This is Leon Malmed’s true story of his and his sister Rachel’s escape from the Holocaust in Occupied France. When their father and mother were arrested in 1942, their French neighbors agreed to watch their children until they returned. Leon’s parents were taken first to Drancy, then to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and they never returned. Meanwhile their downstairs neighbors, Henri and Suzanne Ribouleau, gave the children a home and family and sheltered them through subsequent roundups, threats, air raids, and the war’s privations. The courage, sympathy, and dedication of the Ribouleaus stand in strong contrast to the collaborations and moral weakness of many of the French authorities. “Papa Henri and Maman Suzanne” were honored as “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem in 1977. It is a narrative of love and courage, set against a backdrop of tragedy, fear, injustice, prejudice, and the greatest moral outrage of the modern era. It is a... More > story of goodness triumphing once more over evil.< Less
This story is truly amazing, compelling, and heart wrenching. Leon Malmed's story of survival offers an in person account of the horrors of the holocaust. Instead of just reading about it in the history books, this true story allows us to see the more personal side of the suffering of war and the caustic repercussions of hatred on humanity as a whole. On a more positive note, Leon's life story provokes deep reflection among all of us, making us think of the capabilities of mankind, both good and evil. Leon's perseverance in such trying situations is extremely admirable, and I believe "We Survived...At Last I Speak is a must read for people of all ages, especially today's youth which can benefit by such an amazing lesson in life.
While on a long road trip, I read Mr. Malmed's book out loud to my husband, who was driving. We were mesmerized by this story. It was with a sorrowful heart that I read of this tragic life. At times the tears were so great I couldn't see the book to continue. The contrast between the monsters and the heroes is so huge and the obstacles so great. Yet, the author did survive and the telling of his family's story has shed light on something that should never be kept in the dark. This is a story of perseverance and hope...A story we should continue to share with the generations to come.
I have been working in France, based in Compiegne. We heard about the book and read a borrowed copy. My wife and I each read the book and we were very touched by your story. It is hard to believe the wickedness , cruelty, torture, and execution that many people suffered. My wife and I wanted to thank-you for writing your story, as a testimony of how bad the Holocaust and the Nazi's really were. It really brings the story home to us because we have learned to love the little town of Compiegne and its rich history. I purchased a personal copy of the book and we plan to share your story with others. Warm Regards, Reid Carlson, Engineer
Dear Mr.Malmed; It was very fortunate that my wife Ann and I were lucky enough to share a breakfast table with you and your wife,Patricia at the Los Gatos Lodge last month. I can't begin to identify with the incredible life you have experienced The events you tell with so many details have made a lasting impact on me. I hope that "We Survived..At Last I Speak" will be read by many persons and that the truth of the Vichy French acquiescence to the evil Nazi agenda will be known by present and future generations. Warm regards; George W. Cumpston, LtCol, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret)
I am an American Jew. Old enough to be well aware of the atrocities that occurred in Europe and to experience anti-semitism in my own country. Nothing like what Leon Malmed experienced. How he came out whole on the other end is just amazing. It was an act of courage to write about his life and experience the pain that he did not allow himself to feel when he was actually going through such horrendous history. I must hail his neighbors, the Ribouleau's, who kept their word even though by doing so put them and their sons into harm's way. Thank G-d for people like them. BTW there is a place to contribute to help "The Righteous" who are now experiencing hard times. I was happy to do so.
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