The Marcel Network: How One French Couple Saved 527 Children from the Holocaust

By Fred Coleman

Syrian immigrant Moussa Abadi was once in basic terms 33, and his destiny spouse, Odette Rosenstock, 28, after they came across themselves trapped in Nazi-occupied France. This younger Jewish couple—he a graduate scholar in theater, and he or she a doctor—was terrible yet resolute. Risking their very own lives and hoping on fake papers, the Abadis concealed Jewish youngsters in Catholic faculties and convents and with Protestant households. In 1943, their clandestine organization—the Marcel Network—became probably the most profitable operations of Jewish resistance in Europe. through the tip of the battle, 527 teenagers owed their survival to the Abadis. but their inconceivable good fortune got here with nearly unspeakable sacrifice. for example of what simply humans of fine will can accomplish within the face of crimes opposed to humanity, the Abadis' tale is a lesson in ethical and actual braveness. Drawn from a large number of resources, together with hundreds of thousands of records within the Abadis' documents and dozens of interviews with the now grown kids they rescued, Fred Coleman tells the Abadis' complete tale for the 1st time. The Marcel Network additionally breaks old flooring, and divulges how the Catholic Church, French Christians, and Jews themselves did way more to save lots of Jewish lives than is mostly known.

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One of the key participants to those efforts have been Communist devices that were battle-hardened in the course of the Spanish Civil struggle of 1936–39. like several individuals of the Resistance, the Communists have been hunted males, their households in grave possibility. Moussa did what he may perhaps to assist. occasionally he provided fake ration playing cards to Communists’ households, and he concealed a handful in their kids. the kids of Communists within the Resistance weren't counted one of the 527 Jewish little ones stored, yet Moussa’s similar protection ideas additionally utilized to them—such as by no means letting mom and dad understand the place their childrens have been sheltered. That’s what bought him in difficulty along with his Communist neighbors. sooner or later as Moussa walked down a quiet highway in great, a guy slid as much as his aspect and whispered in his ear, “Tonight at 9. ” He pointed out an deal with. “All right,” Moussa acknowledged. “I’ll be there. ” At nine P. M. Moussa discovered himself within a dismal, deserted apartment. He opened one door, then one other, discovered a staircase, and descended right into a dimly lit cellar the place 4 tough-looking males from the Communist Resistance awaited him. “Do you know us? ” their spokesman requested. “Of course,” Moussa stated. “Good night. ” He’d met the spokesman, a heavyset unshaven guy in his forties, on multiple party. The others, all more youthful, he’d additionally visible earlier than. “Good evening,” the 4 responded. Then not anything. All seemed to the spokesman as he sought for definitely the right phrases to claim subsequent. Moussa broke the awkward silence. “Well, what do you need from me? ” “We are looking to thanks for taking within the youngsters of our comrades,” the spokesman stated. “You’re welcome,” Moussa advised them. He paused, then requested, “What else? ” “We need to know the precise addresses of those little ones. ” “You can’t be serious,” Moussa acknowledged. “You be aware of I can’t inform you that. ” “Why no longer? Don’t you belief us? ” “Look, i must be cautious. similar to you don’t inform someone the place you disguise your palms, I don’t inform an individual the place I hold the children. ” The spokesman learned it used to be time to up the ante. “Listen,” he stated. “We get pleasure from what you’ve performed for us. You’re not likely certainly one of us, yet who cares? You too are struggling with the Krauts and that’s more than enough for us. yet we won't settle for that you just by myself recognize the addresses of our children. We insist—more than insist. Do you already know? ” “And if I refuse? ” “You’ll turn out giving us what we need. Be moderate. Am I making myself transparent? ” “Perfectly,” Moussa spoke back. “You’ll beat the hell out of me. good, move forward. ” extra silence. The 4 toughs checked out one another. ultimately the spokesman caved. “All right,” he stated. “You can move. ” He gave Moussa a shove. “What a bloody obdurate son of a complain you're. ” “Adieu,” Moussa acknowledged. 1 He by no means observed the 4 Communists back. yet from then on Moussa understood that whether the Germans or the French police didn’t do him in, his so-called associates may well shop them the difficulty. At roll name on her first day at Bergen-Belsen, Odette heard her identify referred to as out. At Auschwitz that they had checked the prisoners current via their numbers. Odette was once so used to being addressed by way of her quantity that once she heard “Doctor Odette Rosenstock” for the 1st time in months, she notion they have been calling another person.

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