French Saved His Life

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Born in Poland, Justus Rosenberg moved to a boarding school in Paris in 1937. “I was dreaming of beautiful French girls,” he told The New York Times. He became fluent in French, and “that would save my life.”

After the Nazis invaded his homeland in 1939, and then his adopted land in 1940, Rosenberg helped anti-fascist refugees flee to Spain. Unable to make his own escape, he joined the Resistance and assumed a new identity with the “fine French name” of Jean-Paul Guiton. And his command of French? His new identity included a mother who was Alsatian, “to account for his accent.”

Now 95, Rosenberg continues to teach French literature at Bard, where he joined the faculty in 1962, after serving as a scout with the American Army and a supply officer for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. Read the complete story of this remarkable man here.

— Bob

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