“Why are you waging war against Jewish children?”

Andrée Geulen is a dead Brussels native who resisted the German occupiers during World War II and helped save more than 3,000 Jewish children and young people, dying at the age of 100 years. This was reported by the Belgian media on Wednesday.

Already as a teenager, the Catholic cared for children who had fled to Belgium from the Spanish Civil War. In the early 1940s, Geulen taught at the Gatti Gamond School in Brussels. Some of the students were Jews and had to wear a yellow star according to the demands of the Nazi occupiers.

school Geulen was outraged and asked the students’ parents to send the children to school without the sign. When they refused for fear of reprisals, Geulen asked all students to wear aprons during class so as not to stigmatize the Jewish children.

When several Jewish students a few days later stopped showing up for classes and Geulen investigated, she quickly realized that raids on Jews were underway. When asked, one of her students said, “Miss Andrée, I’m a Jew, and I must not tell anyone.”

“>

External content

At this point, you will find external content that enriches the article. We need your consent before you can view and interact with content on social media.

By clicking the button, you agree that content from social networks will be displayed to you. This makes it possible to transfer personal data to third parties. This may require the storage of cookies on your device. More information can be found here.

With the principal’s knowledge and approval, the teacher then moved into the school’s boarding school. When the Gestapo carried out a night raid there in May 1943 and abducted the hidden Jewish children, Geulen handed down the sentence against the Nazi men: “Why are you waging war against Jewish children?”

She managed to go into hiding and warn other Jewish families. The headmistress, Odile Ovart, was less fortunate: she and her husband were arrested and later murdered.

UNDERGROUND Andrée Geulen contacted the underground organization “Jewish Defense Committee” and rented an apartment under the pseudonym Claude Fournier together with the Jew Ida Sterno, who was from Romania. Along with ten other comrades-in-arms, the two women managed to place numerous Jewish children and youths under false names in non-Jewish families or institutions, thus hiding them from the Nazis.

It is estimated that the group rescued more than 3,000 Jews from deportation to Nazi death camps in less than two years. Sterno was arrested, deported and murdered by the Nazis in 1944.

“>

External content

At this point, you will find external content that enriches the article. We need your consent before you can view and interact with content on social media.

By clicking the button, you agree that content from social networks will be displayed to you. This makes it possible to transfer personal data to third parties. This may require the storage of cookies on your device. More information can be found here.

Geulen survived. After the war, it was up to her to track down the rescued Jews and bring them back to their parents. Many had been orphaned. Andrée kept taking care of her; many of them saw the rescuer as another mother.

HONORARY CITIZEN Andrée Geulen married the Jewish Holocaust survivor Charles Herscovici and had two children with him. In 1989, the Israeli Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem in Jerusalem honored the brave woman as “righteous among the nations.” 18 years later, she visited Israel again for a meeting with the children she had saved. There she was awarded honorary citizenship in the state of Israel.

Andrée Geulen-Herscovici celebrated her 100th birthday on September 6, 2021, and just a few weeks ago, she became an honorary citizen of the Brussels district of Ixelles. On the occasion of the award ceremony, the 91-year-old Shoah survivor Simon Gronowski, who also lives in Ixelles and who fled a deportation train to Auschwitz as a child, called Andrée Geulen a “heroine”.

Leave a Comment