The International School for Holocaust Studies
The Wooden Duck
Courtesy of the Artifacts Department, Yad Vashem Museums Division
Loaned by Judith (Geller) Marcus, Petach Tikva, Israel
During her activities in the French underground, Judith Geller (or Jacqueline Gauthier - nom de guerre) received a hollow toy duck containing hidden documents. The duck was added to a collection of children’s toys used by Judith under her assumed identity as a children’s social worker. The duck was made by a person nicknamed “Kor”, who brought people from Holland to France, and was connected to the French and Dutch undergrounds. Judith received the duck from him after she was arrested with a package of documents belonging to the underground that only by some miracle was not discovered by the Germans.
Judith Geller, born in Metz, was 17 years old when the war broke out. In 1941, her older brother Joel was arrested, and sent to Pithiviers, and later to Auschwitz where he died. Judith’s parents and younger brother hid in occupied Paris while Judith walked around “openly” with false papers under the assumed name of Jacqueline Gautier. She worked for the underground, transferring documents and false papers. Judith also organized false identities for her mother and a hiding place for her parents and brother. During the war, Judith continued to see her beloved Alfred Marcus (a good friend of her elder brother Joel) who was imprisoned in a detention camp for British subjects. After the war, Judith married Alfred and together they immigrated to Israel.