Valley Holocaust survivor planning to reunite with the family who saved her life

PHOENIX - More than 70 years later, a Valley Holocaust survivor is set to reunite with a member of the family she credits with saving her life.

Charlotte Adelman, 85, was born in Paris and is Jewish. She told ABC15 she still has the mental scars of the Holocaust.

"The Germans didn't get me, but they brand(ed) me," Adelman said. "It's always there. I can never forget. Never."

Adelman told ABC15 around 1944 when she was just 12 years old, her mother was taken to a concentration camp and her father, who was often in hiding, joined the underground resistance. 

Adelman says she was left with a family in Eastern France, who hid her in a cellar for nine months.

"That family saved my life," Adelman said.

As bad luck would have it, Adelman says the one night she convinced the family to let her come upstairs was the one night the Germans and police arrived. 

Adelman says she hid as they searched the house, with the family even sticking a bar of soap in their 4-year-old son's mouth, to keep him from calling out her name.

"I'm amazed that I'm alive," Adelman said. "Sometimes I touch myself. Is it really me?"

Adelman reunited with her father after World War II ended and eventually moved to Arizona, losing touch with that family along the way. 

Adelman says in 2016 she noticed a Facebook message from that boy, Alain, who is now 78 years old.

"I was astonished; I couldn't believe that he remembered," Adelman said. "He said the bar of soap traumatized him."

Adelman and Alain keep in touch and often write letters to each other. Adelman is planning to fly to France in July to meet with him for the first time in more than 70 years.

"I'm going to hug him," Adelman said.

Adelman's family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover expenses for the trip.

Adelman told ABC15 this all brings about mixed emotions. After the war ended, she says she received a letter notifying her that her mother passed away while at the concentration camp, Auschwitz.

 

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