A Tale of Two Families Betrayed by France and Saved by the French

by Jacques Besnainou

When he was only 13 years old and his mother was losing her battle against breast cancer, Jacques Besnainou promised to someday tell her story as a “hidden child” in France during the Holocaust. In this gripping book, he finally fulfills that promise. He takes it even further by sharing the struggle for survival of two families: his mother’s and his mother-in-law’s.

Both families lived through a terrifying ordeal provoked by the willful blindness of a government gone mad. And both were rescued thanks to the miraculous intervention of courageous people who listened to their conscience and challenged the established order, often at the expense of their own lives. In 1940, about 330,000 Jews lived in France and three-quarters survived thanks to the exemplary altruism of ordinary French people. This book pays homage to them.

Every story and location, as well as most of the dates and names, are real. Some details have been slightly fictionalized to add texture and readability to this novelized history.