When the father was discharged from his military service, the family returned home. Paul always considered this move the mistake that determined their fate. Had they stayed in hiding in Lautrec, all four of them might have survived until the liberation.

In September 1940 Paul did not return to school. He never really inquired why his studies were cut short. His parents were probably afraid to let him out of their sight during the day, for in those months the round-up of Jews had already begun in Paris and they were afraid he would be captured by the Germans. The noose gradually tightened around them. They were troubled mainly by the economic decrees. An Aryan trustee was appointed for Monsieur Jacques shop. He was to monitor its activity, the accounts, and the textile stock. The small stock held by the shop was invaluable. A year later, in November 1941, when the father was caught and sent to the transit camp at Drancy, he would send a postcard to his wife reminding her to guard the fabrics, for which she could get coal for heating.

Despite the new conditions, the family still led a relatively routine life in the winter of 1940-1941 as well. But the happy childhood ended promptly in August 1941. In one of the last weekends of summer, which Helene and the boys spent in the country as usual, the father joined them for what would be their last time together. On Monday morning, August 23, he got on his bike and headed back to Paris.

 

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