Luci Cohen Zimering was born in Tunis, Tunisia to a family who had lived there for many generations. The neighborhood in Tunis where Luci and her family lived was mostly inhabited by Jews, Italians and some French. Overall, Luci grew up feeling very safe and happy living as a Jew in the city of Tunis. However, one evening in November 1942 those feelings changed for Luci, because the Germans had just invaded Tunis.
Luci’s unmarried uncles were sent to hard labor camps and a few young men were able to hide in the countryside. During this time there was also a food shortage and Luci’s father would often rent a truck with some friends, drive to Algeria, and come back the same day with sacks of potatoes. The German army was also planning to build concentration camps in Tunisia, luckily there was a lack of railroads to transport masses of people to them. Luci and her family witnessed bombs falling around them, very close to their home. Like Jews in Europe, they were required to give their radios and some other belongings to the Germans.
Finally, the English and eventually the Americans liberated Tunis and the rest of North Africa. The Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba returned from exile in France. Luci worked as a secretary for Mr. Bechir Ben Yahmid who was the Minister of Communications in President Habib Bourguiba’s cabinet until 1962 when she decided to join her brothers in Geneva, Switzerland. She met her future husband in Geneva and moved with him to Ohio in 1968 where he was offered a job.
Luci and her husband had two sons together. After her husband passed away in 1995, she decided to follow her youngest son to Palo Alto. Luci continues to keep her Tunisian culture and she stays in contact with other Tunisians through a website called Harissa.com.