Rabbi Leo Michel Abrami

Leo Michel Abrami was born in Paris, France. He lived with his mother, brother, and grandmother. After the German army invaded France, Leo's mother thought it would be best if he moved to Evron outside of Normandy. There Leo was a hidden Jewish boy avoiding deportation by the Nazis and the Vichy government. Leo remained hidden for two years before the Allied powers liberated France.

After the war was over, Leo continued his education where he became a cantor. He worked in Geneva, Switzerland before traveling to the United States. Leo attended the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati and became an ordained rabbi. From there Leo traveled the world serving in several congregations before settling down in Sun City, Arizona. Rabbi Leo Abrami passed away March 19, 2018 at the age of 86.

Now travel back in time to take the same journey that Leo had during World War II. Learn more about the places and people that Leo interacted with during the war.

Growing up in France

Leo Michel Abrami (originally Leo’s last name was Abramowski) was born on November 10, 1931 in France. Leo lived with his brother, Robert, his mother, Anna and grandmother, Carlotta or “Lotta”. Leo’s parents had divorced when he was one and half…

Summer Camp

With the Nazis invasion of France in May of 1940, Leo’s mother was afraid of what might take place, so she arranged to send Leo and his brother to the island of Oléron. (Abrami, 8) Leo and his brother had to take a train to La Rochelle. They then…

German Occupation

When Leo and his brother returned home to Bagnolet the German army had taken over Paris, which happened on June 14, 1940. The French and German government signed an Armistice Agreement on June 22, 1940, which Bergen illustrates as, "Under the terms…

Hiding on the Farm

The climate of Paris was changing because of the increasing number of Jews being arrested, it was time for Leo and his brother to go into hiding. Leo’s mother had arranged for her sons to be hidden on two separate farms in the town of Evron. (Abrami,…

A Return Home

The war started to go south for Hitler and one major battle that was lost was code named Operation Overlord on June 6, 1944. Bergen states, “…the western Allies landed in Normandy in northwestern France. D-Day, as it became known was the greatest…

Grande Synagogue

After going to school and being a Hebrew teacher in France, Leo decided to move to Geneva, Switzerland. Leo states, “I then took a position at the Grande Synagogue in Geneva, Switzerland, where I officiated as cantor and taught in their religious…

Becoming a Master

After spending seven years in Geneva, Leo and his new wife moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Leo attended the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, which is one of the oldest and largest rabbinical seminaries in the country. (Abrami, 147) By 1963, Leo…

Rabbi of Beth Emeth Congregation

Rabbi Leo moved to Sun City, Arizona to become the rabbi at Beth Emeth Congregation. He was at the pulpit for five years before officially retiring. He still was a regular at Beth Emeth Congregation, but in the years to follow he went back to his…