"An eloquent sadness in him was too ancient for any one race to claim; and when, in 1999, he read his own mother's name, Gisele, at a public remembrance of deported and dead French Jews and added "ma maman," he spoke with a voice older than Exodus, and as old as the first day outside Eden.
"His parents were non-practicing Ashkenazi Jews, emigrants to France from Bendzin in Poland in the First World War, and his father survived his mother in Auschwitz in 1943. On a visit to Germany in 1937, he stayed with an anti-Hitler family of Protestants and read the New Testament for the first time. In 1940, his sister joined him in converting to Christianity while under the protection of a Catholic family in Orléans whose bishop baptized Aaron, adding the names Jean-Marie. The pain of losing his mother in such a crucible of evil ached all the more from his father's sense of betrayal. Charles, who kept a hosiery business, was of radical political views and held the tradition of the generations his one vital link to moral cogency. When Jean-Marie was ordained a priest, Charles watched his son from the rear of the cathedral, and the beauty of heaven that can seem harsh on earth was there that hour."
Fr. George Rutler, "Jean-Marie Lustiger," http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/stories_of_faith_and_character/cs0491.html.