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'Hidden Child' Mathilde Middleberg Dies at 78

June 11, 2009
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Mathilde Middleberg, 78, who lectured to children about the Holocaust at the Goodwin Holocaust Museum and Education Center, died May 25 at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. A resident of Cherry Hill, N.J., since 1988, she was formerly of Philadelphia.

Born Mathilde Talvy and raised in Paris as a so-called "hidden child," Middleberg's parents and the French underground transported her to a farm in the south of France to evade the Nazis during World War II.

She related to her young audiences by describing the Holocaust through her own experiences as a child.

Forced to leave school in the third grade, Middleberg re-enrolled at the age of 15 and studied fashion at the American ORT organization for reconstruction work after the war.

In 1952, shortly after coming to the United States, she married Charles Middleberg, also a hidden child.

Middleberg worked with her husband for a time in a linen business on Milnor Street in the Tacony section of Philadelphia. It was an import-export business that had several names, the last of which was National Linen.

She battled cancer and got the "all clear" in 2000, but the disease returned in 2007.

In addition to her husband, Middleberg is survived by her daughters, Lynne Warszawski and Brenda Pollack; sons David Middleberg and Maurice Middleberg; a sister; two brothers; and 12 grandchildren.

Memorial donations can be made to: the Goodwin Holocaust Museum and Education Center, 1301 Springdale Road, Cherry Hill, N.J. 08003.

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