The duty of memory: this is what prompted Aline Gani to tell us part of her family’s story. His great-uncle and great-aunt were deported between January 22 and 24, 1943 to Marseille. The Vichy regime and German soldiers rounded up 20,000 people from the Old Port where many Jews lived.
The family drama, told by Aline Gani begins at the end of January 1943 when, with the complicity of the Vichy regime, the German occupiers evacuate 20,000 inhabitants of the old quarters of the Old Port, nicknamed the Petite Naples.
Among those deported to Marseille, the couple Pontremoli : Jacques, Fortunée and their daughter Rachel. He’s Aline’s great-uncle and great-aunt Gani. They had no luck escaping the Old Port roundup in January 1943.
James Pontremoli, brother of the maternal grandmother, his wife wealthy and their daughter Rachel were deported to the Compiègne camp. They had a clothing store in the center of Marseille which was confiscated from them.
“I know they were in a convoy to Auschwitz because the family was listed in the Yad Vashem“, remembers Aline Gani, the cBetween israeli memorialnot in Jerusalem built in memory of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis.
In 1941, his grandparents, his parents and his sister Colette moved to 61, rue Consolat in the 1st arrondissement of Marseille.
Aline Gani was born in 1947 and spent her childhood around the unspoken and the desire to know more.
Maurice Aline’s dad writes sentences or a few words every day on a diary from 1943. A diary that Aline has restored and which allows her to follow her parents’ journey during the war.
Inside are passport numbers, accounts, shopping lists and places in European capitals.
A the date of January 24, 1943, his father writes “census”. If his father had been deported, he would not have written these few words today. tragic.
“Perhaps my parents were in Nice to go to Italy? », asks Aline Gani.
She is certain that during the Marseille roundup, her parents were not in Marseille.
In 1943, the Germans start arresting all the Jews in Marseilles. And vshey, the parentss d’Aline understood this very quickly.
original Jewish-Spanish and of Nationality italian, Maurice, Ginette and Colette then set off towards the village of Moena in the Dolomites.
As for the grandparents, Léon Sidy and his wife Selma Pontremoli, they are hosted by a Greek couple, the Iliadis, in Saint-Laurent-du Cros in the Hautes-Alpes. They stay there for two years until the Liberation.
Only then will the grandparents hear from the family. Maurice, his wife and their daughter leave Italy to go to Switzerland.
His father and grandparents never told of the Second World War roundups. In his family, we do not speak. “No one told me anything, absolutely nothing!”
From the four pages of Grandfather Léon’s biography, she tries to understand what happened during this period. She rereads the four pages tirelessly.
A home is my lips are sealed. No question about the dramas of the war and even less about the disappearance of part of the family Pontremoli.
Aline Gani discovered the story of the Marseille roundup in this biography. She had to read dozens of times to understand the events. The text of his grandfather Léon takes on its full meaning, “a frantic hunt for Jews”.
Aline Gani researches on her own to piece together the missing puzzle of her family.
“Recently I learned from someone who lives in Israel that my cousin Rachel was deported to Compiègne was very beautiful, and that she got engaged in this camp.”
The beautiful cousin will not come back. Rachel killed herself at Compiègne. An incomprehensible gesture for Aline Gani who sees in it the signature of the horror inflicted by the Germans on their prisoners.
Other members of his family have disappeared. “Nobody knows what became of them, that’s why I speak today.”
Time is moving on and Aline Gani is still pursuing her investigations. She then wrote to the town hall of Marseille to find out more, a letter that remained unanswered.
After the war, she lost her mom aged 38 from a long illness.
Today at 75, she remembers the moments of anger that followed this period. A perpetual questioning throughout a lifetime.
His father and his older sister Colette never mentioned the death of “mom Ginette” let alone the horrors of war. “When the trauma is strong, we don’t talk at home”, adds Aline Gani.
She now wishes to register the name Pontremoli in collective memory. A courageous family from Izmir in Turkey who crossed several cities in Europe during the first part of the 20th century.
Pontremoli, a name erased forever on January 24, 1943.
Lstory ofand Aline’s family Gani is in a book “In front of Ginette’s house, there were two pepper pots”, by Brigitte camblain, as well as in a film “From memory to recognition”. Directed in 2019 by Jean-Yves Rivaud and Hélène Léonard, it is screened at the Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv.
French justice recognized in May 2019 the roundup of the Old Port of Marseille as “a non-genocidal crime against humanity”.
Seventy-six years after the events, an investigation was opened on May 29, 2019 by the Paris prosecutor’s office specializing in matters that cannot be prescribed. It follows a complaint filed by a lawyer, Me Pascal Luongo, on behalf of the survivors of this relatively unknown episode of the Second World War.
A trial is underway in Germany against a Master Corporal of the “Totenkopf” (skull’s head) division of the Waffen-SS. He was one of the guards at the Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen concentration camp. A 101 years, It is prosecuted for his complicity in the murder of 3,518 people.