Born: Husseren-Wesserling, France
August 17, 1930
Simone was born in the Alsatian village of Husseren-Wesserling. In 1933 when she was three, her parents moved to the nearby city of Mulhouse. There, her father worked in a printing factory. Her parents were Jehovah's Witnesses and instilled in her the teachings of the faith. Above all, she was taught the importance of placing obedience to God before allegiance to any earthly authority.
1933-39: I grew up in a home full of love. My parents would read the Bible to me. Our life included music, art, knitting and good food. I loved my dog and playing outdoors. We had a garden near the house and I enjoyed hiking and cycling in our beautiful countryside. In 1936 I began public school, studying in both French and German. During those years I learned a lot.
1940-44: The Germans occupied our region in 1940. A year later, I was expelled from school for refusing to say "Heil Hitler" and was interrogated by the Gestapo. When I was 12, the courts ordered that I be taken away from my parents--the Nazis claimed I was being corrupted by Jehovah's Witness teachings. In June 1943 I was sent to a children's reeducation center in Constance, Germany. My aunt was allowed to visit me nine times in two years: she smuggled illegal literature from Mulhouse. My love for Jehovah sustained me.
Simone was liberated by the French army in April 1945. She was reunited with her parents and returned to school in France.