9 April is Paulette's Day to me. Paulette was my mother and the inspiration behind my book. 9 April was both her birthday and the day she died. Although the anniversary of her death changes each year in the Hebrew calendar (Nissan 25 and therefore on April 25, 2014) I go by the Gregorian calendar and so April 9 is the date that is special to me.
To mark this significant date I shall light a memorial candle and I want to share this incredible photograph which I found on the Yad Vashem photo archive website very recently. I was doing some research and typed in the name of the children's home in Paris which my mother was sent to: Louveciennes. Six photographs came up and the first one was of a large group of children and was dated 07/08/1943, and titled: Children from the Lamarck Center (UGIF), and incredibly I easily spotted my mother sitting next to her twin sister Annette, and their brother Nathan a few rows behind (circled in red). I cannot be certain due to the similarity but I think that my mother is the one on the right, it looks like she is sitting on a boy's lap and she has a very mischievous smile! The twins were five years old and Nathan was 11 years old in the photo. The girl cirecled in purple is Denise Holstein, of whom I write about later.
No-one in my family had ever seen this photo before and I absolutely love it because my mother looks really happy - well, assuming that I am not getting her and her twin sister mixed up. I have written to Yad Vashem to see if I can find out more about the person who submitted the photo to their archive and I am waiting for a response. It is such a shame that mum never saw this photo, I think that she would have really liked it. I think it is safe to assume that very few of the children in this photograph survived the Holocaust, and most probably met the same fate as Annette and Nathan in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.