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Table of Contents



Volume 22

Alexandre Citrome

50 ans de ma vie

published by the
Concordia University Chair in Canadian Jewish Studies

Copyright © Alexandre Citrome, 2002

Key Words

Transylvanie; Debrecen; Bologna; New York; Paris; Zurich; Mulhouse; camp Barcarès, near Spanish border; Légion étrangère; La Vallebonne, a Foreign Legion camp; Drancy; Compiègne; bakery in Frankfurt; New York; Montreal.


Family origins; schooling in Debrecen; apprenticeship in father's bakery; university baccalaureate; rising antisemitism; effect of depression (1930) on family business; siblings leave for America; studies briefly in Bologna; remaining family emigrates to Paris; economic difficulties caused by lack of residence permits and language; short-term illegal jobs between periods of unemployment punctuated by a series of love affairs; in September 1938 he returned to Debrecen in response to his call-up notice for military service which to his surprise was postponed due to the crisis situation in Central Europe; when he was called again he had organized reasons for a medical discharge that he received after three weeks in uniform; efforts to return to France via Zurich; arrested while crossing the border and jailed in Mulhouse; declaration of war was followed by an offer of residence to those who volunteered to serve in the French army - which he accepted; inducted into the Foreign Legion and sent to camp Barcarès; transfer to La Vallebonne; again succeeds in getting a medical discharge in April 1940; German occupation of Paris; round-up and internment in Drancy; transfer to Compiègne; liberated in 1942 on the basis of Hungary being an ally; evading new round-ups made life increasingly difficult; decided to present himself at a recruitment bureau for voluntary labour in Germany; succeeded in being accepted for bakery work in Frankfurt; the bombardments by the allies; return to Paris; the risks of illegal living; liberation; marriage; naturalization; Became proficient as fur cutter; U.S. visa arrived and he went alone to explore the possibilities in New York; disappointed return to France; December 1951 left with family for Canada via New York; 1952 arrival in Canada; establishment in the fur business; records the major events in the family, in his work, until retirement; then this memoir was written in 1982-1983.

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