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FOREWORD Beate Klarsfeld

In June of 1940, at the time of the French defeat, approximately 320,000 Jews were living in France. Four years later, after the Liberation, one fourth had perished. Of these, 76,000 had been deported; 3,000 were sent to French camps; and 1,000 were executed. Half of those 320,000 were French; many were naturalized citizens. The other half were foreigners. Some had entered France in the twenties, after the bloodshed of the First World War, when the country was in need of workers. Others were refugees fleeing Hitler or Austria’s Anschluss. These German and Austrian Jewish refugees were most at risk of persecution.

On September 2, 1939, at the start of the war, men from each region of the country-those whom France chose to consider as “nationals from an enemy state”-were interned in camps. Women regarded as suspect were concentrated in the south, at the camp of Rieucros in Lozère. In May of 1940, when the Germans invaded France, many more women and their children were arrested, and most were directed to the camp of Gurs in the Pyrénées Atlantique. Although many were freed after the armistice, a few months later, on October 4, 1940, under Vichy and Marshal Pétain’s anti-Jewish laws, prefects were given the authority to arbitrarily arrest and intern “foreigners of Jewish race” at special camps.
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For little Ruth, four years old, the saga of her German-Jewish family began in 1941 in Toulouse, the free zone, where Vichy was sovereign and there was not a single German soldier. Here there were also thousands of other foreign Jewish families interned at camps, sometimes in inhuman conditions. In the occupied zone, camps solely for Jewish men were established in May of 1941; however, in July of 1942, Jewish women and children also became targets for arrest.

At the end of the war, the immediate family counted two victims-2 out of 10. The casualty rate for the entire Jewish population in France was 1 out of 4. Throughout Europe, the percentage of Jewish children among the deportees matched the percentage of children in the Jewish population, 23 percent, but in France, it was 14 percent.

Why was there this difference? It was not caused by Vichy’s mercy toward Jewish children, but because another France was watching, and because outside the country, the real France of General De Gaulle was fighting along with the Allies. The children were saved by the actions of the righteous, those who could not tolerate to witness their country breaking its traditions of honor and hospitality by delivering thousands of Jewish families to their worst enemies, who did not hide their criminal projects. Ruth/Renée’s story is the story of the rescue of the Jews. It is a personal story that embodies the collective story of the foreign Jews who escaped deportation and the gas chambers, when they so easily could have been denounced.

The story of Ruth is moving in its simplicity. Through hopes, terrors, reunions and separations, it is the story of a child who never forgot that she was Jewish; the story of many hidden children who were saved from the Holocaust, and of thousands of children who lived similar lives until the anti-Jewish hate caught up to them. The history and stories of these children hidden and lost are written in the two thousand pages of French Children of the Holocaust.

Serge Klarsfeld (New York: New York University Press, 1995)
Table of Contents   |    Author's Preface   |    Teaching Rationale   |    Excerpts

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Your Name is Renée:
Author: Stacy Cretzmeyer
Foreword by Beate Klarsfeld

Ruth Kapp Hartz's Story as a Hidden Child in Nazi-Occupied France

softcover, 5.5 x 8.5 ins.
15 illustrations, annotated, references,238 pp.
Published by Oxford University Press,
distributed by Beach Lloyd Publishers, LLC
Your Name is Renée $12.95

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