Helene Kozak, 91, of Palmyra, a Jew who witnessed the Nazi invasion of her native France, died Wednesday, Dec. 26, of sepsis in Marlton.
Born in Paris in 1920, Mrs. Kozak lived in the Pletzl, the Jewish quarter of the Fourth Arrondissement. Her family had moved into a Christian quarter of the city before German forces invaded.
Mrs. Kozak's Christian neighbors kept the family's secret during the occupation, as soldiers lived in barracks nearby.
When Allied forces liberated the city, a U.S. Army captain looking to buy perfume for his wife sought local help to avoid price-gouging. The captain met Mrs. Kozak's father, who sent his daughter to help one of the captain's soldiers buy perfume.
That soldier, Benjamin, would become Mrs. Kozak's husband.
After the war, Mrs. Kozak moved to the United States to be with her husband. She worked as a manager and buyer at the Glove Shop at Ninth and Market Streets from 1960 to 1972, then worked for Levinthal's on Chestnut Street for the next 18 years.
Mrs. Kozak often shared her life story, visiting classrooms in Mount Laurel and Pennsauken taught by her grandson Eric Zino's wife, Bridget.
In addition to her grandson, she is survived by a daughter, Deanna Zino, and another grandson.
Graveside services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 28, at Crescent Memorial Park, Pennsauken.