He owed it to his father that he initially had no problems with the authorities. As a volunteer for military service and then a prisoner of war, his father protected Jacques and his family under the Geneva Convention. But the Nazis were looking for hostages to deport. Thus, in early February 1944, Jacques, his older sister (the younger one was in hiding) and his little brother were detained with their mother for three months in the Drancy internment camp, before being deported to the "Star Camp", Bergen-Belsen.
It was in turn to their mother that the children owed their survival. If they enjoyed "privileged" conditions because the Nazis wanted to use her as a bargaining chip, these children would never have survived without the moral support and sacrifices of their mother. All the more so because living conditions, already harsh, worsened from the autumn of 1944 with the influx of survivors evacuated from the camps further east. With its organization falling apart, Bergen-Belsen became a veritable death camp riddled with famine and epidemic disease.
Jacques and his family regained their freedom after experiencing in April 1945 the agonies of the refugee "Ghost Train" on which half the 2,000 Jews evacuated from the Star Camp lost their lives. Jacques and his sister were stricken with typhus. They were reunited with their father at Paris´s repatriation centre in the Hotel Lutetia on June 23, 1945.
Although they survived, the same could not be said for other members of the family: no trace of those living in Poland; in France, Jacques lost his paternal grandparents, three uncles, two aunts and six cousins.
From this confrontation with horror at such a young age, escaping he still does not know how, Jacques conceived one great passion: life itself.