A periodic e-newsletter from the B’nai B’rith World Center – Jerusalem, May 2017
B'nai B’rith World Center and Keren Kayemeth Leisrael hold unique Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony marking the heroism of Jewish rescuers
Ceremony Dedicated To Commemorating the Rescue Efforts of Walter Suskind and the Jewish caregivers in the Crèche in Amsterdam
B'nai B’rith World Center and Keren Kayemeth Leisrael holdunique Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony marking the heroism of Jewish rescuersCeremony Dedicated To Commemorating the Rescue Efforts of Walter Suskind and the Jewish caregivers in the Crèche in AmsterdamThe B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL-JNF) held for the 15th consecutive year, a unique joint Holocaust commemoration ceremony on Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah, April 24). This is the only event dedicated annually to commemorating the heroism of Jews who rescued fellow Jews during the Holocaust and was covered widely in the Israel print and broadcast media. A total of 1,200 people attended the event including 300 border patrol cadets—who provided an honor guard—and 500 students together with Jewish rescuers and survivors. The ceremony took place at the B’nai B’rith Martyr’s Forest “Scroll of Fire” Plaza. This year, the ceremony was dedicated to the rescue efforts of Walter Suskind and the Jewish caregivers at the crèche (day care center) in Amsterdam. Suskind was one of the many Jews who escaped to Holland after the Nazis rose to power. He was hired as a manager at Unilever in Amsterdam, but lost his job because of the anti-Jewish laws the Nazis imposed after they occupied Holland in May 1940. He was appointed by the Jewish Council (established in 1941 by German orders), as director of the detention camp established in the former Hollandsche Schouwburg theater for Jews before deportation via the Westerbork transit camp to extermination in Sobibor and Auschwitz.
Conditions at the theater were inhumane and, in order to limit the commotion, the Nazis agreed to Suskind’s proposal that children under 13 be separated from their parents and placed in the children’s care center opposite the theater, which was operated by a team of Jewish caregivers. Taking great personal risks and exploiting his unique personality, talents and profound knowledge of German culture and mores, Suskind orchestrated a rescue effort of 600-1,000 children out of the crèche into the hands of four Dutch underground organizations. The care center administrator Henriette Henriques Pimentel, and a number of caregivers, Betty Oudkerk (18); Siney Kattenburg (19); Ines Cohn (18); and nurse Virgenia “Virri” Cohen (daughter of the Jewish council chairman) and Harry Cohen, utilized daring subterfuge to smuggle the children to members of the underground. Most of the children were spirited out of Amsterdam and placed with Christian families in the north and south of Holland where they were kept safe until the war’s end. The children smuggled out of the crèche represent one quarter of the Jewish children who survived the Holocaust, but only about 10 percent of the 5,000-6,000 children who were confined at the care center over the course of its operation. The dangerous rescue operation was carried out in various ways, under the noses of the German guards. Children were hidden in backpacks and milk cans, and were taken from the center into the tram that passed between the center and the theater. The escape was timed so that the exit from the care center was hidden by the tram and the smuggler boarded the tram to the central train station. Another successful method was to convince the Germans that the children needed some fresh air. Once they were outside, some children were removed in clever ways during the stroll. In all these cases, the meticulous records that were kept by the Germans had to be modified before the child was to be reunited with his parents at the theater prior to their deportation. Suskind ran the rescue operations during the two and a half years he was the manager of the theater. He, with four underground groups, and many of their operatives, received the title “Righteous Among the Nations” from Yad Vashem after the war. In addition to rescuing the children, Suskind facilitated the escape of adults from the theater itself, even though the place was more strictly guarded than the care center.
"We are gathered to take inspiration from a moving rescue story featuring Walter Suskind and the children’s home staff. The rescue episode at the crèche represents a unique example of cooperation between Jews and non-Jews in the face of the cynical Nazi murder machine. Like other episodes of Jewish self-rescue, this episode is characterized by courage, resourcefulness and dedication to the purpose of rescuing innocent lives. They wrote an admirable chapter in the annals of Jewish and human solidarity," said Haim V. Katz, chairman of the B’nai B’rith World Center.
