FRENCH CHILDREN OF THE HOLOCAUST

A memorial
Serge Klarsfeld  

 
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reveal evidence left in the social assistance dossiers by the maneuvers cited above-as an inquiry of the same kind against the Jews Rabinovitch (Legal Service) and Averbouh (OSE, Champs Elysées office) would perhaps reveal the origin of the resources permitting the secret functioning, at least of OSE as it is reconstituted. . . .

June 30, 1943. Röthke informs the Paris prefect of police that the SS will take direct control of Drancy on July 2 at noon. The prefect writes Jean Leguay that all police and other French personnel will be withdrawn from the camp. The new Drancy commandant is SS Captain Aloïs Brunner, known for his hatred of Jews. He has been sent by Eichmann to help Röthke and to speed the arrest and deportation of Jews from France. Brunner continues to use Jewish prisoners for the internal administration and operation of Drancy.

July 13, 1943. The UGIF secretariat informs directors of its children's homes in the Paris region that "the German authorities urgently demand the complete list of children presently in our centers, whether previously arrested or not...." Brunner also demands the names of all elderly and sick persons in UGIF care. There are 374 children in UGIF homes, 519 elderly people and 262 persons listed as sick in the UGIF, Rothschild, and other institutions.

September 2, 1943. Jews who are patients in Paris area psychiatric hospitals are tracked down by Brunner and seized. A woman who is described as "violently insane" is chloroformed on Brunner's orders and is carried onto convoy 59 at the Paris-Bobigny station. Her awakening in a cattle car filled with deportees cannot be imagined.

September 8, 1943. General Eisenhower announces that Italy has signed an armistice with the Allies. A new Italian government, formed by Marshal Pietro Badoglio following the overthrow of Mussolini in July, will withdraw from the war. German police and soldiers immediately block all roads and rail lines from Nice and the other population centers of the Italian Zone, trapping an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 Jews.

September 10, 1943. Brunner arrives in Nice with a special SS commando detailed to hunt down Jews. Unable to count on help from either French police or documents identifying Jews – never introduced in the Italian Zone – Brunner and his team begin a systematic search for Jews in hotels, apartment buildings, markets, and on the streets. The Germans make suspected Jewish men and boys show their penises; all who are circumcised are arrested immediately. Assisted by the Milice and paid informers, Brunner and his group capture 1,800 Jews in Nice and the surrounding region, but the hunt is not an overwhelming success. Their prisoners are treated brutally and tortured for information on the whereabouts of family members, and this brutality leads some members of the public to help hunted Jews when they can.

October 20, 1943. In Marseilles, the La Verdière Center is surrounded by the Gestapo. It had been opened on May 24 by the UGIF on instructions of the Marseilles Gestapo to shelter previously arrested women and children. Refuge has been found for children who are alone, but 9 mothers and 28 children are arrested at the center on October 20. Alice Salomon, the center's director, volunteers to join the group to be with the children until the end. They are deported on convoy 61 of October 28,
    
   

FRENCH CHILDREN OF THE HOLOCAUST

A memorial
Serge Klarsfeld

 
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