Marc Bromberg escaped the fate of some 6,100 Jewish children, arrested in Paris during the Holocaust. Most of them were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland where they died.
Nonagenarian Scientologist Marc Bromberg was 9 when France surrendered to the German forces in June 1940, and 10 when he and his mother were separated from his father. Two years ago, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, in an article in the European Times, Bromberg shared his memories of life as a Jew under Nazi occupation all those many years ago. International Holocaust Remembrance Day marks the anniversary of the 1945 liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
Here is his story:
When France fell in 1940, the country was divided in two. The North, including Paris, was under German military occupation; Southern France maintained nominal sovereignty under the rule of Marshal Petain, head of the notorious Vichy regime.
Bromberg’s parents were Jewish. His mother was born in Paris, but his father arrived in France at age 2, classifying him as a foreigner. Living under direct Nazi control put his father at far greater risk of arrest and deportation to an internment camp than his wife and son.
“My mother, always far-sighted, smuggled him across the demarcation line between the German-occupied zone and the so-called free southern zone in the summer of ’41,” says Bromberg.
After summer vacation, Bromberg went back to school in Paris, but his mother was “very aware of the danger that the first anti-Jewish discrimination measures posed to our family,” he says. “She quickly realized that she and I should also leave the occupied zone.”
She decided they should join her husband in the south, and they crossed clandestinely into the “free zone” in October ’41. After a few weeks in Lyon, they settled in the Haute Loire in the Massif Central, where they remained in relative safety through the rest of the war.
His mother was proved right in July 1942, just nine months after they escaped, when nearly 14,000 Jewish men, women and children were arrested in Paris by the French police and held in a sports arena under deplorable conditions. At the end of July, 3,000 children, by then separated from their parents who were already deported, were shipped to Auschwitz, where they were killed.
As shocked as he was, he realized that he could not change the past. He hoped perhaps someday he would find a way to ensure a better future, but he didn’t learn how until many years later.
Bromberg completed his schooling, earned an engineering degree, and began working in the industry. It was then that he first encountered Scientology.
’I always thought there was something inside me that I couldn’t define that had drawn me to the religion founded by the renowned L. Ron Hubbard,” he says.
Bromberg describes the first Scientology conference he attended.
“I received answers that satisfied the need for understanding that I had as an engineer,” he says. “In this sea of data and factors that life entails, I glimpsed a light that would open the way to understanding.”
Bromberg continued his studies of Scientology, joined staff at a Scientology Church, and in 1996 he assumed a position at the Church of Scientology European Office of Public Affairs and Human Rights where he worked in interfaith relations—a position where he could take effective action to end religious discrimination against any faith and in any form. He worked with other religious leaders and scholars and, until last year at the age of 91, taught an annual course in Scientology to students at a university in Brussels.
“So I stayed with it, and it did change my life, my view of others, including my communication with them, my wife and children,” says Bromberg. “I am still pursuing this quest today with Scientology. And I continue to discover true answers, ‘engineer’ answers, that enlighten my life.”
For more information on the human rights and interfaith activities of the Church of Scientology, visit the Scientology Newsroom or watch episodes of Voices for Humanity featuring activists who use human rights campaigns supported by the Church of Scientology and Scientologists to guarantee a safe a better future for people of all faiths.
Voices for Humanity is a Scientology Network original series of short documentaries introducing change-makers from all faiths, cultures and nations who extend help to their communities through Scientology-sponsored humanitarian programs.
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