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Antisemitic flyer acquired by a French Jewish child in hiding

Object | Accession Number: 1991.209.6

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    Antisemitic flyer acquired by a French Jewish child in hiding

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Antisemitic propaganda flyer found pinned to a wall and acquired by Rudy Appel in wartime France. The image depicts a louse-like caricature of a Jew and compares Jews to well-known diseases. This message draws upon centuries-old antisemitic stereotypes of Jews as dirty and vectors of disease. Pejoratives such as “dirty Jew” and antisemitic myths such as a Jewish odor caused by bad hygiene or a poor diet were common during the 19th century. Rudy was living with his parents and brother in Mannheim, Germany, when Adolf Hitler and the Nazis came to power in January 1933. Following the Kristallnacht pogroms in November 1938, Rudy’s father Julius was imprisoned in Dachau concentration camp, and his brother, Martin, immigrated to the United States. Julius followed when he was released from Dachau in January 1939. Rudy was sent to a school in Rotterdam, Netherlands, while his mother, Rose, fled to Belgium. When Germany invaded western Europe in May 1940, Rudy joined his mother in Belgium. The pair attempted to escape to unoccupied southern France, but were arrested near Angouleme and sent to Rivesaltes internment camp. In September 1942, Rudi was among a group of children escorted by Friedel Reiter (later Bohny-Reiter) to Le Chambon sur Lignon, a Protestant village in southern France. He was placed in La Guespy, a children’s home in the town operated by Secours Suisse aux Enfants (Swiss Society for Children’s Aid). Rudy was able to resume schooling and lived in relative safety due to the entire town’s dedication to helping refugees. The region surrounding Chambon was liberated by the Free French First Armored Division on September 2-3. After the war, Rudy reunited with his mother and in November 1946, they immigrated to the United States.
    Artwork Title
    TUBERCULOSE SYPHILIS CANCER SONT GUÉRISSABLES…
    Alternate Title
    TUBERCULOSIS SYPHILIS CANCER ARE CURABLE...
    Date
    acquired:  approximately 1942-approximately 1945
    Geography
    acquired: France
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Rudy Appel
    Markings
    front, upper left to lower right corners, printed, white and red ink : TUBERCULOSE / SYPHILIS / CANCER / SONT GUÉRISSABLES ..... / IL FAUT EN FINIR / AVEC LE PLUS GRAND / DES FLÉAUX: / LE JUIF! [TUBERCULOSIS / SYPHILIS / CANCER / ARE CURABLE ..... WE MUST END / THE BIGGEST / OF PLAGUES: / THE JEW!
    Contributor
    Subject: Rudy Appel
    Biography
    Rudolf (Rudi) Appel (later Rudy, 1925-2016) was born in Mannheim, Germany, to Julius (1881-1952) and Rose (or Rosa, nee Hofmann, later Strauss,1895-1974) Appel. He had one older brother, Martin (1922-2005). The family lived in Mannheim, Julius worked as a legal professional, and Rudi attended gymnasium. On November 9 and 10, 1938, German officials instigated pogroms of violence and destruction against Jews and their property, known as Kristallnacht. During the pogroms, 30,000 Jewish men were also incarcerated in German concentration camps and held unless they promised to leave Germany. Julius was among the men imprisoned and arrived in Dachau concentration camp on November 11. On November 15, the Nazis banned Jewish students from public schools, so Rudi began attending a Jewish school in Mannheim. At the end of November, Martin left Europe and immigrated to the United States, joining Julius’ brother, Ernst, who lived in New York City. Upon Julius’ release from Dachau, he also left Germany and arrived in New York City on January 18, 1939. Julius joined Martin, who had moved to Philadelphia. That same year, Rose fled to Belgium. Rudi was sent to Rotterdam, Netherlands, for safety and where he could attend gymnasium.

