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Saving Children during the Holocaust in France - July 2011

Welcome to the 24th issue of Teaching the Legacy. This edition focuses on the fate of children in France during the Holocaust and the people and organizations that tried to hide them and save them. It features an interview with Israel (Zizi) Lichtenstein, himself a hidden child in southern France, and some of the artifacts that survived with him through the war. There is an article on the different organizations that worked to rescue children in France, and some of the heroic people who rescued a Jewish boy during the Holocaust. As always, the newsletter features new publications, book reviews, and updates on recent and upcoming activities at the International School for Holocaust Studies and across Yad Vashem. We hope you find this issue interesting and resourceful, and we look forward to your feedback.

From Democracy to Deportation: The Jews of France from the Revolution to the Holocaust

From Democracy to Deportation: The Jews of France from the Revolution to the Holocaust

In 1791, after the French Revolution, Jews in France were emancipated and granted full citizenship. This was the first time in history, that Jews had been given such equality. Even after the Dreyfus Affair in the 1890s, French Jewry remained convinced that their place as equals in society would ultimately keep them safe from antisemitism that existed in other European countries. Unfortunately, this was not the case.

As is pointed out later in this article, the motto of “liberty, equality, fraternity,” was turned on its head by the Germans when they invaded in May...
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Saint Georges, France - a photograph from a children's home where Jewish children were hidden during the Holocaust

Hidden Children In France During the Holocaust

IntroductionIn June 1940 after Nazi Germany invaded France, the French surrendered and signed an armistice with the Nazis. France was then divided in two: northern France (the occupied zone) was placed under German control, while southern France (the unoccupied zone) was placed under the control of a new French government, which was established in the spa town of Vichy. At that time, approximately 350,000 Jews lived in France, some of whom were refugees from Germany and other countries occupied by the Nazis, including thousands of children.Almost immediately after the occupation, Jews living in...
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Interview with Israel (Zizi) Lichtenstein, Holocaust Survivor

Interview with Israel (Zizi) Lichtenstein, Holocaust Survivor

Early Years
I was born on 11 November 1932, which means I am already over seventy-eight years old. My parents came to France from Poland. Before then they were in Italy for a few months, because they wanted to make aliyah, but they didn’t receive an immigration certificate. So, many many years later, I am here and able to fulfill their wishes. Nobody would have thought then, that I would be here in Israel, and my father would have perished in Auschwitz.I grew up in a poor family and was an only child. We lived in a poor, working class area of Paris and I went to school. My parents spoke...
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Righteous Among the Nations: Jules & Jeanne Roger & mother Louise Roger - France

Righteous Among the Nations: Jules & Jeanne Roger & mother Louise Roger - France

In a world of total moral collapse during the Holocaust, there was a small minority who mustered extraordinary courage to uphold human values. These were the Righteous Among the Nations. They stand in stark contrast to the mainstream of indifference and hostility that prevailed during the Holocaust. Contrary to the general trend, these rescuers regarded Jews as fellow human beings who came within the bounds of their universe of obligation.

This piece highlights one story of Righteous Among the Nations, in an effort to recognize these heroic individuals. For educators, this topic lends...
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Artifacts Saved by Zizi Lichtenstein's Mother

Artifacts Saved by Zizi Lichtenstein's Mother

In July 1942, Zizi Lichtenstein, aged 10 was attending school in Paris. He and all other Jews had been instructed to wear the yellow star. Zizi remembers the day well. He spoke about it in his interview:Zizi: The yellow star is from France. We had to put it on in school, in Paris, July 1942.Interviewers: Do you remember as a child how you felt with the yellow star?I really remember, because the day before, my teacher Monsieur Usheau told the students that on Sunday, which was the first day of school, he didn’t want any of the kids to tease their friend Zizi. And I was already in the...
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