French Patriots Free Jewish Children; Ceremony Marks Departure to Switzerland
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French Patriots Free Jewish Children; Ceremony Marks Departure to Switzerland

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A touching scene took place today in the liberated French town of Annamasse, on the France-Swiss frontier, when French patriots of the Interior French Forces gave a send-off to forty Jewish refugee children rescued from the hands of the Gestapo in France who were permitted to enter Switzerland.

The children were taken into safety by the French underground movement during the month of May when they were about to be deported by the Gestapo to extermination camps in Poland. At the and of May the underground decided to transfer them quickly to Annemasse and to smuggle them through from there into Switzerland, The members of the underground in charge of the children were, however, arrested by the Germans -together with the children-upon reaching Annemasse. A proposal made by the underground French fighters to exchange these children for Germans taken prisoners by the Maquis was rejected by the Gestapo. With Annemasse being finally captured by the French patriots, the children were liberated.

Thanks to the cooperation between the Swiss authorities and the French patriots who are now in complete control of Annemasse, representatives of the Federation of Jewish Youth Organizations in Switzerland, and of the Jewish Health Society use were permitted to proceed to Annemasse and bring the children to Switzerland.

The departure of the children from Annemasse was marked by a special ceremony, which the French patriots arranged at the Municipal Square at which representatives of the Interior French Forces and Mayor Deffaught delivered addresses dwelling on the point that in France there are no difference between Jew and non-Jews and that liberated France would remain faithful to its traditions of freedom, equality for all. When the ceremony was ended, crowds of Frenchmen accompanied the children to the France-Swiss frontier singing the Marseillaise. At the border, the children were received by the Swiss authorities and representatives of the Swiss Red Cross.

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