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OSE home for Jewish boys

Film | Digitized | Accession Number: 1998.190.1 | RG Number: RG-60.2226 | Film ID: 2286

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    OSE home for Jewish boys


    OSE (Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants) home for Jewish boys in Ecouis, France. The teenage boys had been liberated from Buchenwald just three months prior. The boys dance. 00:02:46 The boy carrying a suitcase is Israel Meir Lau. The teenage boys engage in sports, visit the city and some board a bus and wave goodbye, perhaps emigrating to Palestine or other places. A memorial service/parade and display of models the boys made in a woodworking class. They socialize with girls and build a fire.
    Film Collection Title
    Simone Chaumet Collection
    Event:  1945 June
    Ecouis, France
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of Willy Fogel
    Camera Operator: Simone Chaumet
    Subject: Israel Meir Lau
    Simone Chaumet was recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations. Here is a link to her story:
    Israel Meir Lau (Lulek) was born on June 1, 1937. In November 1944, the Germans decided to liquidate the Polish work camp in a glass factory where he was living and he and his brother Naphtali went to work in Czestochowa; they later arrived in Buchenwald in January 1945. Fearing that Lulek would be killed upon arrival, Naphtali smuggled him into the camp in a large bag. After learning that there were other children there, he registered Lulek instructing him to say that he was thirteen and had worked as a kitchen helper. They were taken to Block 52, but after a few days Naphtali arranged for Lulek to be transferred to Block 8, a children's barrack under the supervision of a school teacher named Wilhelm Hammann. The children in Block 8 received relatively benign treatment, and Lulek was cared for by an older Soviet prisoner. After Passover in April 1945 in advance of the Americans, the Germans decided to evacuate Jewish prisoners from the camp. Naphtali feared he would become separated from Lulek just as the war was ending. He therefore jumped from the deportation train as it approached an embankment and walked back to Buchenwald. After several days walking without food or water Naphtali arrived back in the camp and found Lulek still in Block 8. When they were finally liberated a few days later, Naphtali had typhus fever and was near death. After his recovery, in June the boys joined a transport of children from Buchenwald to France where they were brought to Ecouis, an OSE children's home. Naphtali however did not want to remain in France and was anxious to immigrate to Palestine. One month later, he and Lulek left for Marseilles. From there they sailed to Genoa where they boarded the Mataroa and arrived in Haifa on July 15 where they met their half-brother Yehoshua. In keeping with his father's wishes, Naphtali provided his younger brother with a religious education. Israel Meir (Lulek) received rabbinical ordination and later was appointed chief rabbi of the State of Israel.

    Physical Details

    B&W / Color
    Image Quality
    Time Code
    00:01:14:28 to 00:14:44:22
    Film Format
    • Master
    • Master 2286 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - small
      Master 2286 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - small
      Master 2286 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - small
      Master 2286 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - small
    • Preservation
    • Preservation 2286 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - small
      Preservation 2286 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - small
      Preservation 2286 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - small
      Preservation 2286 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - small

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    You do not require further permission from the Museum to access this archival media.
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Conditions on Use
    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum places no restrictions on use of this material. You do not require further permission from the Museum to reproduce or use this film footage.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Film Provenance
    This film was created by Mme. Simone Chaumet, a non-Jewish OSE volunteer who worked with the children at Ecouis in June 1945. She entrusted the film to Mr. Willy Fogel in the 1950s. Mr. Fogel donated a videotape copy to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in January 1998.
    For the most part, the boys featured in this film have remained in contact despite the fact that they eventually ended up in various parts of the world.

    The Buchenwald children were a group of approximately 1000 Jewish child survivors found by American troops when they liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp on April 11, 1945. Most of the children were originally from Poland, though others came from Hungary, Slovenia and Ruthenia. Unsure of what to do with the child survivors, American army chaplains, Rabbi Herschel Schacter and Rabbi Robert Marcus, contacted the offices of the OSE (Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants) Jewish children's relief organization in Geneva. They arranged to send 427 of the children to France, 280 to Switzerland and 250 to England. On June 2, 1945 OSE representatives arrived in Buchenwald and together with Rabbi Marcus escorted the transport of children to France. Rabbi Schacter accompanied the second transport to Switzerland. On June 6, 1945 the French transport arrived at the Andelys station and the orphans were taken to a children's home in Ecouis (Eure). The home had been set up to accommodate young children, but in fact only 30 of the boys were below the age of 13. This was only one of the many problems faced by the OSE personnel, who were not prepared to handle a large group of demanding, rebellious teenagers who were full of anger for what they had experienced. At Ecouis the boys were given medical care, counseling and schooling until more permanent accommodations could be found. Most of the children remained only four to eight weeks at Ecouis before being moved elsewhere, and the home was closed in August 1945. Among the first to leave were a group of 173 children who had family in Palestine. They were given immigration certificates and departed from Marseilles in July aboard the British vessel, the RMS Mataroa. The remaining boys at Ecouis were soon transferred to other residences and homes. In all the homes attended by the Buchenwald children vocational training as well as regular classroom instruction was offered. At the same time OSE social workers made every effort to locate surviving relatives, succeeding in about half the cases. By the end of 1948 all of the Buchenwald children who had come to France had left the OSE fold and begun new lives for themselves.

    See Photo Archives for photographs of the children, including worksheet 38341 showing Israel Meir Lau and his brother Naphtali, the Ivar Segalowitz collection (i.e., worksheet 38375), and a group photograph (worksheet 27339A).
    Copied From
    8mm; b/w
    Film Source
    Willy Fogel
    File Number
    Legacy Database File: 2903
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 08:02:14
    This page:

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