At the beginning of 1943, the care center was extended to an adjoining house after the Jewish owners were deported to the camps. The expansion led to the fact that the care center was now adjacent to a Protestant seminar for teachers. Pimentel recruited the headmaster of the seminar, Johan van Hulst (later recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations,”) to assist in the rescue operations. The first transport left Amsterdam on July 15, 1942 to Westerbork from where 1,000 Jews were deported weekly to Sobibor and Auschwitz; 102,992 Jews were deported and only 5,200 survived. On July 26, 1943, Pimentel was deported along with 36 members of the staff to Westerbork. She was murdered in the gas chambers in Auschwitz. On Sept. 29, 1943, the Germans emptied the care center and on the following day—which happened to be Rosh Hashanah—the remainder of Dutch Jewry were deported to Westerbork including the members of the Jewish Council. Thanks to an early warning received from Suskind and the leader of the NV (Naamloze Vennootschap) underground organization, Joe Wartman, two of the largest smuggling attempts were undertaken. Although Suskind had the opportunity to go into hiding, he decided to join his wife and young daughter in Westerbork. They were transferred to Theresienstadt and then to Auschwitz, where they were all murdered.
Amsterdam was declared Judenrein (free of Jews) on Oct. 8, 1943. About 80 percent of Holland’s Jewry was murdered in the Holocaust; among them were Suskind and his family.
“The purpose of today’s ceremony is to stop, if only for a moment, our daily lives order to memorialize what these heroes did in the Second World War. We did not forget them. Their legacy must be kept in our hearts. This is a day of hope that there will always be people who will not be ready to watch from the sidelines as evil unfolds,” Dr. Racheli Kreisberg, innovation attaché at the Dutch Embassy in Israel and granddaughter of Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal said at the event.
Bert Jan Flim, grandson of Berend Jan and Gerarda Flim, son of Herman Flim (all “Righteous Among the Nations” recipients) and a Dutch historian focusing on the rescue of Jewish children in the Netherlands during the Holocaust also addresed the event:
"At the end of 1942, a chance meeting took place in Amsterdam. A 17-year old German boy by the name of Hans Kinsbergen ran into an old acquaintance, 36-year old Walter Süskind. They knew each other from the German town of Giessen, where they both had lived during the 1930s. Kinsbergen now lived with his mother and stepfather in Amsterdam. Their house had become a center of the NV. Süskind was desperately looking for ways to let at least some of these children escape and hide them with foster families. Kinsbergen could provide just that, and other resistance groups joined in. The Amsterdam students regularly collected children from the nursery and brought them to hiding places in the north and south of the Netherlands. The Trouw-group took children from the nursery and hid them anywhere they could. In the end, about 600 Jewish children were smuggled out. The Jewish personnel in the nursery and the Hollandsche Schouwburg theater had to work under incredible strain. Very young nurses, like Sieny Kattenburg and Betty Oudkerk, hid babies under their skirts or in backpacks. Both are now in their nineties and are always ready to tell the tale. Süskind’s right hand man, Felix Halverstad, doctored the German administration while Süskind himself fed alcoholic drinks to the German command".
Benjamin Peleg (Flesschedrager), survivor of the crèche said: "I was born over 70 years ago, during the war, while Jews were being deported every day to Westerbork on their way to extermination in Nazi death camps. Only a relatively small number of Dutch non-Jews and Jews acutely resisted the extermination of the Jews was one of those children who was saved; when I was ten days old I was spirited out of the crèche into the hands of the Dutch underground. I was raised in the shadow of the Holocaust without knowing my parents where were murdered in the death camps. My memory begins when I was told on my 10th birthday that my biological parents had died."
“In addition to honoring those who were murdered, Holocaust Remembrance Day provides an opportunity to memorialize the actions of thousands of Jews who, under impossible conditions, endangered themselves to rescue other Jews during the Holocaust, in various unimaginably sophisticated and courageous ways. They took the chance—and in many cases succeeded—in upsetting the Nazi plan to exterminate all Jews on the European continent and ensured their survival. These activities serve as source of inspiration and price for all the Jewish people and a shining example of Jewish and human solidarity," said Danny Atar, KKL/JNF World chairman.
“The difficulty of understanding the essence of the Holocaust for those who were not present, led to the stories of Jewish rescue and their bearing on the Jewish future being ignored. The public learned to develop adoration for the Partisans and Ghetto Fighters and none considered that Jewish rescuers ensured the survival of many more Jews than those saved through armed struggle," said Daniel Brand.
