- Publisher: Holocaust Library (August 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0896041336
- ISBN-13: 978-0896041332
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,561,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Children of Izieu: A Human Tragedy Paperback – August, 1995
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Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The village of Izieu was an idyllic hamlet located between Lyon and Chamberry in central France. The children's home at Izieu was named Settlement for Refugee Children from Herault, set up under the auspices of the OSE (a preventive health care organization founded in Russia by Jewish physicians in 1912). Initially the Jewish identities of these children, aged 3-18 was kept a secret. Here, refugee Jewish children led a relatively peaceful and idyllic life surrounded by friends and though bereft of their parents, some were fortunate to have the company of their siblings. Their days were spent in many activities such as drawing and painting. The book is truly a testament to these murdered children as author Serge Klarsfeld provides in-depth information (as much as he could gather through painstaking research) on the children who were taken away by the Nazis (under the command of infamous Nazi criminal Klaus Barbie, i.e. the Butcher of Lyons).This includes photographs as well as the heartbreakingly hopeful letters written by some of the children to their parents, one such letter written by 8-year-old Georges Halpern reads,
"Chere Maman, I send you 10000000000 kisses your son who loves you very much..."
This is a book that will make readers weep at the injustice and cruelty of it all - who can fathom the way these Nazi monsters thought? To think that innocent children could be deemed a threat, to the point that they are relentlessly hunted down and exterminated like one would pests? Truly unimaginable. The children of Izieu did not have a happy ending - 42 children and 5 adults were gassed in Auschwitz whilst 2 of the oldest children and the superintendent of the home were killed by firing squad.
The book also covers the author's efforts to bring the Butcher of Lyons, Klaus Barbie to justice. The book also has many reproductions of historical documents pertaining to the deportation of the children and staff of Izieu. This is a valuable record and testament to the memory of those murdered innocents and is an important read for anyone interested in the Holocaust.
Serge and Beate Klarsfeld explain in the foreword why they created this work: So that Klaus Barbie, the butcher of Lyon, could be brought to justice and so that nobody could claim, as some had already dared to do 'that these children never existed at all, or that they were never arrested, deported nor murdered; lest anyone assert that these deported children were not Jewish, or that there were non-Jewish children deported among them, and lest anyone hold to the text of the commemorative plaque, which omits the reason for their arrest and martyrdom: the fact that they were Jews'.
Klarsfeld begins by describing the 'Final solution' in France, and the recue work by the OSE (Children's Welfare Organization) of Jewish children , amny of whom were sheltered by Christian foster families.
The author gives all the details he can about each of the children, as well as photographs of the children.
Particularly memorable is the letter to G-D, by Liliane Gerenstein, praying for the welfare of her parents:
"God? How good You are, how kind and if one had to count the number of goodnesses and kindnesses You have done, one would never finish.
God? It is You who command. It is You who are justice, it is You who reward the good and punish the evil.
God? It is thanks to You that I had a beautiful life before, that I was spoiled, that I had lovely things that others do not have.
God? After that, I ask You one thing only: Make my parents come back, my poor parents protect them (even more than You protect me) so that I can see them again as soon as possible.
Make them come back again. Ah! I had such a good mother and such a good father! I have such faith in You and I thank You in advance".
The author then details the battle to bring Klaus Barbie to jutice, and how Barbie attempted to cover his tracks.