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Oral history interview with Georges Loinger

Oral History | Accession Number: 2014.542.13 | RG Number: RG-50.812.0013

Georges Loinger, born in 1910 in Strasbourg, Germany (now France), describes his early life; his encounter with the growth of Nazi Germany and antisemitism; studying engineering before studying physical education (this was after Joseph Weil told him there were enough engineers but the survival of the Jews would require people of robust health and determination); moving to Paris to finish his physical education studies; his first job as a physical education teacher in one of Baron Edouard de Rothschild’s chateaus, the Guette, which was established to shelter Jewish refugee children from Germany; the 123 children brought from Germany in 1936-1937 to the Guette; serving in the military during the war; being captured and imprisoned in Germany; learning that when Germany invaded France in 1939, the children were transferred to La Bourboule; receiving information during his imprisonment; escaping in 1940-1941; crossing the Vosges near the Struthoff concentration camp (although he did not know it at the time); meeting his wife in La Bourboule; his fear when overhearing a conversation in La Bourboule about children speaking German; going to Montpellier to seek OSE help to get the children to safety; the OSE creating five children’s homes on the outskirts of Paris to shelter the Jewish children, before they began establishing homes in the Creuse; the OSE sending children to inter-alia, Chabannes and Château du Masgelier (located in Le Grand-Bourg); his job visiting all the OSE homes and developing physical education programs; traveling for a year without any difficulty because he was blonde and blue-eyed; creating at each school a system of monitors whom he trained and who were responsible to continue the program in his absence; learning in 1943 from Joseph Weil that the Nazis planned to exterminate the Jews and the homes had to be disbanded and the children relocated; the réseau Garel, which found host families and institutions to take the Jewish children, changed the children’s names, placed them in Christian schools, and trained them to assimilate into their towns and villages; the support of the Archbishop of Toulouse; organizing an escape network for those children who were unable to assimilate easily, smuggling them to Switzerland with the help of the Mayor Jean Deffaugt of Annemasse, a border town; Deffaugt who was a pétainiste but was against his collaboration with the Nazis and, therefore, a willing conspirator with Loinger; the various means to develop and secure the escape routes, procuring forged documents, and food; the cooperation from smugglers along the way; saving approximately 1000 children; his life after WWII; his efforts to achieve safe passage from Germany for survivors heading to Palestine; and his efforts to establish the state of Israel.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Georges Loinger
Lisa Gossels
Dean Wetherell
Documentary films.
3 videocasettes (Betacam SP) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Lisa Gossels and Dean Wetherell
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:38:08
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