The Martyr’s Forest is the largest joint B’nai B’rith and KKL-JNF project, which memorializes the victims of the Holocaust with 6 million trees planted in the picturesque Jerusalem mountains near Moshav Kesalon. At the pinnacle of the forest stands the “Scroll of Fire,” created by renowned sculptor Nathan Rapoport, which invokes the destruction of the Jewish people in the Holocaust and their redemption in the State of Israel. The event will commence with personal testimonies by Holocaust survivors to classes of soldiers.
The phenomena of Jewish rescue and the instructive stories of thousands of Jews who labored to save their endangered brethren throughout Europe have yet to receive appropriate public recognition and resonance. Many who could have tried to flee preferred to stay and rescue others; some paid for it with their lives. With great heroism, Jews in every country in occupied Europe employed subterfuge, forgery, smuggling, concealment and other methods to ensure that Jews survived the Holocaust, or assisted them in escaping to a safe place, and in doing so foiled the Nazi goal of total genocide against the Jews. The organizers of the ceremony view it as especially important to expose Jewish youth to Jewish rescue during the Holocaust as a model for Jewish solidarity and courage.
B'nai B'rith World Center And JRJ Honor 13 Jewish Rescuers
The B'nai B'rith World Center and the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jews who Rescued Fellow Jews During the Holocaust (JRJ) announced the latest conferees of their joint "Jewish Rescuer's Citation"—13 rescuers who risked their lives to save fellow Jews from deportation and extermination during the Holocaust. Eight citations were conferred posthumously at a B’nai B’rith World Center/Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL-JNF) ceremony recognizing the heroism of Jewish rescuers that took place on Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah), April 24 at the B’nai B’rith Martyr’s Forest “Scroll of Fire” Plaza (see above). Since its establishment in 2011, the Jewish Rescuers Citation has been presented in order to correct the public misconception that Jews did not rescue other Jews during the Holocaust. To date, 169 heroes have been honored for rescue activities in Germany, France, Hungary, Greece, Slovakia, Yugoslavia, Russia, Lithuania, Poland and Holland.
The conferees were Walter Suskind, Joel and Hansi Brand, Ines Cohn, Dr. Leon Cuenca, Dr. Gisella Perl, Shlomo Cohen, Yeshayahu Gottlieb, Moshe Simon, Aron Grunhut, Adolf Burger, Dr. Hadassah Bimko-Rosensaft and David Lavi.
At the beginning of 1941, Joel and Hansi Brand assisted refugees escaping to Hungary from Germany, Austria, Poland and Slovakia, opening their home to the refugees. Joel became a central figure in the rescue of Hungarian Jews. He was a member of the Relief and Rescue Committee and as such made contact with the representatives of the Jewish Agency in Istanbul. After the German invasion of Hungary on March 19, 1944, in an effort to save Jewish lives, Brand made contact with implementer of the “Final Solution,” S.S officer Adolf Eichmann, the main Nazi official in charge of the deportations of Jews. As German defeat in the war loomed, Eichmann proposed a “Goods for Blood” deal (which was offered to the Jewish Agency), and allowed Brand to leave for Istanbul in May 1944 to broker the deal while his wife and two sons were held hostage in case he would not return to Hungary. He was not allowed to enter Turkey and was arrested by the British and held prisoner in Cairo. From there he reached Mandatory Palestine to engage the Jewish Agency to assist Hungarian Jewry. Before leaving for Istanbul, Brand and Hansi met with Eichmann, and Hansi became Eichmann’s contact person with the Jews. In addition to her role as liaison, Hansi obtained and distributed forged identity cards and helped hide the counterfeit lab. She was arrested by Hungarian secret police on May 27, 1944 and was interrogated under torture for information about the lab and her husband’s mission, but did not reveal any secrets.
During her work at the crèche in Amsterdam up until its last day of operation, Cohn risked her life handing over children to the Dutch underground. When the care center was closed down by the Nazis, she was transferred to the transit camp in the theater, but with the assistance of the Jewish Council and the Dutch Underground, she managed to escape, receiving false papers that allowed her to survive the war. She married a soldier in the Jewish Brigade and the couple made aliyah immediately after the war. She lived in Kibbutz Ma'abarot and after that in Moshav Hadar Am. Today she lives in Netanya and has two children.
