Scottsdale Holocaust survivor hoping to reunite with family that hid her

Mar 27, 2018, 4:00 PM | Updated: Aug 2, 2018, 1:27 pm
(GoFundMe Photo)....
(GoFundMe Photo).
(GoFundMe Photo)

PHOENIX — A Holocaust survivor living in Scottsdale is using GoFundMe to reunite with a member of the family who saved her life more than 70 years ago.

Charlotte Adelman was 8 years old when Germany captured France in 1940. In a video made with the We Remember Holocaust Art Project, she recalls seeing the army enter Paris.

“Oh Papa, look: They are coming to pick up people in trucks,” she said.

In the video, Adelman talked about how her family split up and moved from safe house to safe house. After beginning at an orphanage, she was taken in by a woman living near the Eiffel Tower.

The woman fed her an apple and a piece of bread each day and wouldn’t let her bathe. Eventually, after the Germans offered her money, the caretaker told Adelman she was going to live in a “beautiful castle.”

The janitor of the apartment complex helped her get in touch with a family friend and escape.

There, she briefly reunited with her father before separating again and finding the home of Alain, then 4 years old, and his family.

There, she got a mattress, a lamp and a basin to wash herself with.

“It was so nice,” she said.

Adelman was kept safe in the cellar on the small farm for nine months. The grandmother taught her how to knit and the family took care of her.

“I was very big because I didn’t have exercise and they were feeding me well,” she said.

There was one close encounter: One night, she wanted to be “normal” and sleep in a bed in the real house. The Germans came that night.

She flattened herself under the bed, barely avoiding the bayonet poked between the mattress and floorboards by a German soldier searching the home.

According to, Alain pointed to the bed at one point; his grandmother put a bar of soap in his mouth and said it was bath time.

“I knew if they were going to find me, they would pick up the whole family… they would kill them all,” Adelman said.

Even after this, the family allowed her to stay in the cellar. She didn’t emerge again until her area was liberated.

The community didn’t know she was there.

“They couldn’t believe they hid me, so they made a block party for the village,” Adelman said.

Now safe to be in the public, she went to find her family.

When both of Adelman’s parents were captured in the early-to-mid 1940s, her father jumped off the truck. Her mother would not follow, fearing retribution.

Adelman, her father and brother managed to survive the war. Just her mother did not make it.

After the war, the family moved back to Paris. In the late 1950s, her brother went to dental school in London and Adelman and her dad traveled to America.

Adelman lived in Canada for a few years before meeting her husband. The couple moved to Philadelphia, where she became a citizen.

“I was so proud to be American, because when I became American, they said to me, ‘You are more American than those who are born here, because you chose,'” she said in the video.

Adelman hasn’t seen Alain since the war.

He contacted her on Facebook, apologizing for almost alerting the Nazis to her hiding spot, according to Patch.

The two made a plan to reunite in Paris on July 8 to July 14.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the GoFundMe page had raised almost $4,000 of its $12,000 goal.

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Scottsdale Holocaust survivor hoping to reunite with family that hid her