Jews Thank Mayor of French Border Town for Saving Forty Children from Gestapo

The Jewish Socialist Union today publicly thanked the mayor of the little border town of Annamasse for his efforts in saving the lives of forty Jewish children captured there by the Gestapo as they were about to be smuggled into Switzerland.

The incident took place last June when a twenty-two-year-old German Jewish refugee, Marian Kohn, was arrested with a party of forty Jewish children from the city of Grenoble, whom she was attempting to lead into Switzerland.

As a result of the mayor’s intervention and the pleas of the Kohn girl, the Gestapo released all the children under sixteen but jailed the girl and twelve other children. Marion Kohn subsequently refused to utilize an opportunity to escape which her friends had arranged for her, saying that she would not leave the prison so long as one of the children remained there. She was subsequently executed and her mutilated body was identified by the mayor of the town after its liberation. The twelve children were released by the Maquis and sent back to Grenoble.

In a letter published today in the Socialist newspaper, Le Populaire du Rhone, the Jewish Socialist Union paid tribute to “this man heroically risking his life and those of his near ones, who went to humiliate himself before the Gestapo to save the lives of the forty Jewish children fallen into their clutches. Your action, Male Maire,” the letter continued, “will enter as a silent but glorious episode in the history of France, of that France which never wished to accept racial hatred.”

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