A Hidden Life

A Hidden Life : The Story of Michelle Trop Rubovits

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Michelle Trop was born on June 2, 1938 in Orleanais, France. Her parents, Sonia and Jacob Trop, moved to southern France from Poland in 1936. Their families lived in Poland for many generations. Jacob's father, his grandfather, and all his uncles had been bakers there. Although Jacob made a living in Orleanais as a plumber, Michelle fondly remembered the wonderful jelly roll made for Rosh Hashanah each year after the war. Restrictions were placed on the lives of Jews in Poland. Riots reflected growing anti-semitism, and when Hitler took over Germany, they heard about horrible things happening to Jews. When they moved to France, they thought they would be avoiding these problems. In the early 1930s, two of Sonia's aunts emigrated from Poland to the United States with their families in order to escape persecution. Between 1936 and 1939, life for the Trop family in Orleanais was happy. Jacob's business was going well, and Sonia enjoyed caring for baby Michelle. German troops invaded Poland in the fall of 1939. Britain and France declared war on Germany. Jacob was concerned that France would fall under Nazi rule. The possibility of being sent to a concentration camp or being killed outright was real. He joined the French resistance and arranged for Sonia and baby Michelle to live with a Catholic family on a remote farm in the French countryside. Michelle was only one year old when she arrived at the farm with her mother. They remained on the farm for the next six years. The farmer's wife treated them as family. She told Nazi soldiers that both husbands were away fighting in the French army. In order to protect Michelle and her own life, Sonia didn't tell Michelle much about her father or even that she was Jewish. Sonia knew that if Michelle were questioned by anyone about these matters, she could answer truthfully without any knowledge of either. When a Nazi questioned Michelle about her father, she answered, "I haven't seen my father in a very, very long time." Jacob visited Sonia at night several times over those six years. Michelle never knew when he came and went. She happily played around the farm, climbing cherry trees in the orchard and taking care of her baby brother, Charles, who was born on November 10, 1942. Later Michelle learned that her father had hidden in a cherry tree to avoid being discovered by Nazi soldiers. When the war ended in Europe, the Trop family moved back to Orleanais to resume their life together. At seven years old, Michelle's first memory of being Jewish was when the family celebrated Passover that spring, and her father brought out the Matzoh. She knew nothing about Passover, had never seen Matzoh before, and had not tasted chicken soup with matzo balls. From that time onward, her family celebrated the Jewish holidays, and Michelle began to learn Hebrew. Spring of 1945 was also when Sonia's American cousin, Mitchell, came to visit the family in Orleanais. Michelle remembered being in awe of this handsome American soldier when he visited. She couldn't understand what was said because her parents spoke Yiddish, a language similar to German used mostly by Jews from Eastern Europe. Mitchell had learned Yiddish from his parents. With the help of Mitchell's family as sponsors, the Trop family, including Jacob, Sonia, Michelle, Charles and another daughter, Annick, born October 11, 1946, were able to immigrate to the United States in 1950. Today, Michelle lives in Joliet, Illinois with her husband of 53 years, Rabbi Charles Rubovits.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 26 pages
  • 216 x 279 x 2mm | 112g
  • Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
  • United States
  • English
  • colour illustrations
  • 1514167131
  • 9781514167137

About A Book by Me

Chloe Marie Gosa lives in Rock Island, Illinois with her mother Terrina and a black cat named Darcy who captured her heart at an animal shelter. Chloe is in the ninth grade at Rock Island High School and has studied about the Holocaust at school and through her own reading. When she was in elementary school, she learned about Michelle's story from her grandmother who was a neighbor of the Rubovits' in Rock Island for almost 40 years. Chloe enjoys all kinds of art but prefers drawing. She especially likes designing and making her own cards for family and friends for special occasions. Her love for animals has led to an assortment of frogs, goldfish and hamsters, and a big dog named Charlie, sharing her home in the past years.show more