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Camp Rivesaltes

Jeannette Bornstein interview by Ellen Klein

JB: It wasn't long before the Gestapo squads were making house searches and rounding up all the Jews that they could find. And we were captured. My mother, my sister, and I were piled in an open truck and transported to an internment camp, a German prison camp, which eventually supplied the slaughterhouse in Poland and Germany. My father was separated from us, and we didn't know his whereabouts.

EK: Was he taken at the same time, or he was somewhere else when you were taken?

JB: He was not with us. And I don't know where he went. We were sent to Camp Rivesaltes in Perpignan. It was the southern part of France. And what I can tell you is that Rivesaltes was a real hell. We lived in overcrowded barracks. We slept on a cement floor that was covered with a little bit of hay. And we were given a very small space. We couldn't stretch our arms or legs without touching another body.

EK: Were you kept with your family?

JB: Just my mother and my sister. My father, we still didn't know where he was. We were cold and always hungry. Our daily rations consisted of a bowl of soup and a piece of bread. Camp Rivesaltes was our home for nine months.

Listen to Jeannette's entire testimony