André Stora

A life dedicated to liturgy and singing

André Stora was born in Paris on December 13, 1933.

During the war, he was placed with peasants in the Jura (East of France) to protect him from anti-Semitic persecution. He blended into the Christian environment and even sang in church as an altar boy. He was very responsive to the liturgical atmosphere.

After the war, he was reunited with his parents, with whom he went to live in Lyon. His mother loved music very much and was attentive to André’s talents. He joined Lyon Opera Children’s choir and quickly became a soloist. He could be heard as the Shepherd in MIREILLE by Gounod, as well as in TOSCA by Puccini. The Rabbi of Lyon also noticed his talents: the child was admitted to the rabbinical school. He was then 14 years old and was to blossom in liturgical singing. He then worked with Léon Algazi who was be very keen to develop the gifts of his favorite pupil.

At the age of 18, André Stora obtained his first position as a Cantor at the Synagogue of Saint-Etienne. He then held the same position at the Synagogue de la Victoire in Paris, where Rabbi Simon Morali picked him up and offered him to come to the Synagogue of Nancy. In this new position, he soon created a children’s choir that gave concerts in Nancy, Paris, Troyes, Besançon, Dijon, Nice, etc.

As a director of the Hebrew school of the Jewish community (Talmud Thora), André Stora also founded and managed the local group of the national Jewish scout movement (Eclaireuses Eclaireurs Israélites de France, EEIF).

After four years of studies at the Nancy Music Academy, he obtained a First Prize in Singing and Opera, sight-reading and music theory.

In Nancy, a young woman named Nicole LIPPMAN was assisting André Stora in his work. André and Nicole got married in 1960 and had three daughters: Carole, Laurence and Anne-Myriam who have all become professional musicians. Nicole became a teacher, a choir director at the synagogue and helped with the young scouts.

In 1987, while the Jewish community of Nancy was celebrating its bicentenary, André Stora was celebrating thirty years of service in this synagogue on the very same day. He performed there as a soloist in the Service Sacré of Darius Milhaud. He had already sung it in the synagogue of Nancy with the choir of Besançon, as well as in Bordeaux.

Upon his retirement, André Stora moved to Israel where he currently resides.

At the Synagogue, the role of the Cantor:

The Cantor (called Hazan) of the Synagogue is the delegate of the Community. He can hold his office only with the approval of the latter. His role is to lead the prayer of the assembly. He is also reads the Torah, following the rules of a very ancient cantillation. The Hazan teaches this cantillation to young boys preparing their religious majority (Bar Mitzvah).

His role is neither that of a priest nor that of a preacher. Invested with the mission of encouraging the assembly to sing along the prayers, he must therefore be a pedagogue and a musician, be endowed with a pleasant and powerful voice; but above all, thanks to his knowledge of religious and liturgical traditions, the Cantor must know how to guide the feelings and emotions of the religious soul of his community.

Hidden child during the Holocaust

My early years

Since their marriage in 1920, my parents Abraham Stora and Rose née Azoulay, lived in Paris. They had 3 children.

Paul Henri Aaron born January 11, 1922 in Paris.
Robert Élie Armand born November 10, 1923 in Enghien-les-Bains
André Michel Joseph was born on December 13, 1933 in Paris.

At the beginning of the war during the summer of 1940, I was at a summer camp in Saint-Calais (Sarthe, France). My parents (my father Abraham, my mother Rose, my brother Robert) had left Paris by car escaping to the Zone Libre (Free Zone). They wanted to pick me up while passing through this region, but in their haste, they could not make the detour.

My brother Paul -who had not left with my parents- took care of me after the summer camp. I stayed on my own, just with him until my mother returned.

Before the war, we used to live on avenue Trudaine in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, in the very same place where I was born on December 13, 1933.

Then, we moved to rue des Lilas ( Paris 19) to a pretty pavilion. I remember, I was alone there with my elder brother, I was 8 years old and he was 21. When my mother came back to Paris, we moved to a more modest 3-room apartment, 41, rue des Bois  (Paris 19), in the same neighborhood, so I stayed in the same school.

– My brother Paul had been drafted into the S.T.O. (Service du Travail Obligatoire, Forced Labour) and remained in Germany until after the liberation in May 1945.

