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Inventory of the Francine Ajzensztark Taylor Papers, 1913-1998

Descriptive Summary

Abstract: Photographs and false identification papers of Francine Ajzensztark Taylor, a Polish-born Jew raised in France before World War II. Photographs depict her and her family members in pre-war England and Poland, as well as in France before, during, and after the war. Also includes four videocassette programs, including two detailed interviews with Taylor in which she discusses her life in France before, during, and after the war.
Title: Francine Ajzensztark Taylor papers
Creator: Taylor, Francine Ajzensztark, 1928-
Date(s): 1913-1998    
Extent: 0.5 linear feet
(4 folders, 4 videocassettes)
Repository: Jewish Heritage Collection, Special Collections, College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Phone: (843) 953-8016
Fax: (843) 953-6319
Call Number: Mss 1065-010
Language of Material: Materials in English and French

Biographical Note

Francine Ajzensztark Taylor was born in Karczew, Poland, in 1928. In 1931, she moved with her parents and older sister to Paris, France, to escape Polish antisemitism. Ajzensztark and her sister, Suzanne Ajzensztark, learned French but spoke Yiddish at home.

Ajzensztark and her family continued to live in Paris after the German occupation of France in 1940. In 1942, her father's involvement with the French underground led to his arrest. He was deported to Auschwitz and killed shortly after his arrival. Ajzensztark's mother, Germaine Königsberg Ajzensztark, and her sister went into hiding in Toulouse, and Ajzensztark, who had earlier been sent to the countryside in LeMans for health reasons, fled by train and bicycle to join them.

After Ajzensztark rejoined her mother and sister, they obtained false identification cards and moved again to Saint-Fraimbault, a small hamlet in occupied France. They stayed with the Hertaux family, French peasants who believed the women were victims of bombings outside of Paris and did not know they were Jewish for most of the time they housed them. Once the area was liberated by the Allies, the women returned to Paris, where Ajzensztark and her sister found work at the Orly Air Base. While there, Ajzensztark met Harry Taylor, a member of the United States Army Air Forces. They were engaged and returned to the United States in 1949 and married in 1950. Harry Taylor was eventually transferred to Charleston, South Carolina, where the couple settled with their two sons.

Collection Overview

Photographs and false identification papers of Francine Ajzensztark Taylor, a Polish Jew who lived in occupied France during World War II. Photographs depict Ajzensztark, her sister, her parents, and other family members in pre-war England and Poland, as well as in France before, during, and after the war. Also includes four videocassette programs, including two detailed interviews with Taylor in which she discusses her life in France before, during, and after the war.

Collection Arrangement

Materials are described at the folder level.

Search Terms

The following terms have been used to index this collection in the Library's online catalog. They are grouped by name of person, family, or organization, by topical subject, by place, and by types of material.


    • Taylor, Francine Ajzensztark, 1928-


    • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
    • Holocaust survivors--France
    • Jewish children in the Holocaust--France
    • World War, 1939-1945--Atrocities
    • World War, 1939-1945--Jewish resistance--France


    • France--History--German occupation, 1940-1945

    Types of Material

    • Black-and-white negatives
    • Black-and-white slides
    • Digital images
    • Facsimiles (reproductions)
    • Identity cards
    • Photocopies
    • Photographs
    • Videocassettes

    Related Resources

    Related Material

    Related materials in College of Charleston Special Collections include three oral history interviews with Francine Taylor conducted in 2002 and 2006 (Mss 1035-266, Mss 1035-309, and Mss 1035-313) and one 2006 oral history interview with Taylor's sister, Suzanne Baton (Mss 1035-311).


    General, 1943, 2000, 2004, undated   folder 1

    Includes the false identification papers Taylor used while in hiding in occupied France. Also includes correspondence from the Comité Français pour Yad Vashem in France inviting her to attend a medal ceremony for the family that hid Taylor and her family and field notes made by researchers during discussions with Taylor.

    Photographs, circa 1913-late 1950s, 1985   folder 2

    Includes pre-war photographs of Taylor's family in Poland and England, including her mother, Germaine Ajzensztark; her father, Mortre Mendel Ajzensztark; and her sister, Suzanne Ajzensztark Baton. Also includes wartime and post-war photographs of Taylor, her family, and her friends in France and the United States.

    Slides and negatives, circa 1913-late 1950s, 1985   folder 3

    Slides, negatives, and digital images on DVD of the photographs in folder 2.

    Photocopies, circa 1913-late 1950s, 1985   folder 4

    Photocopies and color facsimiles of the photographs in folder 2.

    SCETV interview with Francine Taylor, 1991   videotape 1065-010-v01
    (JHC videocassette box 1 | 1 videocassette)

    Interview with Francine Taylor about her life as a Jew in occupied France during World War II. She discusses the German occupation, her flight to Vichy France, and her eventual return to occupied France under an assumed name with false identification papers. She also discusses life in France after liberation by the Allies.

    "The Memories of Francine Taylor," 1996   videotape 1065-010-v02
    (JHC videocassette box 1 | 1 videocassette)

    Interview with Francine Taylor for the Shoah Foundation Institute, touching upon topics mentioned in 1065-010-v01.

    Yom Hashoah Candlelight Memorial March and Remembrance Service, 1998   videotape 1065-010-v03
    (JHC videocassette box 1 | 1 videocassette)

    Video of the Charleston Jewish Federation's 1998 memorial march from Marion Square to the Sottile Theater, followed by a Holocaust remembrance service which includes presentations by Francine Taylor; Pincus Kolender; Anita Zucker; Sam Greene; Dientje Kalisky; Joe Engel; Vera Semel; Charles Markowitz; Paula Popowski; and others.

    South Carolina State Museum presentation, undated   videotape 1065-010-v04
    (JHC videocassette box 1 | 1 videocassette)

    Presentation given at the South Carolina State Museum by Francine Taylor. This videocassette has no audio.

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions

    This collection is open for research.

    Copyright Notice

    The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

    The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Francine Ajzensztark Taylor papers, College of Charleston Libraries, Charleston, SC, USA.

    Acquisitions Information

    Materials were donated in 2000 by Francine Taylor.

    Alternate Form of Materials

    Digital reproduction available online in the Lowcountry Digital Library.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Rebecca McClure, March 2011.

    Encoded by Rebecca McClure, December 2011.

    Reviewed and uploaded by Martha McTear, January 2012.

    Link to digital library added by Martha McTear, December 2013.

    Funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources supported the processing of this collection and encoding of the finding aid.

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