Sand owner of the bookshop and lending library Shakespeare & Co which, at that time was located on the rue de l’Odéon in Paris. Through the bookshop, where she worked part-time for a short period in 1940, Madeleine met Françoise Bernheim who worked there permanently alongside her doctoral studies at the Sorbonne. Both Madeleine and Françoise were close friends with Hélène Berr whose own diary Journal was published in 2008. Both Françoise and Hélène Berr were arrested, deported and murdered in Nazi death camps. There are a number of references to Hélène and Françoise in Madeleine’s diary even though she is very careful not to divulge too much about them and their whereabouts. referring to them obliquely or to Hélène by initials only in the months before her arrest. What we do see is a frequency of contact by letter and pneu and occasional surreptitious meetings in cafés and restaurants and shock and grief when Françoise is arrested. It is unclear whether Madeleine knows, even by the end of the war in 1945, that Hélène had been arrested.
It has been a pleasure to contribute in some small measure to the preservation of the memory of both Hélène and Françoise through their living relatives and the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris. The Mémorial has produced a fabulous on line exhibition about Hélène Berr which is available here.