David P. Boder Interviews Charles Jean; August 21, 1946; Paris, France



Charles Jean was in the French army at the outbreak of the war. He was captured by the Germans but escaped and returned to his home in the Vichy-controlled zone of France in 1940. When he was summoned for compulsory labor service in Germany in 1943, he joined the FTP-MOI, the communist wing of the French resistance and was an active resister until the liberation of France at the end of the summer of 1944. The majority of interview is devoted to Charles Jean's time in his resistance group, which operated in south central France.

Regarding this interviewee's surname, it is possible that as the family chauffeur, "Charles Jean" was called familiarly by his first two names. Since the exact spelling of "Jean" is not known, it is also possible that this was his surname.

This interview is part of a group of interviews with the eminent Kahn family and their chauffeur taken in Paris on August 21, 1946 during an evening at the home of Admiral Louis Kahn. The interviews were conducted in the following order: Abraham Schramack (Mrs. Kahn's father), Jean Kahn (the family's younger son) Anne Marcelle Kahn, and her husband, Admiral Kahn. These are followed by an interview with the family's chauffeur, Charles Jean, who during the German occupation was in the French resistance. The Kahns were among the approximately 150,000 French Jews who had deep roots in France. (Another 200,000 Jews in France during the Holocaust were more recent immigrants.) Despite their long-standing residence in France, the Kahn family lived a precarious existence during the Occupation. Due to his service in the French navy, Admiral Kahn was separated from his family at the start of the war and was not in France during the war years.

—Elliot Lefkovitz