Being of Jewish origin, he was entrusted to protection from a foster family. In 1943 he was taken with adults in a nazi-led capture in Bordeaux. He avoided detention by hiding for a while in the restrooms and later being hidden from Nazi searches as a working boy under the false name Jean laborde in a farm until the end of the war. His survival of nazi destruction motivated his career into psychiatry. Both his parents were arrested and murdered during World War II. He studied medicine at the University of Paris. He wrote several books of popular science on psychology. He is known in France for developing and explaining to the public the concept of Psychological resilience.