Holocaust survivor (l) (shutterstock); Bonne Maman jam (r) (AP/Matthew Mead) Holocaust survivor (l) (shutterstock); Bonne Maman jam (r) (AP/Matthew Mead)
Holocaust survivor Bonne Maman jam

Kind-hearted individual helps a woman in New Jersey get a jar of jam off the top shelf, then learns the surprising rescue story connecting the woman and the European jam company.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

College professor Michael Perino was being a friendly fellow shopper last weekend.

Along with his good deed of helping an older woman with her shopping, he got an inspiring history lesson from a Holocaust survivor that impressed him so much that he shared the encounter on social media.

“At the supermarket today, I found a small, elderly woman standing in front of a high shelf holding Bonne Maman preserves,” Perino tweeted. “She was having trouble finding the flavor she wanted because the jars were set back on the shelf.”

“She couldn’t read the labels. She could barely reach them. I offered to help,” said Perino, a law professor at St. John’s University in New York. “After I handed her the raspberry preserves, she thanked me, paused, and then asked, ‘Do you know why I buy this brand?'”

“I laughed and replied, ‘Because it tastes good?’”

“Yes, it tastes good.” She paused again. “I am a Holocaust survivor.”

Perino was totally surprised and tweeted that “this was not the conversation I expected on a Sunday grocery run.”

“During the war, the family that owns the company hid my family in Paris,” the woman told him. “So now I always buy it. And whenever I go to the store, my grandkids remind me, ‘Bubbe, don’t forget to buy the jelly.’”

“I told her that that was the best reason I ever heard to buy any company’s product. And then we both smiled behind our masks and went our separate ways,” Perino said.

The Dallas Jewish Monthly reported that someone else on Twitter looked into the story, and indeed, the town of Biars sur Cere, where the Andros Company that makes Bonne Maman is located, hid and saved Jewish families during World War II.

Biars sur Cere is about 440 kilometers (270 miles) south of Paris and during the war had about 800 residents.

A reporter for JTA tried verifying the story with Bonne Maman, but the company said the owners “prefer to maintain privacy” and don’t comment on inquiries about personal matters. The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem had no specific information on the town or the company.

While the exact details of the story Perino related may remain elusive, one person posted on Facebook that the story is “a poignant reminder that when we look out for each other it can change lives, and that there are good and selfless people in the world.”

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