Friday, 01 March 2013 16:26
On Sunday, 3rd February 2013 a plaque was unveiled jointly by Frank Honigbaum, Maurice's son, and Ralph Hofmann, President of B'nai B'rith Europe. The unveiling ceremony took place in the Executive meeting room in the presence of members of the Honigbaum family and the members of the BBE Executive.
Frank spoke eloquently about his father's life. Maurice was born in Warsaw in 1923 into a middle-class family, in the hosiery business, an orthodox Jewish family with strong Zionist tendencies. Maurice's father and mother each had ten brothers and sisters and six of these families survived by emigrating to France, Portugal, Belgium and Palestine. Maurice's parents emigrated to Metz in 1929 following two brothers who had moved there earlier.
Maurice quickly integrated into French Jewish life, becoming a keen Boy Scout (EIF). During the war he and his parents moved to Montpellier and there, with the Jewish Scouts, became involved in rescuing Jewish children, helping them to cross into Switzerland near Geneva. One of these children was Elie Wiesel.
Maurice remained in Geneva in 1944, studied at the University there, met his wife, Rachel and married her in 1946. After obtaining a degree in sports, Maurice worked for the children's rescue organisation OSE in Strasbourg and in Brittany.
After returning to Metz to help his parents he became closely involved in fund raising for the new state of Israel and also with the local Jewish community. Frank and his sister were born in Metz. In 1959 he moved to Nice for business reasons and became an active member of the fast growing Jewish community where he founded a union of Jewish organisations in the city with the aim of creating more weight in his dealings with the city authorities. He remained President of this organisation for ten years and a member of CRIF for over 20 years.
He joined B'nai B'rith in the mid 1960's, later becoming President of the Cote d'Azur Lodge. He was elected President of District 19 in Monte Carlo.
"When I think of my father"says Frank, "I remember a man of action. Whenever a Jew was in pain, or threatened, he felt involved. And above all, the survival of the State of Israel was absolutely essential. It is very difficult to say how special he was to me, he was my father, and that means all".