Rakefet Elisha’s story of her Grandfather, Menachem Marienberg

My late grandfather, Menachem Marienberg, was among those who crossed the Alps to Italy in 1943.

He fled Belgium to France in 1940 with his parents, two brothers and a sister, and lived for two years with his family in Toulouse until 1942. When the Germans entered Toulouse they took his mother, his four-year-old brother, and his twelve-year-old sister to Auschwitz. He managed to escape with his younger brother Aryeh Marienberg to Saint Martin Vésubie. My grandfather was sixteen years old, Aryeh was ten years old. They also managed to bring their father and the uncle’s family (father’s brother) to Saint Martin Vésubie. They all lived there together for about six months, until the night when they had to pack everything and flee.

Grandfather’s uncle (Yitzhak Marienberg), was a sickly man and had difficulty climbing the mountains. The aunt (Eva Marienberg) had given birth six months earlier, to her second daughter, in Saint Martin Vésubie during their stay in the town. Grandfather said that they both had difficulty climbing the mountains and at a certain point they sat down and decided to give up. Sixteen-year-old grandfather decided to take the baby in his hands and quickly climb on. He knew that if the baby came with him, her parents would not give up but follow them, and so it was. By the time they reached Borgo San Dalmazzo, grandfather was carrying the baby in his arms.

In this photo, you can get an impression of life at home in Saint Martin Vésubie before their flight.

Marienberg family 1943
From right to left: Zev Marienberg (grandfather’s father), aunt Eva Marienberg holding baby Simone (who was just born there and was carried by grandfather in the mountains), grandfather’s young cousin (who is also named like him: Menachem Marienberg), and uncle Yitzhak Marienberg (his father’s brother).

Thank you for your activity in preserving the memory of the events of the Holocaust.

Rakefet Sherman Elisha

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