Cuenca was a Greek-Jewish ENT specialist who was interned at the Buna concentration camp where he served as a doctor. Endangering his own life, he surreptitiously assisted prisoners to escape the selections, and gave them medical treatment in spite of the shortage in medicines and medical supplies. He was decorated after the war by the French government for his assistance to French citizens in the camp.
Perl studied medicine in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Upon her arrival in Auschwitz in May 1944, she was appointed director of the infirmary and gynecologist at Birkenau. The infirmary team, led by Perl, concealed contagious diseases contracted by prisoners that, if revealed, would have meant death. Endangering her own life, she gave Dr. Josef Mengele blood samples she took from herself and healthy women instead of blood samples of sick patients in order to save them. Perl tried not to commit the prisoners to the infirmary because they were usually sent from there to extermination, hiding them instead in the barracks. After considering the Halachic permit to curtail the life of a fetus in order to save the mother, she started to conduct abortions on prisoners so that they would not be sent to extermination due to the pregnancy or delivery. It is estimated that Perl saved the lives of 3,000 women.
Cohen assisted in obtaining documents, food and money for refugees who arrived to Hungary from Slovakia. In 1943, he was drafted into a forced labor camp from which he escaped in July 1944. He joined the underground operating out of the Glass House and helped dig a bunker. Endangering himself, he smuggled escapees from labor units, and children from the ghetto to the safe houses under the auspices of the International Red Cross. From November 1944, he transported food from the warehouses to Jews hiding in various places and to children’s houses.
Gottlieb was a forced laborer at the Korolowka camp near Zamosc, Poland when he responded to the plea of a group of famished children to provide them with food. Gottlieb convinced the adults in the barracks—who were starved themselves—to set aside some of their meager portions for the children every night for two weeks. Five of the children survived because of his efforts.
Simon was drafted into a forced labor unit in Hungary in September 1943. In the fall of 1944, he was extracted to Budapest through the intervention of Bnei Akiva, with which he was affiliated. During November and December 1944, Simon participated in the distribution of forged Swiss safe passes (Schutzpass) produced in the tens of thousands by the Underground Zionist Youth Movements in Hungary at the Glass House and distributed en masse to Jews. Simon was one of the bravest messengers of the underground, risking his life to provide these documents that allowed Jews to survive. After the war, he participated in the illegal immigration to Israel and he made aliyah in 1948.
Grunhut was an Orthodox businessman and a leader in several Jewish organizations in what is now Bratislava, Slovakia. He began his rescue activities in 1938, shortly after the Anschluss, when he participated in saving Jewish refugees from the area of Kittsee, a municipality in Austria, who were expelled to Hungary, and ensured their return to Slovakia. At the same time, he had a tent camp built for stateless Jews near Dunajská Streda and organized their journey to Mandatory Palestine. In 1939, he chartered two steam boats to smuggle 1,365 Jews from Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and Austria from Bratislava via the Danube to the Bulgarian port of Ruse, then overland to Varna, Bulgaria and on to Mandatory Palestine. However, Bulgarian frontier guards stopped the steamboats and intended to send them back. They spent more than four weeks aboard in international waters. Finally, Grunhut persuaded Bulgarian offices to allow the ships to continue the voyage. Then, in the Romanian port Sulina, the refugees changed to the cargo ship Noemi Julia. After 83 distressful days filled with worries, the Jewish refugees arrived in Haifa—not before Grunhut arranged their legal entry into Mandatory Palestine. He returned to Slovakia and was arrested in 1943 by the Slovakian government due to his activity in the resistance. After his release, he joined his wife and young son who were hidden under a false identity in Hungary. From his hiding place, Grunhut made contact with the Hungarian underground and financed the smuggling of Jewish refugees by train from Budapest to Damascus, saving another 300 children. The Hungarian secret police was after him and, with the assistance of a fireman (who was posthumously recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations”), he found refuge in the basement of the former Czechoslovakian embassy in Budapest, living in the premises with his wife and son until the end of the war. The family returned to Bratislava after the war, but with the rise of communism, the family left for Israel in 1948.
