This book collects all the speeches given by Simone Veil as president of the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah from 2002 to 2007. As a survivor of Auschwitz, she speaks from the bottom of her heart and her own memory, matured and enhanced by her national and international political experience.
Testimonies by activists, and historical works
Jacques Samuel, a French Alsatian Jew, spent the war in a family that was part of the Jewish Resistance. The pious, music-loving young man recorded what they all went through in a journal: the exodus, the refuge, the collective life on a farm school run by the Éclaireurs israélites de France (EIF), and the trek over the Pyrenees towards Spain in a desperate bid to reach Palestine, which ended in tragedy.
This work brings together several eyewitness accounts, including that of Maximilian Trenner, interpreter in charge of relations with the Germans, and that of Georges Krief, a young lawyer. It presents the stories of labour camps such as that of Bizerte, run directly by the SS, and those dependent on the Italian Army. The fate of the Jews of Sousse and Sfax is also described.
Thanks to the clandestine network which he set up inside the Organisation to Save the Children - OSE (Oeuvre de secours aux enfants), Georges Garel saved many Jewish children pursued by the Nazis and their collaborators. This republication of his war memoirs presents to the reader a reference document, a detailed examination of this exceptional action.
Andrée Salomon (1908-1985) was one of the great figures in the Jewish Resistance in France. She was responsible for social welfare in the OSE. She organized the saving of children from the internment camps in the southern zone, who were placed in the houses of the OSE, then kept in hiding with false identities to enable them to evade deportation.
A hero of two wars, a prominent 44-year-old lawyer and very modern leader of the Jewish community, Paul Ghez is a man of character who successfully defied SS Colonel Walter Rauff. His diary, which he kept daily, enlightens us on the incidents of the fight against the Gestapo and on the fate of the Jewish population and those condemned to forced labour.
Gaston Lévy, paediatrician at the Strasbourg and Paris faculties, is one of the major figures of the Organisation to Save the Children - OSE (Oeuvre de secours aux enfants). After France's defeat in 1940, Dr Lévy made his home in Béziers with his family and made contact with the OSE. In 1941, he became medical inspector for the children’s homes and director of the babies' home at Limoges.
The Shoah brushed against Tunisia. The Jews there were persecuted, but the Nazis were not able to inflict on Tunisian Jewry the special treatment reserved for the Jewish populations which fell under their domination. Robert Borgel, a barrister in Tunis, and his father Moïse, president of the town’s Jewish community, were major players in this drama. Robert Borgel describes here in especially lively detail how the community leaders managed to save their fellow Jewish citizens detained by the worst of criminals.
The itinerary of Jenny Masour-Ratner is intimately linked to the history of the Organisation to Save the Children - OSE (Oeuvre de secours aux enfants), where she worked till the early 1960s. A Russian Jewish immigrant from Odessa, Jenny left the Paris region during the exodus and went to Montpellier where she joined the OSE. Following the organisation’s movements, she participated in the decision-making and was active up to the Liberation to save Jewish children.
From his adolescence in Alsace, Georges Loinger was made aware of the danger represented by the Nazi plans for the Jews. He dedicated himself to physical education for the young to prepare them for the challenges ahead. As a prisoner of war, he escaped in 1941 from his German Stalag to be reunited with his wife at La Bourboule. Then he threw himself wholeheartedly into the Resistance inside the Burgundy network and, with the OSE, participated in saving Jewish children.