Francine Levy, nee Horonczyk, was born in Paris in 1939. Although she was very young at the time of the war, she had heard from her mother that several families had joined to save her life during the German occupation of France. Much of that story had been documented by her mother, who gave testimony to Yad Vashem in 1958.
The Horonczyk family consisted of Joseph-Itzik and his wife Perla-Malka Horonczyk, both had immigrated from Poland and married in France . They lived with their little daughter in rue Oberkampf in the 11th Arrondissement of Paris.
Joseph-Itzik Horonczyk was arrested in Paris in the first great round-up of the Jews, known as the "Green Ticket", in May, 1941. He was sent to the Beaune-la-Roland Camp, in the Loiret and from there was deported to Auschwitz, where he perished. While in Beaune-la-Roland, before his deportation, he had built a doll’s crib and sent it to his daughter. The crib is displayed in Yad Vashem’s Musuem of Holocaust History.
In July, 1942 Francine became ill and underwent surgery. The Gibauds, who were the family’s neighbours and friends, took the small child to Courlon-sur-Yonne, where they had relative, for convalescence. Mr. Gibaud, who worked in the police, heard of the plan for a great round-up of the Jews and their internment in the Velodrome d'Hiver stadium (generally known as the "Vel d'Hiv"). On July 16, 1942, some 13,000 Jews - men, women and 4000 children - including the sick and the infirm, were taken by the French police from their homes in Paris to the Vel d’Hiv and detention camps, from which they were then deported to the death camps. Gibaud notified Perla Horonczyk of what was to come and on July 15, 1942, on the eve of the great round-up, Mrs. Gibaud, took Perla from Paris and brought her to Courlon-sur-Yonne, where she joined Francine.
Mother and daughter remained for some months at Courlon. Perla worked on the farm of the Sarro family, while the child was hidden in the care of the Barthelemy family. For fear of betrayal they never communicated with each other.
After some months it became impossible to hide the presence of the mother any longer. She widow by the name Fernande Danglande, she went to L'Isle Jourdain, in the region of Gers, where her sister-in-law, lived with her family. Eventually Francine was also brought there and they stayed in L'Isle Jourdain until liberation.
In October 2007 Francine visited Courlon with her half-sister, Miri Tal, who was born in Israel from the second marriage of Perla. The two stayed in the home of the daughter of the Gibauds, Janine Malenfer, who received them with open arms.
Francine also met Marcel Sarro, who had been a young man during the War. He had evaded being sent to Germany as a worker, and was hiding at home. It was therefore that it became too dangerous for Francine’s mother to stay with the family and this was the reason for her going back to Paris. Marcel Sarro also told Francine how one day his father had taken her to the railway-station at Champigny. This was probably when she was taken to join her mother. Francine also met Madame Rioux, the daughter of the Barthelemy family, which had kept her in their home for over a year. From old photographs Francine identified the house and Rioux related that they used to play together until, one day, Francine suddenly disappeared.
On 16 March 2008 Yad Vashem recognized Paul & Suzanne Gibaud, Louis & Georgette Barthelemy, and Albert & Renee Sarro as Righteous Among the Nations.