As a professional typographer, Burger forged documents for Jews destined for deportation from Slovakia, helping them to avoid the concentration camps by stating they were Christian. He was exposed, arrested and deported to Auschwitz. After 18 months there, the Germans decided to utilize his talents, having him forge British currency to undermine the British economy. "Operation Bernhard" was never executed.
A dentist by training, Bimko-Rosensaft served as a physician at the Auschwitz-Birkenau infirmary. Upon her arrival in August 1943, her parents, first husband and five year-old son were immediately murdered in the gas chambers. At the infirmary, she performed rudimentary surgeries of inmates, camouflaging their wounds and sending them out of the barracks on work detail in advance of selections. In November 1944, she was assigned by Mengele, together with eight other prisoners, as a medical team to Bergen-Belsen. Beginning with 49 Dutch children in December 1944, she organized what became known as a Kinderheim (a children’s home), within the concentration camp. Bimko-Rosensaft would gather abandoned children arriving at the camp from all over Europe. Together with other women and with assistance from other inmates, she risked her life to ensure the survival of 149 children through the bitter winter and early spring of 1945.
After graduating from a Jewish high school, Lavi studied engraving. In 1941, he moved to Budapest and integrated into the Zionist youth underground activities, helping refugees from Slovakia. He was arrested with other members of the underground and sent to Garany detention camp. Being a craftsman, he was enlisted in the Hungarian army. With the retreat of the Germans, he was taken on a death march to Austria. After the war, he returned to Hungary and joined the "Ehad BeMay" settlement in-training (Hachshara) group. He made aliyah in 1948 and was one of the founders of Kibbutz Ga'aton. Please see link to an article in Israel Hayom on Ines Cohen here.
Dutch historian and author Bert Jan Flim visits Israel
Flim Is Also the Son and Grandson of Righteous Among the Nations Recipients
From April 23-27, the B'nai B'rith World Center hosted Bert Jan Flim, a noted Dutch historian who has researched the rescue of Jewish children during the Holocaust in Holland. His father and paternal grandparents were recipients of the Righteous Among the Nations award for their part in rescuing Jews during the Holocaust. Flim took part in the B'nai B’rith World Center/JNF-KKL joint annual ceremony dedicated to recognizing the heroism of Jewish rescuers during the Holocaust (see above). Flim also presented his research at a lecture entitled "Child’s Play: The Rescue of 800 Jewish Children in the Netherlands, 1942–1945," at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem and at Haifa University. Born in 1957 in Holland, Flim majored in history at Groningen University, and studied the NV (Naamloze Vennootschap), a resistance group that saved about 230 Jewish children during World War II. Following extensive research, he received a Ph.D. in 1995 for his thesis: "Because their hearts spoke: history of the organized help to Jewish children in the Netherlands, 1942-1945," which was published as a book in 1996. He co-edited The Encyclopedia of the Righteous Among the Nations: The Netherlands (1997–2000) and was a member of the Foundation Maror-gelden Nederland (The Dutch Claims Conference) from 2000 to 2001. He is currently a lecturer in history at Friesland College in Holland.
B’nai B'rith Honours Jewish Man Who Saved Hundreds from Nazi Persecution
B’nai Brith World Center – Jerusalem and B’nai B'rith Canada bestowed on April 16 the Jewish Rescuers Citation to Dora Aftergood, 94, in honour of her father Dr. Assaf Atchildi, who put his own life at risk to ensure the survival of over 300 Jews in Nazi-occupied France. The Citation is a project initiated in 2011 by the B’nai B’rith World Centre – Jerusalem and the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust to recognize those Jews who endangered themselves to rescue and protect others in Nazi Germany. Aftergood accepted the award on behalf of Dr. Atchildi in a small private ceremony in Vancouver. B'nai Brith will hold a larger public event commemorating her father’s selfless actions in Calgary later this year. Born into an educated, affluent Bukharan (Central Asian) Zionist family, Dr. Atchildi and his family resided in Paris during World War II, where he was able to successfully argue that they be exempt from the Nazis’ anti-Jewish decrees because, while they were Jewish by belief, they were not Jews ethnically as determined by the Nazis. The incident galvanized Dr. Atchildi to lead the effort in saving other Jewish families by using the same tactic. By the end of World War II, after building a web of contacts and relationships among the German and French bureaucracy, Dr. Atchildi had managed to save hundreds of Jews from Nazi persecution, repeatedly putting his own life at risk. On one occasion, he was threatened at gunpoint.
