Rene and Marie Maussion lived in the small French village of Challain-la-Potherie. They worked as millers and had six children.
In 1942, the Maussions learned of a Jewish family in need. A young Jewish boy, Jacques Sztern, had recently lost his father, who had been deported to Auschwitz. Jacques’ mother sent her six-year-old son to the country, in hopes of saving him from death at the hands of the Nazis.
Of the many farming families in the countryside, Rene and Marie Maussion decided to risk their own lives and the lives of their children in order to shelter young Jacques. For three years, they raised him as their own son. Jacques attended church with the family and sang as a choirboy. He went to school with the Maussions’ other children and lived as normal a life as a boy could in such circumstances.
When the Nazis began to round up more Jews in Paris, the family also took in Jacques’ mother and his cousin, who they then hid at a neighboring farm. Jacques’ mother then lived with the Maussions, as well, helping around the house.
Marie Maussion rescued Jacques and his mother a second time when the boy contracted diphtheria. With Jacques needing urgent medical attention, Marie accompanied him, posing as his own mother when the Nazis checked identifications. If Jacques’ mother had been with him, the two would have surely been detained, deported, and murdered.
After the war, Jacques’ father miraculously survived Auschwitz and the family was reunited and returned to Paris. But Jacques would always remember the Maussion family, who not only sheltered him, but loved him as their own. To him they would always be “his dear parents.”
For their selfless actions, Rene and Marie Maussion were named Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 2004.Tags: Advocates and Allies