Jacques, Lazare, Maurice, Salomon, and Suzanne Dziesietnik Identified
September 9, 2014
The members of the Dziesietnik family remember having their photographs taken at a studio on rue de Charonne in Paris sometime in 1945 or 1946. By then, they had lost their father in the Holocaust.
Josef Schmuel Dziesietnik was born in Poland in 1895. He was a tailor who worked at home doing piece work after emigrating to Paris, France. His wife, Fajga (née Chajnowska), was born in 1901 near Warsaw. In Poland, she had been a teacher, but in France she worked as a seamstress. In addition to Pierre-Lazare, Salomon, Jacques, Maurice, and Suzanne, whose photos appear on the Remember Me? website, Josef and Fajga were also the parents of Henri and Charles. The family lived in a small house in the yard behind an apartment house on Rue Neuve-des-Boulets in the 11th arrondissement.
Suzanne remembers well the day in August 1941 when her father was arrested. She was returning from school at 11:30 a.m. Buses were parked at either end of the street to block traffic and to prevent Jews from escaping. The French police rang the bell at their home and took their father. The police said they were taking him for an identity check and that he would return later. The police returned that night, but without Josef. The family never saw him again. According to International Tracing Service records, Josef was deported to Auschwitz in July 1942 and died there the following month.
When the police returned that night, the bell to the Dziesietnik home was broken. The police left when no one opened the door. The family was hiding in the cellar. Fajga and all the children were saved, except for Henri, who had already been caught and deported. Charles was probably in the underground and came back after liberation.
During the war, the children and their mother went by the surname Leblond. The concierge, Madame Ancelin, was a very brave woman who protected the family. Her husband was an antisemite but considered the Dziesietniks “good Jews” and so did not denounce them. Pierre-Lazare, Salomon, Jacques, Marcel, and their mother went to a convent called St. Joseph in Aulnay-sous-Bois. Fajga worked as a cook and pretended that she was deaf and dumb so that her accent would not betray her. During an air raid in which they were bombarded by the Luftwaffe, Marcel fled with the gardener. He was so frightened that he started to stutter; he still does so to this day.
Suzanne, because she was female, was placed in another convent all by herself. She was miserable. She had to learn the Catholic prayers and was baptized as a Catholic. She felt that she was an orphan, and when her mother came to retrieve her five years later, she did not recognize her. One of the Dziesietniks reports that, when they were reunited in their apartment, all the children in the family suffered from scabies. They were taken to a hospital and put under a powerful shower.
After the war, Suzanne went to a professional school run by Organisation Reconstruction Travail (ORT) and learned to be a seamstress. She worked with her mother. She met her husband, a Holocaust survivor named Fiszel Krys, and was married at age 17. Fiszel’s back was broken during the Holocaust. After liberation, it took him 18 months to recover. They have been married 60 years. Fiszel is known as Fernand and still has a strong Polish accent. The couple had a clothing store when they were young and never hid the fact that they were Jews despite the antisemitism they encountered after the war. They have two sons, several grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, all of whom live near Paris. Once, one of their grandchildren’s schoolteachers asked if any of the children had grandparents who were in World War II. Their grandson answered that his grandparents were in the war. The teacher invited Suzanne and Fiszel to speak to the class. Suzanne’s children later remarked that their parents had never told them anything about their life during the war. Suzanne has also been interviewed by a crew from Yad Vashem in Israel.
Fajga lived to be 90 years old. She spent her last years in a retirement home. She died in 1993 after a fall.
Salomon went to Israel in 1946 and raised a family there. He died in 2011. He left a son , who lives in Palo Alto, California, and a daughter, Yigal, who has two children and manages a hotel in Israel.
Jacques moved to the south of France and does not often speak with the rest of the family. Pierre-Lazare is still living as well.
At the end of the occupation, Maurice was placed with OSE in Châteaurose-les-Andelys. In 1953, Maurice went to Israel with the help of “the fund” (probably the Jewish National Fund). He went to school in a kibbutz, and entered the army in 1956. He later returned to France and had a career in intelligence services. He has two children: David, who made aliyah and has five children, and Yael, who has children.