Denise Khaitman Schorr

b. 1930

Denise Khaitman Schorr was born in Paris to Russian immigrants. Her family ran a shoe business. Although her parents did not provide her with a religious upbringing, Schorr always had a strong Jewish identity, which was reinforced by her experiences during the war. When World War II broke out, Schorr was a teen-ager. Her parents were visiting relatives in the US, and although they had the opportunity to stay and to send for their children, their patriotism prompted them to return to Paris. Three days before the Germans arrived in Paris, the family escaped to the countryside in a truck filled with relatives. Schorr came back to Paris on her own but was quickly followed by her parents, who did not want the family to be separated. They managed to stay together throughout the war.  During the war, Schorr became involved in the French Resistance through the Union Generale des Israelites de France. She worked as a social worker with displaced children and placed them with Gentile families through underground connections. Schorr has maintained close and affectionate ties with two children whom she helped save. Toward the end of the occupation and after liberation, she also helped adults and elderly people who were in hiding.  Schorr married an American man who was part of the force that stormed the beach at Normandy. They met soon after the liberation of Paris and were engaged after three dates. She returned to the US with him in 1946. Until 1969, they lived in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, where her husband was the director of the Jewish Community Center. Schorr taught cooking, wrote cookbooks, and catered, while she and her husband raised their 5 adopted children. Schorr also served in myriad volunteer positions at the JCC and their synagogue. Today, Schorr gives testimony to school children about her wartime experiences and is completing her memoirs.

 

Scope and Content Note

Schorr discusses her childhood in Paris as well as her familial history and Jewish identity before the occupation of France. She then reflects on growing antisemitism and the occupation of France by the Nazis, which led Schorr to join the resistance, starting in July 1942. Schorr talks about her experiences in the resistance, including transferring of Jewish children to gentile families and the presence of the Nazi force. After liberation, Schorr continued her work as a social worker and her immigration to the USA. Lastly, Schorr shares her experiences speaking in schools, sharing her story.

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox

Read the latest from JWA from your inbox.

sign up now

How to cite this page

Oral History of Denise Khaitman Schorr. Interviewed by Judith Rosenbaum. 14 June 2000. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on May 18, 2024) <http://jwa.org/oralhistories/schorr-denise>.

Oral History of Denise Khaitman Schorr by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.