Updated 12th june 2006, First version 13th of december 2002
Ancesters of Berek

(remark: Frandla Bornstein,
mother of Berek, was born as Bornstein
see the website of the Bornstein family 
for futher information)

Berek ZALCENSZTAJN (1898-1954) married with Basia Eidel FRAK (1906-1994)

Thanks to Simon Salzenstein for these informations

Picture of Icek and Frandla (33ko), parents of Berek

Wedding of Berek et Basia, Paris, 1926 (88ko)

Version française

Picture of Berek, Basia and two of their children
(probably Paul and Simon)
in Paris in the years 1930's (104ko)

Basia (25ko),  in the years 1930's


Our grand father Berek ZALCENSZTAJN (alias Bernard SALZENSTEIN), the older brother of a nine children family, [born the 2nd of september 1898 in Lodz, dead at the 'hôpital Saint-Antoine' of Paris the 31st of january 1954] is son of Frandla BORNSZTAJN (1866-1942) and Icek Lajb ZALCENSZTAJN (1870-1942). His father Icek worked as butcher and was also rabbin. Aged only 16 years old, in 1914, Berek ZALCENSZTAJN enter the german army (Lodz was under german occupation at that time). But Berek was not so sure that it was the german army as it was there spoken either german, russian, polish... Little anecdot: during the 1st world war, Berek was arrested by russian soldiers with two other soldiers. They were sent into a train going to Russia. Berek ZALCENSZTAJN and the two other prisonners succeded in escaping by taking the gun of the russian guard, then climbing up to the roof of the wagon. They then went back on the roof of another train going back to the battlefront. This was surely possible because of a little stop of the train, or because of its low speed. At the end of the war, in 1918, Berek ZALCENSZTAJN went to France where he lived until 1920 in conditions that we ignore. He told very later in his life that he contracted a debt as a player and then had the only choice to enter the french legion in 1920. He served ther until 1923. He fight in the bad colonial war called 'guerre du Rif', in Morocco, against the independance of this colony (taht became independant 30 years after without any blood). Berek ZALCENSZTAJN knew how to speak yiddish, german, polish, russian, french, and even little arabic, and notions of 'hebraic. He knew many songs in yiddish (that he learn to his son Simon). In 1923, he lost an eye and get reformed from the army. It was the end of seven years under the german and french flag in their armies. [later in the future he would be two years again in the french army].

Berek ZALCENSZTAJN married with Basia Eidel FRAK (alias Berthe) [born in Grzymalow now in Poland the 4th of november 1906, dead at the 'hôpital Saint-Antoine' in Paris the 28th of march 1994]. Basia Eidel FRAK was a daughter of Mrs Chaja FRAK, in a four children family. One brother of Basia was killed during fight in 1939 at the beginning of the war. A sister of Basia died of hunger in the ghetto of Lodz during the nazi occupation of Poland. Other sister, called Fanny FRAK went to the USA and was still living in New York City in the years 1960s. The father of Basia Eidel FRAK died of an illness in 1916. He used to work in fur textiles. 17 years old, Basia Eidel FRAK leaved Poland in 1923. After a little journey of 15 days in Vienna, in Austria, she went to Paris live to an uncle, which was a brother of her mother Chaja, living in Montmartre, Paris. For unknown reasons, Basia Eidel FRAK just lived there 10 months. In 1926 she lived very closed to Paris in Saint-Maur-des-Fossés ('Ile-de-France') where she worked in textile confection to finish clothes (buttons etc...).

In 1926, Berek ZALCENSZTAJN was a worker in butchery located near 'Place d'Italie', in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. Basia and him meet together because of a common girlfriend they had. They first lived in an hotel near the old 'Temple' street and married together the same year, in the 'mairie' of the 5th arrondissement of Paris. Berek changed then his job to began to work as a worker-butcher 'Félix Potin' shop, near where they lived. In 1927, they went in there new flat 'Sainte-Marthe' street, in the 10th arrondissement of Paris. During the new period, and before the war, will be born their five first children: Paul SALZENSTEIN (born 30th of august 1929 in 'hôpital St-Louis' in Paris, died 8 june 2006 in Caracas, Venezuela, father of Francine and Marc), Simon SALZENSTEIN (born 22nd of may 1932 in 'hôpital St-Louis' in Paris, and he is my father), René Lazare SALZENSTEIN (born 24th of august 1934 in 'hôpital St-Antoine' in Paris), Jacques SALZENSTEIN (born the 30th of may 1937 in 'hôpital St-Antoine' in Paris, and tragicaly died the 3rd of august 1974 in Greece in a submarine dived accident), André SALZENSTEIN (born the 4th of july 1939 in 'hôpital St-Antoine' in Paris, father of Philippe and François).

During the german occupation of France, Berek ZALCENSZTAJN was well inspired to decide to protect his family in sending them in province, at Saulzais-le-Potier near Saint-Amand-Montrond (Dpt. of Cher). It seemed he was helped for this by friends in the french 'gendarmerie' (because he served in the french army). Few months later he joined his wife Basia and his children there. During the war, 3 children will be born again: Georgette RIFFET (born the 27th of january 1941 in Saint-Amand-Montrond, Cher, France, mother of Claire), Georges SALZENSTEIN (born the 13th of september 1942 in Saint-Amand-Montrond, Cher, France, father of Myriam and Elise) and Marcel SALZENSTEIN (born the 28th september 1943 in Saint-Amand-Montrond, Cher, France, father of Corine and Virginie). Then Berek and Basia had 8 children. Berek ZALCENSZTAJN helped the french Resistance in transporting messages, as he sold newspapers using his bicycle. Neibours called him 'Paris-Soir' (name of a french newspaper during the occupation). Later in his life other newspapers were on his table as an anarchist one 'Le Libertaire' or a communist one 'L'Humanité', but that is another story. At that time he rided his bicycle with his older sons, selling newspapers...

It has to be said that, in july 1944, two of his children, respectively 14 ½ and 12 years old at that time, Paul SALZENSTEIN and Simon SALZENSTEIN who were in school at the 'collège de Saint-Amand-Montrond', were safe (helped by a teacher) and not killed by the nazis (SS) during the tragedy of the wells of Guerry a crime against the humanity commited by the bazis like in Ouradour sur Glane or Tulle. The 24th of july and the 8th of august 1944, 36 jewish arrested in Saint-Amand-Montrond were thrown alive by the SS and the Gestapo in the wells of Guerry. This crime was ordered by the vice-prefect of Saint-Amand, Mr Lécussan, a french citizen working for the nazis.



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