History KS3 / GCSE: Suzanne’s Story - Hiding from the Nazis in occupied France

Suzanne Ripton’s story of living in hiding, as a Jewish child in Nazi-occupied France.

Suzanne recounts the terrifying experience of Nazi occupation of Paris in 1940, her sudden separation from her parents, and what life was like for a Jewish child living in hiding during the Second World War.

When Jewish people were being rounded-up in Paris during the occupation, Suzanne describes how her parents’ door was smashed with an axe, and how their brave neighbour - Madam Colombe, raced in claiming Suzanne to be her daughter, which more than likely saved her life.

For the next few years Suzanne was passed from hiding place to hiding place where she was forced to work hard on a farm, live with goats and become self-sufficient to survive.

She did not know of the war’s end in 1945 and was still in ‘hiding’ in 1947. Years later, Suzanne found out that both of her parents were killed at Auschwitz.

PLEASE NOTE: This short film contains disturbing scenes. Teacher review is recommended prior to use in class.

Teacher Notes

Discuss with your class how people risked and braved punishment to help Jewish children and families during the Holocaust.

Pupils could look further into “Hidden Children” during WWII and tie in with one of the most famous examples – Anne Frank.

This short film could also make for good ground to debate moral decision-making – were people right to risk their own and victims’ lives?

Curriculum Notes

This topic appears in history at KS3 and KS4 / GCSE in AQA, OCR A, OCR B, EDEXCEL, EDUQAS and WJEC GCSE in England and Wales,and CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland.

It is also on the curriculum for 2nd, 3rd and 4th Level, National 4 and 5, and Higher in Scotland. It also appears in modern studies / PSHE / PDE at KS3 and KS4.

More from Children of the Holocaust

Interview with Holocaust survivor Suzanne Ripton
Arek’s Story - Survival in Auschwitz-Birkena
Interview with Holocaust survivor Arek Hersh
Heinz’s Story - Kristallnacht and escape to Britain
Interview with Holocaust survivor Heinz Skyte
Martin's Story - Interrupted childhood experiences of a young Holocaust survivor
Interview with Holocaust survivor Martin Kapel
Ruth's Story - Escaping the Nazis as war began
Interview with Holocaust survivor Ruth Rogoff
Trude’s Story - Escaping from Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia
Interview with Holocaust survivor Trude Silman