union Générale des Israelites de France, or Union of French Jews. The victims were deported from Drancy to Auschwitz on Convoy 77, on July 31, 1944. This was the last large convoy to leave from the Bobigny railroad station. The Lucien de Hirsch School is the oldest Jewish school in France: it was founded in Paris in 1901. On April 20, 1944, when the Lamarck center was bombed, the Lucien de Hirsch school became a UGIF home for orphaned children; the young boarders and their supervisors (125 children and 52 adults) were all transferred from the Lamarck center to the school9.
The round-up on July 22, 1944, involved six UGIF centers in Paris and the surrounding area: Secrétan, Vauquelin, École du travail, Saint-Mandé and Louveciennes. The following day, a second roundup took place in the two UGIF homes at La Varenne-Saint-Hilaire. Then, on Tuesday, July 25, it was the turn of the nursery in Neuilly. The roundup at the home on avenue Secrétan took place on July 22, 1944, just before dawn.
On March 28, 1954, a commemorative granite plaque was hung on the façade of the Lucien-de-Hirsch school. It bears the inscription “Souviens-toi” (Remember) and lists the names of the children and adults who were taken from the school and deported.
According to the chronology of deportations in the Memorial Book of the Federal Archives in Berlin, 1,300 people were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp on July 31, 1944. The convoy arrived on August 3, 194410. Marcel and his sister died during the deportation11.
From the French National Archives, we received some information about a certain Suzanne Krajzelman, a potential member of Marcel Krajzelman’s family, who was living in the Hérault department after the Second World War12. According to Mrs. Elisabeth Perrier of the Hérault Departmental Archives service, there is a record that refers to Suzanne13. She was born on May 15, 1926 in Warsaw, Poland, and was arrested and transferred to Drancy in April 1942. She was a seamstress. Her birth name was Krajzelman and it later changed to Cros. In 1946 she was living at 16 Argenterie in Montpellier. Another record says the opposite, that she was born Cros and then took the name Krajzelman14.
There are two records that mention Suzanne Krajzelman:
Suzanne Lyza Krajzelman was born on May 15, 1926 in Warsaw and was the sole survivor among her family members. She died on September 13, 2000 in the south of France15. The records refer to her by several names: Zira, Zyra, Lysa and Zyza. When she was interned in Drancy in 1942, she was 18 years old. Might she have managed to escape?
Her cousin confided in a journalist, who wrote an article on the memory of the children from the UGIF center16. Suzanne told her that she had received a letter from her sister Marie and her brother Marcel, sent from Drancy, in which they explained that they were fine and that they were going to be deported. They also said they were all full of hope and courage.
Marcel is commemorated in an exhibition at the Camp des Milles in Aix-en-Provence, which we visited during our school trip on March 1, 2022.
3) Were there any lulls during the research? Why? Did you anticipate that you would be able to write such a detailed biography when you began your research?
Yes, there were lulls during the official research as it restarted in 2021. For us, yes, there were periods of inactivity because we were missing information.
No, we did not expect to produce such a complete and detailed biography of this deportee.
4) In what way does your work contribute to the remembrance of Marcel?
This work contributes to the remembrance of Marcel because we will not forget him, we are performing a task of remembrance and we are telling his story.
II) The historical silences in Marcel’s story:
1) What are “historical silences”? And were there any such silences in Marcel’s story?
The “historical silences” in this context are the witnesses’ lack of will to testify or feeling under pressure not to say anything due to the fear of being judged or because they do not know what really happened to them. Marcel was only 15 years old, so very few traces of his life remain.
Historical silences are obstacles in writing a memorial project and, for example, different family names are found in the sources, in this case Krajzelmann, Kryzelman and Krajzelman.
2) What does it mean to be a child? And a teenager?
From birth to 14 years of age, a person is regarded as a child, and from 14 to 17 years of age he or she is regarded as an adolescent. There were 11,000 French children under the age of 16 deported because they were Jewish from March 1942 to August 1944. Marcel Krajzelman is therefore regarded as a teenager, or adolescent.
3) What particular types of violence did Marcel experience? And children and teenagers?
Marcel was separated from his parents and some of his brothers and sisters. He may have been afraid when he was in the Sécretan center and when he was deported with his sister on Convoy 77. Marcel died during his deportation, perhaps from hunger or cold.
The forms of violence inflicted on children and teenagers were mainly of a medical nature. They were used as guinea pigs in experiments, such as the sterilization of young women. Also, newborns were drowned.
The psychological effects were most often trauma due to the appalling living conditions with lack of sanitation, exposure to the cold, and lack of sleep. The physical effects were most often illnesses, such as tuberculosis.
4) The roles of children and teenagers involved in or opposed to the extermination process:
The children did not receive any special help, but some adults took care of them. Nevertheless, in the autumn of 1943 the youth block was created, block number 5, and some of them worked half an hour less per day. They wore an armband saying “Lehrling“, which means apprentice.
5) How does your work contribute to keeping the memory of the deportation alive? And that of Marcel?
Our work contributes to keeping alive the memory of the deportation as well as that of our deportee because we study records and carry out research so as not to forget this violence or what happened.
6) Can you list some adjectives to describe Marcel’s life?
SHORT, COURAGEOUS, VIOLENT, TRAUMATIC.
Sources : 17
III) The exhibition in the library: pooling and presentation of students’ work on all 6 investigations, school outings, testimonies, visuals, sources compared to historical silences.
IV) Students’ observations
BRAVO to Emma, Katell, Ilies, Tidjane and Milhane with the guidance of Ms. Laetitia Bouillon, their German teacher and Ms. Morgane Boutant, their History and Geography teacher.
9 Wikipedia page in French on the roundup at Avenue Sécretan and Serge Klarsfeld, Le mémorial des enfants juifs déportés de France (Memorial to the deported Jewish children of France), FFDJF, 1994.
10 Information received in response to an email sent by students to the Arolsen Archives on December3, 2021, according to Sigrid Hebe.
11 Marcel Krajzelmann’s death certificate, dated April 7, 2015, ref. 21 P 482 371, Ministry of Veterans and War Victims archives, provided by the “Convoi 77” non-profit association.
12 Information received in response to an email sent by students to FranceArchives on November 22, 2021 according to the FranceArchives team.
13 Card number 14575 dated September 14, 1946, ref. ADH 168J17, information received in response to an email sent by the students on January 10, 2022 to the Hérault Departmental Archives service and in a telephone call on January 11, 2022 with Elisabeth Perrier of the Hérault Departmental Archives service.
14 Letter from Montpellier City Hall to Suzanne, dated October 4, 1946, ref. ADH 168J17, information received in response to an email sent by the students on January 10, 2022 to the Hérault Departmental Archives service and in a telephone call on January 11, 2022 with Elisabeth Perrier of the Hérault Departmental Archives service.
- Michelle PERROT, Les femmes ou les silences de l’Histoire, Flammarion, Paris, 2020. Quatrième de couverture.
- Association MNEMONSYNE, Coordination Geneviève DERMENJIAN, Irène JAMI, Annie ROUQUIER, Françoise THEBAUD, La place des femmes dans l’histoire, une histoire mixte, Belin, Paris, 2010. Chapitre : Femmes et hommes dans les guerres, les démocraties et les totalitarismes (1914-1945).
- Mémoire vivante, Dossier pédagogique du CNRD 2008-2009, Les enfants et les adolescents dans le système concentrationnaire nazi, Bulletin de la Fondation pour la mémoire de la déportation, numéro 57, Paris, septembre 2008.