Holocaust survivor leaves Scottsdale to visit family that saved her life
PHOENIX — Charlotte Adelman, an 86-year-old Holocaust survivor who lives in Scottsdale, reunited in France with the family who saved her life more than 70 years ago.
In July, she visited 78-year-old Alain, his immediate family, and his 92-year-old sister Ginette with the help of GoFundMe.
“We just returned from Paris last week and we all had the most epic and memorable trip,” the GoFundMe page, created by Adelman’s daughter, Roz, said. “From the moment we arrived, everything was magical.”
Adelman isn’t able to travel alone, and Roz said this was her final trip to Paris. She visited her father’s and stepmother’s graves and stopped by the orphanage where she and her brother stayed.
It allowed Adelman to reconnect with her past and see how the land has changed since she was in hiding as an 8-year-old girl.
In a video made with the We Remember Holocuast Art Project, Adelman recounted how her family was split up and she was moved from safe house to safe house.
Her first stop was an orphanage before she moved in with a woman who lived near the Eiffel Tower — but after finding out the woman was planning to sell her to the Germans, Adelman fled with the help of the apartment complex’s janitor.
Adelman briefly reunited with her father before finding the home of Alain and Ginette.
The family helped keep her safe for nine months. Alain was only 4 at the time, but Ginette, 18, brought meals to Adelman and “truly cared for her while she was hidden,” Roz wrote on the GoFundMe page.
The family kept her safe, and one night, they allowed her to sleep in a bed in the real house so she could feel “normal.”
That was the night the Germans came.
Adelman hid under the bed. According to Patch.com, Alain pointed to the bed at one point; his grandmother put a bar of soap in his mouth and said it was bath time.
The bayonet a German soldier poked between the mattress and floor barely missed Adelman.
“I knew if they were going to find me, they would pick up the whole family… they would kill them all,” Adelman said.
She managed to hide from the Germans. Now, 70 years later, she’s back in France.
Alain is now a math professor, according to AZ Jewish Life.
He and Adelman met in Paris; but first, Adelman had to stop by Musee de la Shoah, the Holocaust Museum in Paris.
She stopped to find her mother’s name written on the memorial. The woman died in Auschwitz. Her father and brother survived the Holocaust.
After visiting the museum, Adelman reunited with Alain.
He was so warm, loving, caring and grew up to be such an amazing man, husband and father,” Roz wrote. “It seemed as though they never lost touch! Their connection was immediate and undeniable.”
Alain also convinced her to visit Beaumont en Argonne, a town in Eastern France where Adelman hid during the war.
“While the interior had changed, they remembered the home vividly. The town square was exactly the way my mom described,” Roz said.
They also visited Ginette, who lived near the town.
“It was a very emotional reunion between a (then) young girl and her young caregiver,” Roz said. “Traveling to this town and the chance to thank this family gave my mom a sense of closure that not many survivors have a chance to do.”