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Yad Vashem No Child's Play

In Hiding

Claudine Schwartz-Rudel

Claudine Schwartz
Claudine Schwartz
Claudine Schwartz-Rudel's doll
Claudine Schwartz-Rudel's doll

Claudine Schwartz-Rudel was seven years old when she fled from Paris to Southern France with her parents. Before they left Paris, Claudine's parents gave her a doll named Colette. Although the doll was the little girl’s pride and joy, she could not understand all the attention lavished on it by her parents. They kept cautioning Claudine not to break it, not to leave it behind, and not to get it wet. Only later did Claudine realize that Colette also served as a safe. Every night her father would open a hidden compartment in the doll and take out money and other valuables, which were used to bribe the family’s way to safety. When the family finally reached their destination Claudine’s hair was cut, and a wig was made for the doll, whose own hair had fallen out from so much handling and hugging. Today, Claudine lives in Jerusalem and works at Yad Vashem.