– I, André, was alone with my mother, she worked as an insurance broker at the company Urbaine Capitalisation, 24, rue Le Pelletier (Paris 9). In 1941, when she was no longer allowed to work officially, she worked for Madame Brunie, a “Good Catholic” who was taking profits on her meager commissions. This woman took me to Church and had me baptized at Notre-Dame-des-Champs Church; she was my godmother.

In December 1941; I was evacuated from Paris to the Jura, to Provenchère via Belleherbe (Doubs 25). The family that hosted me was called Rock or Roque. There was an old sick grandmother, her son Marc and her sister Reine,and they took care of the farm, the animals and cultivated the fields. 

In this same village, there were other children from Paris. I don’t know if these peasants were paid to host these children. They must not have known that I was Jewish. I went to the village school and to Church and to religion classes.

I stayed in this village until January 1945 (I have a letter to my father dated January 1945 saying that I was happy to be reunited with my mother after so many years of separation).

My mother had left Paris to come to Lyon where she was still working at Urbaine Capitalisation, as an insurance broker. She was working for a woman called Madame Brunie, not under her own name.

In January 1945, my mother came to pick me up in Provenchère.

Afterwards, we stayed in Lyon, in a boarding house 28, rue Vaubecour. After the Liberation my father came to join us there in June 1945. We then rented an apartment 9, rue Clotilde Bizolon and got our furniture back. I don’t know if our furniture was moved back from Paris or if it had remained in storage in Lyon.

My brother Robert had joined the French Resistance in Limoges and he “died for France” at the age of 20 on July 18, 1944.

My brother Paul returned from the S.T.O. after the liberation and was reunited with his family in Lyon, in 1945.

After the war, the family did not return to Paris, they stayed in Lyon. We buried my brother Robert in the Jewish Cemetery in Lyon, rue Abraham-Bloch in 1946.

My mother was still working for the same insurance company, but she had -due to the circumstances- separated from Madame Brunie . I must tell you I was reunited with my father after 5 years of separation; he brought me closer to the synagogue, and gradually moved me away from the Church. In 1946, I left the Jesuit College of St. Joseph where I went to school to join a non-religious school.

From the age of 15, I went to Paris to the rabbinical school joining the pedagogy and liturgy section to become a synagogue cantor. I had been playing the piano since the age of 6, I had a beautiful soprano voice. I was attracted by liturgical music, first in the Church and then in the synagogue.

My father was very affected by the death of his son. He was already getting old and could no longer work. It was my mother who boiled the pot.

After four years of studies in Paris, I took my first job in Saint-Etienne, and since I was given an apartment, my parents also came to live with me. I stayed in Saint-Étienne from 1951 to March 1956. I went to Paris to the ‘Grande Synagogue’, rue de la Victoire and worked there from March 56 to July 57. From that moment onward, I lived in Nancy where I got married. I now have three married daughters, eleven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

My parents followed me to Paris and then to Nancy.

My father died in May 1959 and my mother in November 1986. My older brother Paul was married. He also had three married children. He died in December 1982.

Here are the civil status details:

My parents Abraham Stora, born on 22-Dec-1885 in Algiers (Department of Algiers)

Rose Marcelle Éléonore Azoulay, born 01-Nov-1896 in Algiers. Marriage in Paris 75001 on 15-Jan-1920 (Marriage contract received on 09-Jan-1920 by Maître Henri Pinrau, Notary in Paris).

Their first domicile : 18, rue du Pont Neuf Paris

Death: my father: 21-May-1959 in Nancy 54000

My mother: 08-Nov-1986 in Toul 54200

The Stora children :

Paul Henri Aron Stora, born on 11-Jan-1922 in Paris 75018 died on 24-Dec-1982 in Saint-Symphorien-d’Ozon (Rhône).
Robert Élie Armand Stora, born November 10, 1923 in Enghien-les-Bains, died July 18, 1944 in Saint-Gilles-les-Forêts (87130).
André Michel Joseph Stora born on 13-Dec-1933 in Paris 75010

Saint Étienne’s synagogue

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La Victoire’s synagogue

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Nancy’s Synagogue

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