Robert Badinter, a famous French politician and lawyer, follows the fate of his grandmother Idiss, who moved with her family to Paris in 1912 due to poverty and growing antisemitism in Imperial Russia. There she lived the best years of her life before the gloomy clouds of Nazism and war loomed over her family.

I wrote this book as a dedication to Idiss, my maternal grandmother. This is neither a biography nor an analysis of the situation of Jewish immigrants from the Russian Empire who settled in Paris before 1914. This is just a story about a unique destiny that I have often dreamed about. May it also be, despite the passage of time, a testimony of love for the grandson.

Robert Badinter

* * *

Idiss, my maternal grandmother, was born in 1863 in Yiddishland, on the western border of the Russian Empire. She got to know the poverty and even the misery of the Jews from the shtetl in Bessarabia. Friday evening prayer ended with thanks to the Lord who gave her bread to feed her family. That was absurd in her current situation. But that wording soothed her. God watches over her family in France, as He once did in Bessarabia. Idiss was grateful for his benefactions, but she was not surprised by them. The Lord is just, and Idiss endured her earthly trials there, in Bessarabia. And here, in this foreign country, nothing was easy for her.
Today, when I reached my grandmother's age, I think about her past, which is a little bit like mine. It touches me, but also makes me laugh, as if a storyteller is sitting next to me and reminds me of my grandmother's fate, in the language whose accents rocked me in the cradle of my childhood.

  • ISBN: 978-953-369-015-5
  • Dimensions: 128x190 mm
  • Number of pages: 208
  • Cover: paperback
  • Year of the edition: 2022
  • Original title: Idiss
  • Original language: French
  • Translation: Dubravka Celebrini