Jewish childhood – La Croix


Author and comedian, Jean-François Derec traces his past as a Jewish child hidden during the occupation. Georges Lavaudant puts him on stage

The day I heard I was a Jew, from and from Jean-François Derec

He was Jewish. He did not know it. Until one day a friend dared to ask her to see her "zizi". He was ten years old. It was during the occupation. So, whoever had never questioned her, she started asking questions … What did her friend imply? Where is he from? Did it belong to the chosen people? Did not belong to him? His physique did not evoke anything, it is true, the Semitic heritage. He was even "well seen" by the Nazi occupier.

From the Polish Dereczynski to the Parisians Dereczynski …

Guided by Georges Lavaudant, his former partner of Grenoble in the sign of the Partisan Theater (and their clown trio with Ariel Garcia-Valdès) in the years after 68, Jean-François Derec traces the past, telling his story through his pages adapted to the scene of his book with the same title published ten years ago – The day I heard I was Jewish (1).

The son of Polish "Jews" (which he did not know until then, but in any case could only be "bad news", he says), comes from a family who in 1933 had fled from the pogroms and persecutions emigrating to Paris. In the process, they changed their name – Dereczynski metamorphosis in Derec …

"Hôtel Feydeau", a frenetic ride at the Odeon Theater

An inescapable portrait of a Jewish mother

There, on the set, then, troubled by his "illness" (his Jewishness!), He begins to question the scene, wondering as much on himself as on the way in which the others look at him, on what seems to be, on his culture, his Jewishness, his religion, his truth, his belonging to the community …

Everything his mother denies, an opportunity for an unimaginable portrait. By doing what he can to erase the Semitic roots of the family, he goes so far as to send his son to catechism to become a good Christian, good from home! There is also the episode of the discovery of the synagogue, of what it means to be Jewish – Jewish Jew or Jew of the Rue des Rosiers, Jew emigrated from Poland, escaped from Lodz ghetto and the final "solution". ..

Between feigned ingenuity and cold humor, the story moves slowly, striding, fun, entertaining, moving, truculent, unexpected. Above all human. No sleeve effect, no effect easy to make Margot cry. Under the delicate domain of Georges Lavaudant, Jean-François Derec modestly exposes himself in a game of the highest quality, in search of himself, the meaning of his life. We are in the simple truth. Touched, grasped, moved. Upset.

Didier Méreuze


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