Pohoryles studied political science and international relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he was chief editor of the student newspaper The Donkey’s Mouth and later wrote for Globes, Maariv and Yediot. Since its establishment in 1992, the award has recognized excellence in reporting on contemporary Diaspora Jewish communities and on the state of Israel-Diaspora relations in the Israeli print and electronic media. The award is widely recognized as the most prestigious prize in the Israeli media industry for Diaspora reportage and was established to help strengthen the relations between Israel and the Diaspora. It does this by highlighting the important contributions the media can make towards strengthening the relationship between Israel and world Jewry by encouraging quality reporting on Diaspora communities and Israel-Diaspora relations. The distinguished members of the award jury are: Prof. Yehudith Auerback, School of Communications, Bar Ilan University; Prof. Sergio DellaPergola, the Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University; Sallai Meridor, international chairman, Jerusalem Foundation, former Israeli ambassador to the United States, former chairman of the Zionist Executive and Jewish Agency; Prof. Gabriela Shalev, Higher Academic Council, Ono Academic College and former Israel ambassador to the U.N.; Yair Sheleg, columnist; Asher Weill, publisher and editor of ARIEL-The Israel Review of Arts and Letters from 1981-2003. The “B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportage” is named for the late Wolf Matsdorf and his wife Hilda. Wolf was an editor of the World Center’s journal “Leadership Briefing” and a journalist in Israel and Australia. Hilda was a pioneer in social work in both Australia and Israel. The award is made possible through donations from the Matsdorf family and B’nai B’rith World Center board member Daniel Schydlowsky. The award will be presented at a ceremony later this year.
The conferees were:
Marcel (Mangel) Marceau – In 1944, Marcel father's Charles Mangel was arrested and deported to Auschwitz, where he died. Marcel and his older brother, Alain joined the French Resistance, and assumed false identities, taking on the surname “Marceau”. He is credited with saving the lives of Jewish orphans by leading them across the Alps into Switzerland, or south, into Spain, to avoid arrest by the Germans. He also forged identity cards with his brother, allowing Jews and non-Jews alike to avoid deportation to Germany as slave labor.
Leon Eligoulachvili (105) and Joseph Eligoulachvili – Leon and his uncle Joseph (who was a member of the independent Georgian government until he escaped to France with the Soviet occupation in 1921) saved Georgian Jews who lived in France and others during WWII with the help of the Georgian Government in Exile. At Eligoulachvili’s suggestion, the Georgian leaders approached the Germans to exclude Georgian Jews from the anti-Jewish bans. The Georgians received permission to open an office and to issue identity cards that were distributed to many Jews. By changing family names and forging birth certificates and other documents, many Jews “became Georgians,” and thus their lives were saved.
Georges Loinger (106) and Fanny Loinger – joined his wife, Flora, after his escape from a camp in Germany in 1940. Flora was in charge of a Jewish refugee children’s home. The children were then in danger of being arrested and had to be hidden. After helping her to do this, Georges was appointed by the OSE (Children's Aid Society) to be their traveling children’s home inspector, including the ones run by the Jewish Scouts Movement (EIF). At the end of 1942, when the heads of OSE were informed that the transports from Drancy ended up in death camps, the children’s homes were broken up and Georges was put in charge of the escape organization to Switzerland and thus helped hundreds of Jewish children escape from France to Switzerland via Annemasse. Between May 1943 and June 1944, more than 1,500 children and adolescents were smuggled by OSE into Switzerland. His sister Fanny was responsible for the social service of OSE and she had to deal with foreign Jews Refugees in Marseille waiting for visas to the United States. In 1943, she was appointed head of the Southeast region of the clandestine rescue, known as the Garel network, and organized the survival of some 400 children in the departments of Ardeche, Isère Drôme, Savoie, and the Upper and Lower Alps.
