Remembering the French Jew Who Saved Hundreds of Children during the Holocaust

Georges Loinger, who died on Friday at the age of one-hundred-eight, had distinguished himself as a runner in France before World War II; after his country fell to Nazi Germany, he naturally began to teach physical education at a home for Jewish refugees. Once the fate of these children became clear, Loigner began devising a number of schemes to sneak them into Switzerland, and set to work carrying them out. The Times of Israel reports:

A talented athlete and cousin of the famous mime and fellow Resistance member Marcel Marceau, the Jewish Loinger would smuggle the children in small groups across the Franco-Swiss border. One ruse involved dressing children up as mourners and taking them to a cemetery whose wall abutted the French side of the border. With the help of a gravedigger’s ladder the “mourners” would clamber over the wall and head for the border just feet away. . . .

The children he saved, whose parents had been killed or sent to Nazi concentration camps, were under the responsibility of the Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants (OSE), a Jewish children’s aid society founded in St. Petersburg in 1912. . . .

In 1940, while serving with the French army, Loinger was taken prisoner by German forces and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp in Germany. Due to his blond hair and blue eyes, his captors did not suspect that he was Jewish and he managed to escape and return to France and join the OSE. Between April 1943 and June 1944, OSE workers and other rescuers helped hundreds of children escape to Switzerland across the lightly-guarded border. Loinger alone is credited with saving at least 350 children.

Some 75,000 Jews, including many children, were deported from German-occupied France in World War II, in most cases with the active cooperation of the French authorities. Nearly all died in extermination camps.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: French Jewry, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Switzerland, Vichy France

Why Israel Pretends That Hamas Fired Rockets by Accident

March 21 2019

Israeli military and political officials have repeated Hamas’s dubious claim that the launching of two rockets at Tel Aviv last week was inadvertent. To Smadar Perry, accepting Hamas’s story rather than engaging in further retaliation is but a convenient, and perhaps necessary, way of aiding Egyptian efforts to broker a deal with the terrorist group. But even if these efforts succeed, the results will be mixed:

The [Israeli] security cabinet has met in Tel Aviv and decided that they would continue indirect negotiations with Gaza. A message was sent to Egypt, whose delegation is going back to Gaza to pass on the Israeli demands for calm. The Egyptians also have to deal with the demands from Hamas, which include, among other things, an increase in aid from $15 million to $30 million per month and an increase in the supply of electricity.

The requests are reasonable, but they do leave a sour taste in the mouth. Israel must ensure that this financial aid does not end up in the pockets of Hamas and its associates. [Israel] also knows that if it says “no” to everything, the Iranians will step in, with the help of their Gazan friends in Islamic Jihad. They are just waiting for the opportunity.

Hamas also must deal with the fallout from a series of massive handouts from Qatar. For when the citizens of the Gaza Strip saw that the money was going to the Hamas leadership, who were also enjoying a fine supply of electricity to their own houses, they took to the streets in protest—and this time it was not Israel that was the focus of their anger. . .

[But] here is the irony. With Egyptian help, Israel can reach understandings for calm with Gaza, despite the lack of a direct channel. . . . In the West Bank, where the purportedly friendlier Fatah is in charge, it is more complicated, at least until the eighty-three-year-old Mahmoud Abbas is replaced.

As evidence for that last statement, consider the murder of two Israelis in the West Bank on Sunday, and the Palestinians who threw explosives at Israeli soldiers at Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem yesterday.

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More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, West Bank