We Survived...At Last I Speak by Leon Malmed Book Tour and Giveaway :)

We Survived....At Last I Speak
by Leon Malmed
Genre: Historical Biography

This is Leon Malmed’s true story of his and his sister Rachel’s escape from the Holocaust in Occupied France. When their father and mother were arrested in 1942, their courageous and heroic French neighbors volunteered to watch their children until they returned. Leon’s parents were taken first to Drancy, then to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and they never returned. Meanwhile their downstairs neighbors, Henri and Suzanne Ribouleau, gave the children a home and family and sheltered them through subsequent roundups, threats, air raids, and the war’s privations. The courage, sympathy, and dedication of the Ribouleaus and others stand in strong contrast to the collaborations and moral weakness of many of the French authorities. Leon and Rachel each came to America after the war, but always kept their strongest ties to “Papa Henri and Maman Suzanne,” who were honored as “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem in 1977. Leon bares his soul in this narrative of love and courage, set against a backdrop of tragedy, fear, injustice, prejudice, and the greatest moral outrage of the modern era. It is a story of goodness triumphing once more over evil.

It is a summer day. My father wakes up at dawn. Like every Sunday, he gets himself ready without making any noise so as not to wake us up. He is waiting for Marcel Ribouleau, our neighbor’s son, who accompanies him on his expeditions throughout the countryside. Times are hard. Food is scarce, so Papa exchanges clothes for poultry, butter, eggs, fruit and vegetables. At 5:30 a.m. someone knocks at the door. 
Rachel has often told me that my parents were ecstatic—especially my father—when my mother gave birth to a son, a sweet-looking baby with a lot of thick, black curly hair.
My father was convinced that I was the most handsome and and probably the most intelligent boy in the world!
Mrs Clausse was a nurse at the hospital of Compiègne. She was a very kind and discreet person. Her husband worked at an auction hall. It was a big warehouse with no heat in the winter and no ventilation in summer. His work was a demanding manual job. Using a handcart, Mr Clausse collected furniture and household items from residences, loading and unloading heavy pieces all day long. He was a “down to-earth” person always ready to help. Without knowing us, he gave my father a hand when we moved into 17 rue Saint Fiacre. He liked talking to my father. His wife recalls that he warned my father many times about the dangers of ongoing persecution of Jews. She remembers him saying: “You and your family should go in hiding before it’s too late. People are disappearing, one family at a time. You cannot trust these criminals.” While he may not have been highly educated, Mr Clausse was a very wise man who had both good common sense and vision. Even with his foresight he did not know how demented the Nazis truly were. My father would raise his shoulders and respond, “Where can we go? The train stations and the roads are watched. Our I.D. cards show we are Jewish. Jews are not allowed to travel. I do not know how to get fake I.D. cards. Anyway, we are poor. The Germans are not interested in us. They go after the rich Jews they can steal from.” Dark clouds were accumulating.
The Roundup
Wednesday, January 19, 1944. They came to arrest us, my sister and me. I am six years old and Rachel eleven. 
Madame Baugis implored the SS officerer to let her keep Charlot: “He‘s not even six years old. Look at him. Does he look like a criminal?” Monsieur Baugis, like Yvette and his wife had done earlier, begged: He is just a child. He has not committed any crime. Take me instead. I can be useful to the German army. Leave him with my wife.” Very well, said the officer in an arrogant tone: All of you get into the truck with the little Jew. You are all arrested for hiding a Jew.”
It was difficult to comprehend and believe that at last we were free. I was too young when the war started to know how it felt to be free. People who did not know each other fell into each other’s arms and kissed and cried together. Leon! Our parents will be here soon!” My sister Rachel was screaming, tears streaming on her beautiful face as she squeezed me hard against her. We held on to each other and sobbed for a long time, incapable of holding our emotions any longer. We had endured so much. Finally, we allowed ourselves to feel a happiness we did not know existed. The nightmare is over, my dear children,” said Maman Suzanne in a reassuring voice. “We will live again. Your parents will be back soon.” The joy, the emotions were so strong, I could not stop trembling. I shook from nervous laughter, blinded by tears. For the firs time since our parents were taken away from us, July 19, 1942, I was not scared!
Though, I was disappointed; they had not come back yet. Where are they? They would come home tomorrow or the day after for sure. What would I do when I saw them? Should I run to them and jump in their arms? No, I should not do that. They would be exhausted from their long trip and two years of hard work and depravation. Yes, I know. I would approach them slowly. I would encircle both their legs with my small arms and snuggle against them. We would stay like that, my eyes raised to watch their faces. 
Happiness, at Last 
You have found a pearl, son” said Papa Henri, hugging me.
“You deserve happiness,” added Maman Suzanne with a huge smile.

Leon Malmed was born in France on October 4th, 1937.
He is a Holocaust Survivor.
He immigrated to the U.S, in 1964. He lived 18 years in New York.
He was a resident of the San Francisco Bay area for 30 years. He and his wife
Patricia now live full time in South Lake Tahoe.

Leon graduated in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Paris. He is a graduate of the Finance Senior Executive program at UCLA and the Executive Institute for Management of High Technology Companies at Stanford Business School.

Leon worked in the High Tech industry in Silicon Valley where he held executive positions for over 30 years. He served on Hi-Tech companies Board of Directors and is currently on the Board of the Lake Tahoe Community College Foundation.

After 60 years of total silence about his childhood during the Holocaust and aftermath, Leon decided to publish his memoir. He is the author of “We Survived…At Last I Speak” available in English, French and Spanish.
His books are available at Amazon.com, Lulu.com, Kindle.com and Audible.com.

Leon speaks about the Holocaust in Schools, Colleges, Universities, Churches, Synagogues, Book clubs and Men and women’s clubs in the US, in Europe and South America. He has been interviewed on TV and radio.
Besides writing books, he loves riding bikes, skiing, sailing and golfing.
He participated last year in the Dancing with the Tahoe Stars and won one of the two trophies.

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