Disparition de l’amiral Philippe de Gaulle (1921-2024)


    L’amiral Philippe de Gaulle, ancien résistant et sénateur de Paris, nous a quittés à 102 ans.

    Sa haute silhouette, son profil aquilin, paraissaient immédiatement familiers. Philippe de Gaulle ne pouvait nier sa ressemblance physique avec son père Charles de Gaulle, de même qu’il avait reçu en héritage son courage, son goût pour les affaires militaires et politiques, et sa passion pour la France.

    Abram Enzel (1916-1994)

    Abram Enzel, was born in Częstochowa, Poland on June 18, 1916 to Chaim and Faigle Enzel. Chaim worked as a Kosher butcher. They had five children; three boys and two girls. Abram was the first born. In 1939, there were 28,500 Jews living in Częstochowa, which is 124 miles (200 km) southeast of Warsaw.

    The Germans entered Częstochowa on Sunday, September 3, 1939, and persecution of its Jews began at once. More than 300 Jews were killed on the following day, which became known as “Bloody Monday.” On December 25, 1939, a second pogrom took place and the Great Synagogue was set on fire. The family survived both pogroms.

    On the morning after Yom Kippur in September 1942, Abram was separated from his family. One brother, Nathan, had previously been taken by the Germans to a concentration camp. The other living members of Abram’s family were gassed and cremated three days later in Treblinka, a nearby concentration camp.

    The Germans sent Abram to work in a munitions plant operated by HASAG (Hugo Schneider Aktiengesellschaft-Metalwarenfabrik, Leipzig), one of the privately owned German industrial companies that used concentration camp prisoners to manufacture armaments. HASAG was the third largest of such companies, after I.G. Farben and the Hermann Goring Werke. HASAG operated four camps in Częstochowa, Poland. The largest, HASAG-Apparatebau, held seven thousand Jewish prisoners. The wages of the Jewish forced laborers were paid directly to the SS, the elite guard of the Nazi state. In general, the policy of Vernichtung durch Arbeit (“extermination through work”) was applied. Selections were held and those no longer fit for work were killed. From July 1944 to early 1945, HASAG transferred most of its equipment and Jewish workers to Germany. No HASAG personnel were put on trial by the Allies in the later Nuremberg war crimes trials.

    In 1944, the Germans sent Abram from the HASAG munitions plant to the Gross-Rosen concentration camp and from there to the Flossenbürg and Dachau concentration camps. One of Abram’s most poignant memories was of his forced move from the Flossenbürg concentration camp to Dachau, along with 500 other prisoners. In a 1973 interview with the Pittsburgh Press, Abram explained that “They made us march at first. But later they herded us like cattle on some old freight cars.” Out of the 500 prisoners who left Flossenbürg, only 18 arrived in Dachau alive, Abram among them.

    On April 29, 1945, the 42nd and 45th Infantry Divisions and the 20th Armored Division of the US Army liberated Abram from Dachau, near Munich, Germany. The very next day Adolf Hitler committed suicide. At the time of Abram’s liberation, he weighed 78 pounds, compared with a healthy 130 pounds before his ordeal.

    After the war in June 1946, 2,167 Jews had returned to Częstochowa to rebuild their community. Abram did not to return. He first recovered in Germany and then operated a grocery store in Bayreuth until 1951, when he emigrated to the United States and settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

    After settling in Pittsburgh, Abram met Dora Weiss, who also settled in Pittsburgh after World War II. She was born in Munkács, Czechoslovakia, now known as Mukačevo, a city in Ukraine. Her parents died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. On June 8, 1952, they married and had a son David who was born on January 21, 1955.

    Dora was later diagnosed with cancer. She passed away on July 30, 1958, at the age of 35. Abram did not remarry. In Pittsburgh, Abram worked in the H. J. Heinz plant and later moved to the Concordia Club, a private Jewish city club in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. He started as a bus boy and eventually moved up to maitre d’. The 30 years Abram spent at the Concordia Club were the happiest of his life.

