B’nai B’rith World Center director Alan Schneider presented a Jewish Rescuers’ Citation to Lili Guinat (89) on Oct. 25 for her heroic efforts rescuing Jews in Vichy and occupied-France during the Holocaust. A Jewish Rescuers’ Citation was also presented posthumously to her late husband Dr. Eitan Guinat.
Lili and her husband operated within the framework of the MJS organization (Mouvement de la Jeunesse Sioniste) of which Dr. Guinat, known by his nom de guerre “Toto,” was one of the founders and leaders. MJS was one of the most important organizations in rescue operations of Jews during the war, arranging hiding places for thousands of Jewish families and saving many hundreds of children through escape routes to Switzerland and Spain.
MJS also provided false identity papers to many thousands of Jews, enabling them to escape persecution by French authorities. Many children, now organized in a group named Les Enfants Cachés (The Hidden Children), owe their lives to this organization.
A number of MJS members were caught by French collaborationists and handed over to the Germans for interrogation and execution.
Dr. Guinat, a chemist by training, was an early and active member, along with the B’nai B’rith World Center, in the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jews who Rescued Fellow Jews During the Holocaust (JRJ). He was the featured speaker at the World Center/KKL Holocaust and Martyrs Commemoration Day event in 2004.
The Jewish Rescuers’ Citation was established in 2011 by the JRJ and the B’nai B’rith World Center to honor Jews who went beyond the call of duty to rescue fellow Jews living under Nazi occupation, Axis regimes and Nazi puppet-states during the Holocaust. To date, citations have been presented to 40 rescuers who were active in France, Hungary, Germany and Holland.
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