Joan Salter was born in Belgium. Her name was originally Fanny Zimetbaum. Joan escaped danger with her mother and sister by fleeing to:


Vichy (free zone of France)

Journey over the Mountains



Eventually Joan went to England after World War II to join her parents in London.

Joan wrote the accompanying text to describe her suitcase: 'This suitcase is part of someone I once was.  When I escaped from occupied France into Spain at the end of 1942, I was Fanny Zimetbaum. In June 1943, I was taken to the U.S.A. as an unaccompanied Child.  In America my new family changed my name to Joan Farell,  In June 1947, aged seven and a half, I was told I was to be returned to my birth parents who had survived the war. This suitcase was the gift from my American family and had my initials J.F. on it. I arrived in England to be met by parents I no longer remembered. My mother and I did not even have a common language.  In England I retained my first name Joan, but reverted to the surname of my birth family Zimetbaum.  This suitcase travelled back and forth with me between my two families over the next ten years.  I now use the name Joan Frances Salter: my American first name, the anglicised version of my birth name and my married surname'. 

Why is this suitcase so important to Joan?

Learn more about Joan

Listen to Joan's testimony

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