Brinberg, Georgette

Georgette Brinberg was born June 10, 1938 in Villerupt, France.  Her parents had emigrated from Poland in the 1920s, looking for opportunities.  They began their lives in France in Villerupt, a border town in the northeast known for the metal trades.  When the war began and the German blitzkrieg fell on France, Villerupt was heavily bombed in the early days of the war, so Georgette’s parents headed to paris with their two daughters.  In 1941 the anti-Semitic laws in France were ratcheted up, and Georgette’s father was arrested in the billet vert round-up in May 1941.  The women of the family were on their own, and now forced to wear the yellow star.  They too would become victims of a round-up, taken to the Velodrome d’Hiver in July 1942.  Georgette and her sister were separated from their mother while they were held there, but a man took pity on the two girls and showed them the way out.  On the street outside, fortune shone upon them as a man picked them up and drove them to a village called Moree, where the girls would come under the care of Mme Tardif, who kept them safe and hidden for the duration of the war.  The girls pretended to be the nieces of Mme Tardif, and they learned to act as Catholic girls for the next three years, attending church with their new protector.  When the war came to an end, Georgette’s sister took Georgette back to Paris, and Georgette was put into the care of a Jewish aid organization and taken to Israel, where Georgette lived on a kibbutz for the next few years.  Her sister brought her back to France and in the mid-1950s the two sisters emigrated to Canada.  By this time, Georgette wanted to learn what had happened to her parents, and she began to research their fates, uncovering the details of their deaths in the Shoah.  Both parents had been taken to transit camps in France, and later deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they were murdered.  With this knowledge Georgette decided that it was time for her to share her story, something that she has been doing through the Montreal Holocaust Nuseum for a number of years now, and thanks to them Crestwood students were able to zoom with Georgette in February 2022.