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Jeannette's Biography

Jeannette Bornstein

Jeannette Bercovickova Bornstein was born in Antwerp in 1935 to Czech Jews who had relocated to France and then to Belgium. Shortly after Belgium was invaded in 1940, the family fled to Toulouse, France, where they were hidden with a gentile family. They were caught by the Gestapo and separated. Bornstein, her mother and sister went to Rivesaltes concentration camp, while her father was taken elsewhere. They were in Rivesaltes for nine months before her mother made arrangements with partisan couriers to take the children and hide them in Vence. The family was briefly reunited in Vence, but shortly afterwards her father died. The couriers took Bornstein and her sister over the border into Spain, where their aunt and uncle had escaped, and in 1944 the children were brought to the United States to live with a foster family. In 1949 they were reunited with their mother, which was a difficult transition for Bornstein. In this interview she discusses her journey through France and Spain and the psychological effects caused by her childhood experiences.