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Oral history interview with Lucien Lazare

Oral History | Accession Number: 2012.296.2 | RG Number: RG-50.710.0002

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Lucien Lazare discusses how his role as a historian changed the way he remembers France and World War II; how he forgot that he resisted youth movements as a boy despite the encouragement of his parents and friends; how the declaration of war and his aversion to uniforms led him from Alsace, France to Lyon, France at 15 years of age; how he searched for Jewish contacts and joined a study group at the synagogue on the rue Tilsit; how the study group was established by Eclaireuses éclaireurs israélites (EI) leaders; fleeing Paris, France and Alsace; the evolution of the study group under the leadership of Claude Gutman, the regional EI commissioner; his unambiguous commitment to the group; how at the end of their summer camp activity in 1942 Frédéric Amel (Chameau) and Gutman brought the study group members together to warn them of impending mass arrests of foreign-born Jews in the free zone and the need to prepare a rescue operation; how other youth movements in other cities were doing similar activities; how the cooperation among the different youth movements established itself easily, unlike in other European countries; the absence of an organized information-gathering apparatus within the EI as resistance activities began to coalesce, unlike that of the Zionist youth movement; how information circulated everywhere anyway; how in general, and notwithstanding the Vél d'Hiv roundup, Jews tended to believe that if they followed the anti-Jewish rules and regulations they would not be in danger; how the youth movements were the first to recognize the imminent peril and initiated rescue operations to save and arm the Jews; how during the mass arrests the youth movements provided food on a daily basis for those in hiding, identified host families or institutions for Jewish children, and produced forged documents; recalls the various techniques to produce forged documents and the evolving coded vocabulary: "les bifs" for the more artisanal identity cards and "les synthés" (les synthétiques) for the more perfect forgeries; how the youth movements' forgery laboratories were so proficient that the national French Resistance used their services and, in particular, the expertise of Maurice Loebenberg (Cachoud); the shift from a rescue operation to an armed resistance in June 1944 after the Normandy landing; the beginning of the Jewish maquis movement in the fall of 1943; the Zionist youth, who left for Spain to go to Palestine or joined the allies in North Africa; the founding of the EI maquis de la Malquiere; a message sent by Gamzon via the women EI leaders calling all older men to join the armed combat either in the Marc Hagueneau maquis or in a unit where they were located; his military training and resistance activities in the maquis de Vabre and later in the Compagnie Marc Haguenau; the military actions of the maquis and their role in liberating the French towns of Castres and Mazamet; the structure, military organization, and reputation of the Compagnie Marc Haguenau, and its integration into the Forces Françaises de l'intérieur (FFI); and the expectation that the maquis would participate in the liberation of the concentration camps, not knowing, in fact, until 1945 that the deportees had been murdered.

Interviewee
Lucien Lazare
Date
approximately 2005  (interview)
Language
French
Extent
1 videocassette (DVCAM) : sound, color ; 1/4 in..
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:38:47
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn49586