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Oral history interview with Freddy Menahem

Oral History | Accession Number: 2012.296.5 | RG Number: RG-50.710.0005

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

Freddy Menahem, born in Salonica (Thessalonike), Greece in 1924 and arriving in France in 1930, discusses his early life; attending a Jesuit school in the Sarthe, where his parents placed him for safety reasons; joining the Jewish scouts in 1934 in Paris, France; the exclusion of immigrant Jews in French society; the distrust of German immigrant Jews by French-born Jews, especially concerning Kristallnacht; seeing “juden” written on Jewish-owned storefronts and attacks of Jews; the book “Camp de la mort lente” by Jean-Jacques Bernard, which caused additional strain amongst French-born and immigrant Jews; the importance of EI (Eclaireuses éclaireurs israélites de France) as an integrating factor for all French Jews, noting role of Léo Kuhn in infusing the “ferme-école” concept with a spiritual life; replacing Fernand Musnik, who was injured in September 1940, as Director of the EI for the Ile-de France; activities in EI headquarters in Paris, including Jewish celebrations, plays, and concerts; the creation of Jewish study groups, one of which included the EI leaders; the importance of Simon Lévitte on his life, first on September 3, 1939, when Lévitte took his boy scout troop to a Eure farm to harvest beets for a mobilized farmer; being directed by Lévitte in March 1943 to create the Paris arm of “La Sixieme” (the Sixth) and a Jewish community center in Paris at rue Notre Dame Des Victoires; the activities of “La Sixieme,” including the forgery of documents led by Sam Kugel at rue Claude Bernard, the identification of hiding places in the occupied zone, the relocation of children to these hiding places, and visits to host families directed by Marc Amon; the assistance of the Catholic Church in Sarthe, beginning with Monseigneur Grenthe, the archbishop of Le Mans , France who directed the church to open institutions to Jewish children; the cooperation of mayors and police chiefs; the families who risked their lives to save Jewish children; leading the Comité de Liberation de la 5eme Arrondissement during the Liberation of Paris; his continued devotion to EI activities after the war; completing his medical studies; and getting married.

Interviewee
Freddy Menahem
Date
approximately 2005  (interview)
Language
French
Extent
2 videocassettes (DVCAM) : sound, color ; 1/4 in..
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:40:17
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn49589