We Survived....At Last I Speak
by Leon Malmed
Genre: Historical Biography
This is Leon Malmed’s true story of his and his sister Rachel’s escape from the Holocaust in Occupied France. When their father and mother were arrested in 1942, their courageous and heroic French neighbors volunteered to watch their children until they returned. Leon’s parents were taken first to Drancy, then to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and they never returned. Meanwhile their downstairs neighbors, Henri and Suzanne Ribouleau, gave the children a home and family and sheltered them through subsequent roundups, threats, air raids, and the war’s privations. The courage, sympathy, and dedication of the Ribouleaus and others stand in strong contrast to the collaborations and moral weakness of many of the French authorities. Leon and Rachel each came to America after the war, but always kept their strongest ties to “Papa Henri and Maman Suzanne,” who were honored as “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem in 1977. Leon bares his soul in this narrative of love and courage, set against a backdrop of tragedy, fear, injustice, prejudice, and the greatest moral outrage of the modern era. It is a story of goodness triumphing once more over evil.
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Mrs Clausse was a nurse at the hospital of Compiègne. She was a very kind and discreet person. Her husband worked at an auction hall. It was a big warehouse with no heat in the winter and no ventilation in summer.
His work was a demanding manual job. Using a handcart, Mr Clausse collected furniture and household items from residences, loading and unloading heavy pieces all day long. He was a “down to-earth” person always ready to help. Without knowing us, he gave my father a hand when we moved into 17 rue Saint Fiacre.
He liked talking to my father. His wife recalls that he warned my father many times about the dangers of ongoing persecution of Jews. She remembers him saying: “You and your family should go in hiding before it’s too late. People are disappearing, one family at a time. You cannot trust these criminals.”
While he may not have been highly educated, Mr Clausse was a very wise man who had both good common sense and vision. Even with his foresight he did not know how demented the Nazis truly were.
My father would raise his shoulders and respond, “Where can we go? The train stations and the roads are watched. Our I.D. cards show we are Jewish. Jews are not allowed to travel. I do not know how to get fake I.D. cards. Anyway, we are poor. The Germans are not interested in us. They go after the rich Jews they can steal from.”
Dark clouds were accumulating.
Leon Malmed was born in France on October 4th, 1937.
He is a Holocaust Survivor.
He immigrated to the U.S, in 1964. He lived 18 years in New York.
He was a resident of the San Francisco Bay area for 30 years. He and his wife
Patricia now live full time in South Lake Tahoe.
Leon graduated in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Paris. He is a graduate of the Finance Senior Executive program at UCLA and the Executive Institute for Management of High Technology Companies at Stanford Business School.
Leon worked in the High Tech industry in Silicon Valley where he held executive positions for over 30 years. He served on Hi-Tech companies Board of Directors and is currently on the Board of the Lake Tahoe Community College Foundation.
After 60 years of total silence about his childhood during the Holocaust and aftermath, Leon decided to publish his memoir. He is the author of “We Survived…At Last I Speak” available in English, French and Spanish.
His books are available at Amazon.com, Lulu.com, Kindle.com and Audible.com.
Leon speaks about the Holocaust in Schools, Colleges, Universities, Churches, Synagogues, Book clubs and Men and women’s clubs in the US, in Europe and South America. He has been interviewed on TV and radio.
Besides writing books, he loves riding bikes, skiing, sailing and golfing.
He participated last year in the Dancing with the Tahoe Stars and won one of the two trophies.
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