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There may be more to this jam than its rustic label.
Bonne Maman, a popular French preserves company available in most grocery stories and online, is going viral for an unverified but heartwarming story of Nazi resistance.
The “anti-Nazi jam” story, which has gone viral on Twitter, was shared by Michael Perino, a St. John’s University law professor. Perino said he was grocery shopping in northern New Jersey on Valentine’s Day when he encountered a woman in her 80s or 90s, struggling to reach a jar of jam.
Perino, 57, helped her grab the product, and she then asked him, “Do you know why I buy this brand?”
She went on to describe how she was a Holocaust survivor and “the family that owns the company hid my family in Paris,” Perino recalled her saying.
The thread went viral, with 27,300 likes and more than 6,500 retweets on the start of his post. Perino’s followers vowed to support the company and proudly shared pictures of the jam already in their fridges.
However, the details are hard to confirm — Snopes.com could not prove the veracity of the tale. And the brand itself, which was created well after the Holocaust in 1971, couldn’t confirm that the family behind its jams helped shelter Jews during the war, telling the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in a statement that “The family prefers to maintain privacy and does not comment on inquiries about personal matters.”
No one in the town of Biars-sur-Cère, where the company is based, was listed on Israel’s Holocaust memorial and museum registry of “righteous gentiles” — those who rescued Jews during the Holocaust, according to the JTA. While the woman said she was sheltered in Paris, the founding family was based in Biars-sur-Cère at the time of the war.
But other internet sleuths say it’s plausible the woman was remembering correctly. One remarked that the family behind Bonne Maman may have lived in Paris during the war, adding a link to a genealogy site for Henri Gervoson, a sibling of one of the founders.
Others said it’s possible the woman just meant that she was sheltered near Paris — the town is about 300 miles from Paris. One commenter on Perino’s Twitter thread said Biars-sur-Cère is “well known in the area for their links to the resistance and helping hide Jews in the war.”
After taking in the many critiques and praises, Perino added to his thread that he didn’t fact-check the woman before he shared her story. But, he added, “Let me ask you this question — what possible reason would this woman have to go out of her way to lie to the perfect stranger who just retrieved a jar of preserves for her?”
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