David P. Boder Interviews Abraham Schrameck; August 21, 1946; Paris, France



Abraham Schramack had a distinguished career as a governmental administrator and political figure during the French Third Republic, which lasted from 1871-1940. Among the positions he held were secretary general of the prefecture of Marseille, member of the Senate, the upper chamber of the Third Republic's National Assembly, and minister of the interior, in which capacity he was head of the national police. Due to his pre-war prominence and despite his advanced age (he was in his seventies at the time of the Occupation), he found himself in peril especially after the German takeover of the Vichy-government-controlled zone of France (the so-called "free zone") on November 11, 1942. Mr. Schramack survived with the help of friends and acquaintances and his own pluck and good fortune. He died on October 19, 1948 in Marseille, a little over two years after the interview was conducted.

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