David P. Boder Interviews Marcelle Kahn; August 21, 1946; Paris, France



In her interview, Anne Marcelle Kahn elaborates on the dangers faced by Jews in Marseille after the German occupation of the Vichy zone in November 1942. (Such dangers had been noted by her father, Abraham Schramack, in his interview.) She also adds some pertinent details to the daring and grueling escape of the Kahn family from France to neutral Spain across the Pyrenees. This was the same route her husband, Admiral Louis Kahn, had taken to effectuate his escape, most probably in the summer of 1940. Her proactive, risk-taking, and resolute endeavors to escape the Nazi threat were fortunately met with success, and she and her children were able to reunite with her husband in Free French-controlled North Africa.

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