    In May and June of 1940, Germany invaded and occupied the Low Countries of Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, as well as France. Rudi was smuggled over the border and joined his mother in Belgium. Rudi and Rose then crossed into Nazi-occupied France, heading towards Marseille on the southern coast. While attempting to cross into un-occupied territory, they were arrested near Angouleme and sent to Rivesaltes internment camp. On August 26, 1942, Rudi was transferred to Camp Les Milles near Marseille. That summer, the French, collaborationist Vichy government began handing over Jews in the camps to the Nazis. During the daily selection on September 1, Rudi decided to join the selected group, even though his name was not called. The group Rudi was supposed to have been in was sent to Drancy transit camp, and eventually went to Auschwitz killing center in German-occupied Poland. Instead, Rudi ended up back in Rivesaltes.

    In September 1942, Rudi was among a group of children escorted by Friedel Reiter (later Bohny-Reiter) to Le Chambon sur Lignon, a Protestant village in unoccupied France. In Chambon, Rudi was placed in La Guespy, one of several children’s homes in the town operated by Secours Suisse aux Enfants (Swiss Society for Children’s Aid). La Guespy was directed by Juliette Usach, a doctor who fled to France during the Spanish Civil War. In November, Germany occupied the remainder of France, and Rose was sent to Gurs internment camp, where she worked in the Central Hospital. By the end of December, Rudi was among 23 children housed at Guespy. The children were able to resume schooling and lived in relative safety due to the entire town’s dedication to helping refugees. When roundups of Jews did occur, Rudi and the other children were hidden in the nearby woods. The children were encouraged to attend religious services, and Juliette consciously cultivated an atmosphere of religious tolerance and encouraged collective participation in both Jewish and non-Jewish holidays. While in Chambon and Gurs, Rudi and Rose were both able to exchange letters with Julius and Martin through the Red Cross.

    On June 6, 1944, the Allies landed in Normandy, beginning the liberation of France. The region surrounding Chambon was liberated by the Free French First Armored Division on September 2-3. After the war, Rudi was reunited with his mother and in November1946 they immigrated to the United States, where Rudi Americanized his name to Rudy. Rose and Julius divorced in 1949, and that same year, Rose remarried to Dr. Alfred Strauss and moved to New York City. Rudy began an export business. In April 1962, Rudy married Susanne Ahr (b. 1928), a Berlin native who fled to Iraq in 1935, and then Uganda in 1941 where she was imprisoned as an enemy alien until 1945. Rudy became stepfather to her daughter. Rudy and Susanne had another daughter in 1964. After the end of the Soviet era, Rudy became dedicated to helping Jews get out of the USSR.

    Physical Details

    Language
    French
    Classification
    Posters
    Physical Description
    Rectangular flyer printed on discolored tan paper, depicting an antisemitic message. Capitalized French text in large, white letters is arranged horizontally from the upper left corner to the lower right corner. The top three lines and the bottom line are highlighted with a red border. In the lower left corner is an illustration of a louse-like insect with the head of a man illustrated with dark hair and a long, hooked nose. He is biting into a surface with jagged edges, which he holds in place with two large claws. The illustration is within a large, shaded red circle that fades out to pink and peach along the edges. A thin, white, square, outline surrounds the circle. In the upper right corner of the poster is a watercolor-style image of a man wearing white laboratory clothing, including a cap, long mask, and coat. He looks down into a brass-colored microscope. The background of the poster consists of a large, gray, watercolor-style rectangle with darker areas behind both illustrations. The background has irregular edges and a narrow margin on all four sides. The poster has partial tears along the heavy vertical and horizontal creases that run through the center. There are smudges and finger prints throughout the back and a short piece of clear tape at the back center and the center of each side.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 9.250 inches (23.495 cm) | Width: 12.375 inches (31.433 cm)
    Materials
    overall : paper, ink, tape

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The poster was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1992 by Rudy Appel.
    Record last modified:
    2023-06-02 08:52:41
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn4822

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