Eventually we arrived in St. Porquier and saw my mother for the first time in nearly two and a half years. She was absolutely ecstatic to see us. My mother had been hidden from the Germans by a Catholic woman, Ms. Delcher. We stayed with Ms. Delcher for a few days. She really was a wonderful person having looked after my mother during the war.Later on, Madame Delcher came to visit us at our apartment in London.

After the allies' victory at El Alamein and Benghazi in North Africa, Vichy France was liberated from the iron grip of the Germans. However, as the Germans started to leave Vichy France, they deliberately killed and maimed anyone who even looked Jewish. There was one such story about an old man who had a long beard, which prompted the Germans to think he was Jewish. They killed him. Fearing some people might reveal to the Germans that my mother was Jewish, Madame Delcher had taken my mother to another village. Of course we were not there at the time, but when we came back to St. Porquier we heard all the news.


Dora Mammon: Joseph's mother Dora is pictured here in St. Porquier    where the Mammon's fled during WWII


After about ten days in St. Porquier we decided to return to our apartment in Paris by train, as the trains were now running between Montauban and Paris. My mother, who had learned to make sherry brandy in St. Porquier during our absence, took about a half an ounce of sherry brandy with her on our trip. I remember accidentally breaking a bottle on the train to Paris. There were many soldiers travelling on the train, and one had smelled the sherry, started licking the whole floor, as in those days, any alcoholic drinks of any kind were scarce. After a twenty four hour journey we arrived in Paris and went straight to our apartment.

At that time Charles and I contemplated our futures. Considering that we had no qualifications, in lieu of having stopped education at the age of thirteen and fifteen, and beacause we were British subjects, we decided to go to London, England. Of course we had no passports, so we went to the British Consulate in Paris and told them that we were British on our father's side, as my father had a British passport and the Germans had interned us as British subjects during the war. We also told them that we wanted to join the army in England. This was in October 1944, Paris was liberated, but the war was still raging. It didn't actually end until May 1945, as fighting continued in such places as Flanders, Germany etc. So after showing them our documents, verifying our internment, they accepted our wish to emigrate to England.