Joseph von Hoppen Waldhorn

Joseph von Hoppen Waldhorn

Born: November 14, 1930

Paris, France

Joseph was the youngest of three children born to immigrant Jewish parents. His Polish-born father was a former officer in the Austro-Hungarian army who had met and married Joseph's Hungarian-born mother during World War I. Joseph was raised in a religious household and grew up speaking French.

1933-39: Joseph's mother says it's better here in Paris than in the poor village where she grew up. Unlike his mother, who speaks broken French, Joseph and his older sisters have grown up speaking French fluently. He attends a special public school funded by the Rothschild family. His father says that the terrible things happening to Jews in Germany won't happen to them here.

1940-44: Joseph has fled Paris and is staying with the sister of a friend who is letting him hide on her farm in Sees in western France. About a year ago, when he was 9, German troops occupied Paris. At first, he wasn't in danger. Unlike his foreign-born parents who were subject to being immediately deported, Joseph was a French citizen. He fled Paris after the Germans deported his father in 1941. Joseph has false papers; his new name is Georges Guerin. His sisters also have false identities and have gotten office jobs in nearby Alencon.

Joseph's sisters in Alencon were discovered and arrested. Joseph managed to remain concealed until the end of the war, and immigrated to the United States in 1949.