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1934:    born in Esch/Alzette; his mother Léonie Herz comes from Medernach (L)
May 1940:    evacuation of the Handzel family to Mâcon (F)

Aug. 1940:    Marcel and his parents do not return to Luxembourg

Feb. 1941:    Move to Sancé in the department of Saône-et-Loire (F)

March 1941:    starts school and makes friends with the children next door

Aug. 1942:    Marcel’s father Osias deported to Drancy near Paris and then to Auschwitz

Dec. 1943:    Osias murdered in Pyskowice (in present-day Poland)

1944:    Marcel and his mother Léonie arrested, taken to Drancy assembly camp, deported to Auschwitz and murdered
Marcel Handzel with his mother Léonie
On the morning of 11 May 1940, the Handzel family were evacuated to France. They settled in the Mâcon area, together with more than other 25,000 refugees from Luxembourg. After the fall of France, Luxembourg evacuees were returned to their homeland. Marcel Handzel and his parents found new accommodation in Sancé and remained in France. Marcel Handzel went to school there and made new friends, including Raymond Burtin. The Handzels quickly integrated into the village community. As a foreign refugee and a Jew, Marcel Handzel’s father was exploited by the Vichy government as a forced labourer. In August 1942 he was transferred to a “foreigners’ labour camp”, from where he was deported to the East and murdered in Pyskowice near Gleiwitz on 8 December 1943. On 11 November 1942 the “Zone Libre” was occupied by the Germans. Marcel Handzel and Léonie Handzel were picked up in Sancé in July 1944 and deported to Auschwitz extermination camp via Drancy. Three weeks before his 10th birthday, Marcel Handzel was gassed in Auschwitz together with his mother on 4 August 1944. With the exception of three persons, almost all of the family’s Luxembourg relatives were murdered in the Shoah.
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On a entendu le bruit des bottes. Ils sont entrés dans la classe et ont embarqué Marcel. L’instituteur – Monsieur Lubin – était blanc comme un linge. Pourtant, cet instituteur, c’était un ancien militaire, très strict. Tous les matins, nous devions assister au lever de drapeau.
Raymond Burtin, contemporary witness account, 2017

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En classe, ça se passait bien pour lui. Il était calme et travailleur. Il parlait bien français.
Raymond Burtin, contemporary witness account, 2017

Marcel Handzel with his friends in Sancé, 1941

Un garçon gentil qui avait les mêmes jeux que nous. C’était un copain. Pour nous, il était comme les autres.
Raymond Burtin, contemporary witness account, 2017

Marcel Handzel (front row, 3rd from left) with his school class in Sancé, 1943
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