Myriam Sonnenblick was born on June 4, 1933 in Strasbourg , in the Bas-Rhin department of France. She was the daughter of Aron Sonnenblick, a travelling salesman who was born in Radzow in Poland in 1901, and Rebecca Katz, who was born in Strasbourg in 1902. Myriam was the younger sister of Maurice (b. 1926), Mignon (b. 1927), Perla (b. 1929) and Fernand (b. 1932), and the older sister of Marthe (b. 1934), Jacques (b. 1937), Liliane (b. 1938) and Simone (b. 1940). The Sonnenblick family lived at 196 avenue Jean-Jaurès in Paris. On the Shoah Memorial website, a family photo features a woman with eight children (see links). It must be this very same large family, including almost all of the siblings.
The Second World War; one deportation after another
The Second World War had a direct and devastating impact on the family. On August 24, 1942, Aron was deported from Drancy to Auschwitz on Convoy 23. A memo in the archives states that he died as a result of deportation. In the files completed by Rebecca in 1953, she says that the eldest child, Maurice, took over the care of his brothers and sisters.
When Myriam was arrested, she was staying at 13 rue de Romainville, Montreuil-sous-Bois in the Seine department, but her address was still listed as 196 avenue Jean-Jaurès in Paris. The address in Montreuil-sous-Bois is believed to be that of a children’s home run by the UGIF, the Union Générale des Israélites de France, or General Union of French Jews. Then, from July 25 to 30, 1944, Myriam was interned in Drancy camp, simply because she was Jewish. Her registration number was 25,891.
On July 31, 1944, she was deported to Auschwitz on Convoy 77, along with her younger siblings Marthe, Jacques, Liliane and Simone. This was the last large convoy of deportees to leave Drancy. It took 986 men and women and 324 children, in cattle cars, to the Auschwitz concentration camp and killing center. Convoy 77 passed through several present-day countries: France, Germany and Poland. Over 75% of the deportees were under 50, many of them women. 125 of the children were under 10 years old. They came mainly from UGIF homes in and around Paris. Myriam Sonnenblick was arrested in a UGIF home in Neuilly. In many cases, the children’s parents had already been deported on previous convoys.
The convoy arrived at Auschwitz in the middle of the night. The “selection” took place immediately, to decide who was deemed fit to work and who was not. Of the 1,310 deportees, 836 were murdered in the gas chambers as soon as they arrived at Auschwitz, while 291 men and 183 women were assigned to forced labor. Myriam was one of the people who were gassed. Her official date of death is August 5, 1944. She was just 11 years old at the time.
Her death certificate was issued after the war, on August 7, 1947.
Recognition for Myriam after the war
On September 3, 1951, the Ministry of Veterans and Victims of War awarded Myriam the status of ” Died for France “.
On June 17, 1953, the French National Commission granted Myriam the status of “political deportee”, meaning that she had been deported for political reasons (dossier no. 51,665). On June 18, her mother Rebecca, who had survived the Second World War, received a certificate confirming this. She also received Myriam’s political deportee card, bearing the number 2 1010 62 18 and was awarded 12,000 francs in compensation. Rebecca was then living at 13 rue de Romainville in Montreuil.
- Source : SHD, AC 21 P 540 049, Dossier individuel de Myriam Sonnenblick.
List of deportees whose biographies have been written by students from the Fernand-Léger junior high school in Vierzon, in the Cher department of France, under the guidance of their history and geography teacher, Ms. Mahieu:
- Marie BACRY
- Joseph CHERESS
- Noma CZARKA
- Paul GEVERTZ
- Henri HOCHBERG
- Gaston LEIBOVICE
- Myriam SONNENBLICK
- Daniel STEPANSKI