Henri Servin, professor of French and former hidden child, dies

Henri Servin, Ph.D., 94, died of Covid-related pneumonia on Jan. 8, 2021. Servin’s son was at his side when he died, and his wife, Genevieve was able to say a final goodbye over video.

Henri was born to a Jewish family in Poland in 1926 and grew up in Liège, Belgium. During the Holocaust, when his father, Yankele, was detained, Henri was smuggled into hiding by the Belgian resistance, along with his mother, Leah; his brother, Paul; and many thousands of other Jews. Henri spent the war on farms near Liège, where he developed a love of nature and animals. In the 1990s, while writing a memoir about his wartime experiences, Henri learned that his father had perished at Auschwitz. After the war Henri, his mother and his brother moved to Montreal, Canada, where he started a club for Jewish expats, through which he met his wife. Genevieve encouraged him to study, and after he received his high school diploma he was admitted to UCLA, where he went on to earn a doctorate in French literature. In 1967 he became a professor in the Department of French at the University of Arizona, where he deeply touched many students over his 30-year tenure. Henri, a profoundly gentle and loving man, is survived by his wife, Genevieve, as well as his son, Jacques, and brother, Paul.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Pima Council on Aging.

Arrangements were made by Bring’s Broadway Chapel.