Hillel and Blima Uryn immigrated to Paris from Poland in the 1930s, together with their children, Chana (b. 1927) and Israel (b. 1929). Hillel was apprehended in the first wave of arrests of Jews without French citizenship, and was sent to Beaune-la-Rolande. From there he was transferred to the Drancy concentration camp, and in June 1942 he was deported to his death in Auschwitz.
Blima and the children remained in their apartment in Paris. Blima fell ill, was admitted to the Jewish hospital, and while still unwell she was moved to Drancy on a stretcher, as per the orders of the French police. In February 1943 Blima was deported to Auschwitz, where she was murdered.
Israel Uryn was sent to an orphanage in the Jewish quarter, situated in a building belonging to the ORT school. He suffered greatly there, endUryng hunger, cold and indifference. From time to time, French policemen would swoop in and arrest children from the orphanage in order to fill deportation quotas. On one occasion, policemen arrived and told the boys to get dressed and come with them. Israel fled to the roof, and escaped the area via other rooftops. In the orphanage records, there are details as to his place of birth and date of arrival, and it also states that he escaped in February and that the police were notified. After Blima was taken, Chana was brought to Blima's sister. The two of them were deported to Drancy, but were released from the camp and survived.
Israel stayed in the Normandy area, wandering between farms. When the Allies invaded the beaches of France, he was liberated by British forces.
After Blima's arrest, belongings were left behind in the family home. A neighbor preserved them, eventually bringing them to Blima's sister, which is how they reached Israel Uryn.
In 2008, Israel Uryn donated the family belongings to Yad Vashem, at the annual Aloumim conference.