JTA Establishes Fate of Jewish Leaders in France; Many Deported by Gestapo
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JTA Establishes Fate of Jewish Leaders in France; Many Deported by Gestapo

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Many prominent French Jews succeeded in eluding the Gestapo and continued to direct the activities of the Jewish community during the Nazi occupation, but scores of others were either murdered or deported to an unknown fate in Polish concentration camps, the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today. Among the latter were:

Isaye Schwartz, Grand Rabbi of France, who was arrested by the Gestapo in Lyon last December. It was reported subsequently that he had escaped, but his fate is unknown.

Jacques Heilbroner, 74, a member of the Council of State, highest administrative body in the French Government, who was arrested last November after sending a letter to Petain sharply condemning Vichy’s treatment of the French Jews. Just prior to his arrest, he had undergone a major operation. His whereabouts are not known.

Prof. Victor Basch, 80, president of the League for Rights of Man, was killed, together with his wife, in woods near Lyon last December.

David Rappaport, president of the Federation of Jewish Societies of France, was arrested, together with his wife in June, 1943, and deported. Rappaport had refused to leave Paris in order to stay behind to organize relief for Jews.

Raoul Lambert, of the Jewish Consistory, was deported from Marseille in Oct., 1943, together with his wife and four children, after a personal protest to Laval against Vichy’s betrayal of the Jews.

Andre Baur, also of the Consistory, was deported from Paris, with his wife and five children, shortly after Lambert, after making a similar protest.

Leo Glaser, Jewish labor leader, who wrote under the name of Nussbaum, disappeared about a month ago. He left his house one evening and has not been heard from since. It is assumed he was picked up by the Vichy militia.

Leon Bernheim, president of the Zionist Organization of France, was deported in Nov., 1943, Also deported were three other members of the central committee representing all Zionist groups; David Freedman of the Left Peale-Zion; Nahum Herman, director of the Keren Hayesod; and Wolf Benjamin Alter.

On February 17, 1943, the Gestapo raided the headquarters of the Federation of Jewish Societies in Lyon and seized all records. At the same time, they arrested all the people there, including Esther Greenberg, daughter of Rubin Greenberg, president of the federation; Relie Gottlieb, an artiste; Andre Deutsch, head of a local organization; Benjamin Adler, a nephew of Victor Adler; and Jacob Peskin an old member of the Polish Jewish Socialist Bund. All were deported.


Of the 50 rabbis with established congregations in France, only nine remain, Twenty, including Rabbi Schoenberg of Lyon and Rabbi Hirschel of Strasbourg, are known to have been deported.

Julian Weil, the Grand Rabbi of Paris, remained in the capital all during the occupation, and is reported to be safe.

Rabbi Jacob Kaplan, who assumed the duties of Grand Rabbi of France after Rabbi Schwartz disappeared, is safe in Lyon, Others who are here are Leon Meis, who became president of the Jewish Consistory after Heilbroner was deported; Rubin Greenberg, Josef Fischer, general secretary of the Zionist Organization and Evi Levin, vice-president of the Federation of Jewish Societies.

Aaron Kramer of the Yiddish newspaper “Pariser Haintz” was arrested in July, 1942 and deported. Safe here, however, is M. Spero, a contributor to the New York Yiddish Communist daily “Freheit,” who was one of the six directors of the Lyon Jewish defense committee.

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