A Knock on the Door


Following the war, Srul and Chana Malmed failed to return. In mid-1945, there came another knock on the Ribouleaus’ apartment door. There was a couple claiming that they were brother and sister of Leon and Rachel’s parents. At the time Leon and Rachel did not know who they were. They were legitimate family, Uncle Charles and Aunt Sarah. Henri and Suzanne Ribouleau refused to give up the children as they had promised their parents that they would be here until they return expecting that they would be back any day. Leon’s relatives had come to take Leon and Rachel away. They were very upset and stated that they would take the Ribouleaus to Court. Several weeks later Leon and Rachel were sitting in the Court house not knowing if they would end up with strangers or people, they loved like their second parents. Their other Aunt Ida was going to speak on behalf of the Ribouleaus that Leon and Rachel should go to them. Something happened, and she changed her statement, saying that the children should go to Charles and Sarah. That same day Leon and his sister went back home to pack and moved to their new location in Saint-Quentin about 50 miles from Compiegne. It was not a happy place for Leon. In the late 1940s Leon’s uncle and aunt decided to send Rachel to her Aunt Rose, who lived in New York without talking to Rachel and Leon about their being separated. Upon strong objection by Rachel and Leon, they were told that Leon would follow soon after, but it was a lie. Leon would not see his sister or heard her voice for 13 years. Extremely unhappy with his situation in Saint-Quentin, Leon went to the president of the Jewish community. He spoke to Monsieur Zilberberg, the president of the Jewish Community. Monsieur Zilberberg along with members of the small Jewish Community recommended to his relatives that Leon, 12, was very unhappy living with them and he should be allowed to return to Compiegne. In July 1950, Leon was twelve years old and returned what he considered his home, to his Papa Henri and Maman Suzanne Ribouleau. Leon would continue to live with the Ribouleaus through the rest of his schooling until he was called to serve in the French Air Force.