Born: 1938 Paris, France
Hidden Child : France
“I remember most being jealous and resentful that I was not part of a family,“ says Frances Cutler. Growing up in various foster homes, she was often seated away from the host family's birth children, never sharing in the joys of dinner table laughter, toys, and treats. She longed for familiarity and security-and mostly for the mother she barely remembered.
Frances has had two religions, five names, seven homes, and eight families-all tools for survival for a hidden child during the Holocaust. The children (and their hosts) lived in constant danger. Many never saw their birth families again.
Frances's parents, Cyla and Shlomo, immigrated to France from Ciechanow, Poland, in 1936. Frances was born in Paris amid the turmoil of the German invasion. Worried that she could not protect her daughter, Cyla brought three-year-old “Fanny“ to a Catholic children's home, where she could visit her weekly. Cyla was deported to Auschwitz in 1942, where she died, pregnant with Frances's only sibling. After that, Frances was taken to a Catholic farm to prevent her deportation. Shlomo joined the French Resistance and died from combat wounds in 1946.
In 1948 Frances came to live with her aunt and uncle in America. Even though she became an American citizen in 1953, her Polish roots and French upbringing made it difficult for her to feel at home anywhere. A trip to France in 1978 began the process of healing, although, she says, ďit took a long time and a lot of work for me to let it go. ďShe recently published a book in collaboration with other hidden children.