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Survivor Profiles: Adele Zaveduk

It's been 70 years since this ended, but there are still people that live today that have suffered. And we don’t want the next generation – my grandchildren’s generation – to go through the same thing.

Adele Zaveduk

Her Story:

Adele Zaveduk was born in 1937 in Paris, France. When Adele was just three years old, her father was called up into the French Foreign Legion to serve in Northern Africa. On July 16, 1942 the Germans gave an order to arrest as many Jews as they could in Paris. Adele’s father was arrested and sent to the Velodrome D’Hiver, a bicycle stadium in Paris where Jews were kept for days without food, before being taken to Drancy, a camp in the suburbs of Paris. From Drancy, her father was taken to Auschwitz.

Adele’s mother found a non-Jewish family about 70 miles from Paris in the town of Brou, and took Adele and her sister there. When they arrived, the home was a dilapidated two room structure with no water or plumbing. Adele recalled: “She shared everything. When there was food, she shared the food.”

After liberation, life stayed fairly normal for Adele and her sister until one day in June, 1945: “We were outside playing… and Madame called us up. There was a man, very skinny, tall man and she said, ‘This man just came back from the war and he is your father and he wants to take you back to Paris with him.’ And we did something we had never done before, we ran away. We had no father, we had no mother. Who is that stranger? He was very, very thin, he looked very sad, and we didn’t want to be with him.”

Adele’s father went back to Paris, and said he would be back soon to bring the girls home. After about six weeks, their father came back and took them on a train to Paris where they were placed in an orphanage for 2-3 months because “he had no where to keep us.”

Like her father, Adele’s mother also ended up in Auschwitz, and was eventually liberated by the Allied troops and taken to Sweden as part of a prisoner exchange. She was kept in Sweden for about a month while she was brought back to health in a hospital. Once her mother was well enough, she was sent back to France, found the girls’ father and came to the orphanage with him. The girls moved out of the orphanage and back into the apartment that the family had lived in before the war.

Adele’s father passed away in 1951 from a heart attack, and after that event, Adele’s mother moved the family to Argentina where two of her brothers had been living since the end of the First World War. Adele met her husband in Argentina, got married there, and her first son was born there. She moved her family to the United States after a resurgence of antisemitism in Argentina.

Adele served as a Board Member at the Museum and was an active member of the Speakers’ Bureau for over 25 years.

Learn More:

Chicago Tribune article Survivor Talk Part 1 Survivor Talk Part 2

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