Andrée Geulen, Belgian girl who rescued a whole lot of Jewish kids, dies at 100 – The Forward

(JTA) — The hardest half, Andrée Geulen mentioned, was not hiding from the Nazis, and even confronting them; it was separating Jewish kids from their dad and mom.

Geulen, a Belgian girl who rescued a whole lot of Jewish kids as a part of the Belgian underground, died in Brussels on Might 31 at 100. Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, acknowledged her as a Righteous Among the many Nations in 1989.

In later years she mentioned her most agonizing reminiscences have been wrenching kids, some as younger as 5 days, from their dad and mom.

“Taking children that way, from a mother who has just given birth, is terrible,” The Washington Post quoted Geulen as telling Anne Griffin, a historian of the Belgian resistance. “Getting onto a train with Jewish children, knowing that the Germans could also get on, that didn’t frighten me. But to tear a child away from his mother, and not tell her where we were taking him, and to have her cry and cry, ‘Tell me, at least, only tell me where you’re going to take him!’”

Geulen, a placing blonde, recalled to Yad Vashem how she would casually stroll her fees by Nazi roadblocks.

“Often when we went to see the Jewish families we would find ourselves in the middle of a roundup: blocked roads, soldiers at all corners and trucks for the transport of the people caught in the hunt,” she mentioned in oral testimony to the memorial. “Fortunately we almost always managed to save some children… we would pass the roadblocks with one child in a pram, holding the hands of two others. The soldiers would shy away from a mother with many children.”

Geulen was a instructor at a women’ college, in her late teenagers herself when she seen a few of her college students come to highschool someday clutching their notebooks tightly to their chests; they have been making an attempt to hide newly bestowed yellow stars figuring out them as Jews. She had all her college students put on aprons so there can be no distinctions throughout the college partitions.

A couple of weeks later, some kids began not displaying up in any respect. She realized that they had been deported. She joined the Committee for the Protection of Jews and labored with one other 11 girls who collectively saved the lives of three,000 Jewish kids. She was the final survivor of the group.

Geulen was instructing at a faculty concealing Jewish kids in 1943 when the German occupiers, performing on a tip, raided. They deported and murdered 12 kids and the headmistress, Odile Ovart, and her husband (whom Yad Vashem additionally named Righteous Among the many Nations).

A German interrogated Geulen and requested her if she was not ashamed to hide Jewish kids. “Aren’t you ashamed to make war on Jewish children?” she retorted.

She was launched, and instantly set about warning the varsity’s different Jewish kids not to return.

Geulen’s work didn’t finish with the battle. The committee stored books monitoring the place the kids have been hidden, and he or she used a fancy code, in case the notebooks fell into the mistaken palms, to trace down the kids, reunite them with their dad and mom when she may and information them in different circumstances by the struggling of figuring out they’d by no means once more see their dad and mom.

She married Charles Herscovici, a Jewish man whose dad and mom perished within the Holocaust. He died in 2005. She is survived by two daughters, 5 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.

She can also be survived by a dwindling variety of the kids she rescued. Even a long time after the horrors she saved them from, she wouldn’t spare them her love.

“You placed your little hand in mine (the other hand held on to the large suitcase with all the treasures prepared with tears by your mothers), and we left on our journey,” she mentioned at a Yad Vashem reunion with the kids in 1998. “I loved you then so much; I still love you as much today.”

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