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Accession Number: NEKHC:2014.1

Object: Doll

Physical Description:  Composition doll, with crocheted and cotton clothing. Glass eyes. Broken fingers on right hand, some damage on left hand. Fragile. **Restrictions on loan of this item

Information: This doll was donated by Suzanne Rappoport. Suzanne was sent into hiding after being saved by a neighbour on the day of her parents' arrest. The doll was Suzanne's whilst she was in hiding, but was left behind when she had to changes hiding places suddenly. A daughter of the family who had been hiding Suzanne kept the doll safe for many years, before reuniting with Suzanne and returning the doll to her in 2005. 

Further Information: 

This doll was donated by Suzanne Rappoport. Suzanne was born in France to Millie and Josek Rappoport, in 1936. Suzanne’s mother was born in Russia in 1901, to Jewish parents who fled to Britain due to Russian pogroms in the early 1900s. Before 1920, Millie had left Britain for France where she met Suzanne’s father, a Polish tailor.

The family lived in France and because they were Jewish, faced increasing danger from the rise of Nazism and persecution of Jewish people. In August 1942, when Suzanne was 6 years old, the family were arrested at their home for being both non-French and Jewish. During their arrest the family’s non-Jewish neighbour, Madame Collomb, saved Suzanne from deportation by walking into the family’s flat and pretending Suzanne was her daughter. This would save Suzanne’s life, as following their arrest Mille and Josek were both murdered in the Holocaust.

The situation was extremely dangerous for Suzanne, she was first hidden in Madame Collomb’s flat for a short time, but could not stay so close to her former family home for fear of betrayal. Madame Collomb sent her into hiding with a network of people protecting Jewish children in the village of Mondoubleau, in the Loire Valley.

Suzanne had this doll, which she named ‘Sheina’ meaning ‘pretty’ whilst she was in hiding. One night Suzanne suddenly had to leave her hiding place for another one and Sheina got left behind. A daughter of the couple who had been hiding Suzanne, called Paulette, found Sheina and kept her safe. At the end of the Second World War Suzanne was sent to England to join her maternal grandparents.

Many years later, in 2005, Paulette made contact with Suzanne and the pair were reunited. On their reunion Paulette returned Sheina to Suzanne.

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