Nelly Willer (100) and Rachel Grunstein – Nelly joined the clandestine resistance in Nice. She helped issue false identity cards. Nelly smuggled guns who assisted the Jewish resistance in France to assassinate Russian collaborators and extradited Jews and as a result thousands of Jews were sent to extermination camps because of them. Eliminating them and their commander saved the lives of thousands of Jews in Nice. After the war she Joined the Hagana and transported Jewish refugees and Holocaust survivors to French ports to make Aliyah. Was a journalist who penetrated the exiles camps in Cyprus. For many years was the president of the resistance veterans organization. Her sister Rachel also participated in eliminating Russian collaborators in Nice. After the war she too joined the Hagana
Liliane Lieber Klein (93) – participated in the creation of the EIF clandestine arm, “La Sixième" (the Sixth); the mission of "La Sixième" to hide adolescent Jews, supply them with forged ID documents and ration cards, and preserve their Jewish identity while in hiding. During the winter of 1943-1944 she ran convoys of adolescents under 16 to the Swiss border at Annemasse, France and turned them over to Georges Loinger for safe passage;
Theo Klein (97) – Lawyer, was during the 1942/1944 years, one of the leaders of the Jewish resistance in France and was involved in the rescue of hundreds of people, particularly adolescents in South zone. During the 80th he served as president of French Jewish Organization CRIF.
B’nai B’rith World Center and the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust (JRJ) presented the Jewish Rescuer Citation to Wolf Galperin
The B’nai B’rith World Center and the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust (JRJ) jointly honored concentration camp survivor Wolf Galperin (89), a native of Kovna, Lithuania, for his valor and sacrifice in a ceremony on January 26, eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, in Sderot, Israel. The event was held in cooperation with the Sderot municipality in the presence of Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi and local youth groups at the city’s main cultural center. Although he was only 17 years old, Wolf Galperin made the decision to support and safeguard, to the best of his ability, a group of 130 Jewish children from his hometown of Kovna, Lithuania between the ages of seven and 14, including his younger brother. The children were some of the last Jews who were captured by the Nazis prior to the liquidation of the ghetto in 1944. The women, men and children were taken to and separated at Stutthof, a concentration camp in Sztutowo, Poland. The men and children continued on their journey to the Landsberg concentration camp, where 130 of the youngest children were segregated in a barbed wire holding area, presumably to await their deaths. Galperin, who was not among them, crawled under the barbed wire to be with his brother. A day later Galperin and the children were taken to Dachu, and in an effort to maintain their morale, Galperin worked to divert the children’s attention from the barbarity surrounding them. Recognizing that the Nazis valued order and obedience, he taught the children to march in formation. On July 31, 1944, the children were transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau, along with Galperin, and once again they began to march. It is generally believed by the survivors that their orderly behavior among the chaos, grief and hysteria that was the norm, was what drew the Germans to allow the group into the camp and to be assigned for work detail. The children were tattooed with sequential numbers B-2774 to B-2902. During the High Holidays in 1944, 90 members of the original group were removed from the camp and never seen again. Galperin himself was also taken away, surviving in forced labor and death marches until he was liberated on May 2, 1945. Of the 40 survivors from the initial group of children, 28, including Galperin, made their way to Israel.
Meeting with Ambassador in Israel
B'nai B'rith World Center director Alan Schneider met with Paraguayan ambassador to Israel Max Haber Neumann. Under President Horacio Cartes, Paraguay has become a major diplomatic ally of the State of Israel. Schneider and Neumann discussed Israel-Paraguay relations, the operation of MERCOSUR, security in the tri-border area and an array of other issues.
B'nai B'rith represented at launch of exhibit on Righteous among Nations
B'nai B'rith World Center director Alan Schneider represented B'nai B'rith at the official opening of an exhibit on Romanian "Righteous among Nations" - non-Jews who endangered themselves to rescue Jews during the Holocaust and recognized for their heroism by Yad Vashem - held on November 14 at the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The exhibit was curated as part of the Romanian Chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Speakers at the event included Romanian ambassador to Israel Andreea Pasternac, historians Prof. Dina Porat and Dr. Rafi Vago and Director of the MFA department for EU Affairs Ambassador Sami Ravel.
B'nai B'rith World Center
The B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem is the hub of B'nai B'rith International activities in Israel. The Center serves as the key link between Israel and B'nai B'rith members and supporters around the world.