    David moved to Washington, DC in 1979 and Abram moved to Washington soon after his retirement from the Concordia Club in 1981 to be near his son. Abram passed away on May 10, 1994 in Washington, DC, the capital of the country that liberated him.

    Abram’s oral history is available online from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Another oral history is in the American Jewish Committee Oral History Collection, which is part of the New York Public Library (Dorot Jewish Division). This collection includes over 6,000 hours of taped interviews.

    Robert Clary (1926-2022)

    The Washington Post:

    Robert Clary, a French-born survivor of Nazi concentration camps during World War II who played a feisty prisoner of war in the improbable 1960s sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes,” died Nov. 16 [, 2022] at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 96.


    Mr. Clary was the last surviving original star of the sitcom that included Bob Crane, Richard Dawson, Larry Hovis and Ivan Dixon as the prisoners. Werner Klemperer and John Banner, who played their captors, were European Jews who fled Nazi persecution before the war.

    Mr. Clary remained publicly silent about his own wartime experience until 1980 when, Mr. Clary said, he was provoked to speak out by those who denied or diminished the orchestrated effort by Nazi Germany to exterminate Jews. Twelve of his immediate family members — his parents and 10 siblings — were killed under the Nazis . . .

    Clary was liberated from Buchenwald on April 11, 1945. Clary was the only family member to survive.

    Hogan’s Heroes ran for 168 episodes (six seasons) from 1965-1971, on the CBS network. It was the longest broadcast run for an American television series inspired by WWII.

    Although the show was completely unrealistic, I loved it. It made me laugh then and does so now.

    Michel LeGrand (1932-2019)

    Ever since I was a boy, my ambition has been to live completely surrounded by music. My dream is not to miss out anything. That’s why I’ve never settled on one musical discipline. I love playing, conducting, singing and writing, and in all styles. So I turn my hand to everything - not just a bit of everything. Quite the opposite. I do all these activities at once, seriously, sincerely and with deep commitment.

    Michel LeGrand (1932-2019) wrote the scores for more than 250 films including The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) starring Catherine Deneuve and Yentl (1983), a creation of Barbra Streisand.

    He recorded more than 100 albums, with Maurice Chevalier, Kiri Te Kanawa, Sarah Vaughan, Lena Horne among others . Others who recorded his music included Frank Sinatra and Sting.

    He died on January 26, 2019. He was 86 years old. He was laid to rest at the Père Lachaise Cemetery.

    The Guardian Obituary

    Stella Tennant (1970-2020)

    Stella Tennant, iconic model and fashion designer, died in Scotland on December 22, 2020. She was 50 years old.

    Culture and style critic Guy Trebay, writing for The New York Times, explains that Tennant had deep aristocratic roots but “wore her rarefied heritage lightly throughout her three-decade run in fashion.”

    She was photographed by top photographers including Steven Meisel and Bruce Weber.

    The end of an era, way too soon.

    Remembering Maisie Hitchcock

    I recently learned that, Maisie Hitchcock, a guide on a Rick Steves tour of Switzerland I took in 2018 died peacefully of ovarian cancer on August 9, 2023 in the company of her family members.

    Maisie was a kind, gentle guide who did an excellent job showing us the highlights of Switzerland. Although she was English, she lived in Berlin and spoke fluent German. She enjoyed people and knew how to relate to each person as an individual. Maisie’s father, Robyn Hitchcock, an English singer-songwriter and guitarist wrote a loving memory of his daughter on Instagram.

    Maisie is the third from the left in the photo, above.

    Helen Reddy (1941-2020)

    Singer Helen Reddy, who was born in Australia in 1941, died in Los Angeles on September 29, 2020 at the age of 78.

    I loved her music. Her first hit was a 1971 cover of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” from the award-winning stage show “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Her trademark song — “I Am Woman,” — came a year later. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1972. Reddy was the first Australian-born artist to win a Grammy and the first to make the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

    Reddy did not have an easy life. She had a kidney removed at 17 and lived with Addison’s disease.

    New York Times Obituary

    Guardian Obituary