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.

Read more at Times of Israel

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

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas