My father, Sergeant Norman Fisher of the 134th Mobile Gun Battalion of the U.S. Army, wrote hundreds of letters to his sweetheart back home when he served overseas during World War II. That sweetheart became my mother and recently I read for the first time the collection of letters my father wrote to her.
In April of 1945, my father wrote that in Gotha, Germany, 3 Jewish Polish refugee teenagers had attached themselves to his unit. The officers were so taken with these boys that they gave them U.S. Army uniforms and jobs doing K.P. The youngest, 14 at the time, was named Maurice and my father thought the world of him. He, Maurice, had been in 11 concentration camps during the five previous years, including Buchenwald, and both his parents had died in concentration camps.
In a letter five months later, my father reported that Maurice was still in their unit. They were now stationed in Kassel, Germany, and the troops were about to be sent home to the U.S. My father, who had a truck and a driver at his disposal since he was now in charge of supplies, was given the assignment of taking Maurice to the boy’s aunt and uncle who lived outside of Paris, for they had agreed to take care of him until he could be reunited with an older brother living in Brooklyn, New York.
When my father arrived at the home of this aunt and uncle, he discovered that they were old, in ill health, lived in a hovel and could barely fend for themselves no less take on the care of another. And Maurice had no official papers which meant that he had no legitimate right to rations. In all conscience, my father could not leave Maurice here. So there began for him a frantic weekend, trying to find a suitable place to leave the boy. He was advised to leave him at the Polish Refugee Center in Paris, but others told him that this was a terrible place. Finally, at the eleventh hour, my dad discovered a chateau outside of Paris that was said to care for Jewish refugee children. Thus on Sunday, September 16, 1945 he took Maurice to this chateau where he learned that he would be fed, clothed, given papers and where he would find the fellowship of others in his situation. My father agreed to leave Maurice there. They saluted each other in farewell.
Sadly, my father did not provide Maurice’s last name in his letters, nor the name of the chateau outside of Paris where he left him on that date. Most likely there was further correspondence between him and the boy, but it has not survived. If Maurice is still alive, it is likely that he is living in New York, in my own city, which is where he so fervently wished to be with his brother. It is one of my dearest wishes to find him. Any help that you can offer in this quest will be so greatly appreciated.
Maxine Fisher; email: firstname.lastname@example.org