This is a painting that I did representing one of the difficult crossings into Italy on our escape from Saint Martin Vésubie over the mountains. That tree was the only means of crossing a raging river. I thought it would be appropriate to memorialise the event of the 8th of September 1943.
Though I was only four years old at the time, there are moments that have remained with me as we made our way across the mountains. One particular episode I remember that made a great impression on my young mind was when we had to cross over a raging river. The only way to go over to the other side was over a dead tree that straddled the river. I can still see myself astride that trunk with my dear mother, of blessed memory sitting behind me, pushing me forward. I am sure it must have traumatized the mind of a toddler, but that part I don’t recall.
However, above all, the memory that has stayed with me all of my life was, when we were crossing over a bridge and my father, Hashem avenge his blood, sat down exhausted on the ledge wiping his brow; that was the last time I remember seeing him.
Avraham’s father, Josef Schonbrunn, managed to escape to Italy but was arrested near Demonte. Avraham, who now lives in Israel, wrote about his wartime experiences for the Jerusalem Post in 2020.