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Fonds Abadi (CMXCIV)

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2017.16.1 | RG Number: RG-43.156

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    Archives of Moussa and Odette Abadi, two unknown Jews, who created the Réseau Marcel (Marcel network) in Nice, France to save children during World War II. They saved 527 children from deportation with the cooperation of the local authorities, the Catholic Church (Monsignor Rémond), and many humanitarian organizations. The Réseau Marcel was one of the most successful Jewish rescue networks in Vichy France. Odette Rosenstock was a French doctor, she survived Auschwitz-Birkenau and Bergen-Belsen, and Moussa Abadi, Syrian-born was a co-conspirator, whom she married after the war.
    inclusive:  1940-1998
    Collection Creator
    Odette Abadi
    Moussa Abadi
    Monsignor Paul Rémond
    Odette Abadi (née Rosenstock) was a doctor and during the Spanish civil war cared for refugees who came into France. Odette practiced as a doctor in Montargis, near Orleans until the Vichy laws against the Jews obliged her to stop practicing. She then worked as a midwife. In 1942, Moussa Abadi, a Jewish student and writer whom she had met in 1939, asked her to join his resistance organization to help Jews from a widespread area of southern France, then unoccupied by the Germans, to take refuge in Nice where the Italian occupying forces largely ignored their presence. Odette became his chief helper, taking the resistance name of Sylvie Delatre. They received assistance from the Bishop of Nice, Paul Rémond, who provided them with a room in his official residence. He also persuaded a number of Catholic schools and individuals to give children hiding places. In April 1944, Odette was denounced and she was arrested by the Vichy special police ((French Militia), "milice." She was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau and then Bergen-Belsen. There she worked as a doctor, looking after those who were too ill to be sent to the death chambers. She survived and returned to Paris. She was reunited with Moussa Abadi, who had escaped capture. They married and she resumed her work as a doctor, becoming director of social hygiene in Paris, specializing in the treatment of tuberculosis and venereal disease. It was not until 1995 that Odette, angered by the spectacle of refugees fleeing from the atrocities of new wars, wrote about her experiences in the extermination camps in the intensely moving book Terre de détresse Birkenau-Bergen-Belsen. Moussa Abadi died in 1997.
    Moussa Abadi (called Monsieur Marcel, 1910-1997), a member of the French resistance during World War II, was a Syrian Jew, a medievalist, and a theater and radio man. He is best known for his action during the German occupation for creating with his wife, Odette Rosenstock, the Marcel Network (Le réseau Marcel). Thanks to this network, 527 Jewish children were hidden and saved between 1943 and 1945 in the Nice area.
    Paul Rémond, the Bishop of Nice, admired Marshal Pétain greatly and urged his flock to support him. Nevertheless, Rémond loathed the Germans, who had occupied his homeland, and vigorously opposed the Vichy regime’s antisemitic policies. Even before the war, Rémond participated in protests against antisemitism. In the summer of 1943, Moussa Abadi, a Jew who had fled from Paris to Nice, approached Rémond. An Italian officer in the occupying forces told Abadi about the mass murder of Jews in Eastern Europe that he had witnessed. Abadi believed the Italian officer and feared that German forces would eventually occupy Nice and its vicinity and deport the Jews who had found refuge there. Rémond assured him that all Catholic institutions in his diocese would be opened to shelter Jewish children, and promised to provide Abadi with a room in the Episcopal Palace and his own staff members to forge documents, if necessary. Rémond also appointed Abadi, under an assumed name, as a general inspector of the diocese educational institutions. By virtue of these initiatives, a network for the rescue of Jewish children was in place when the Germans occupied Nice on September 9, 1943, and Gestapo agents commanded by Alois Brunner launched a brutal manhunt for Jews. Despite the danger, Rémond kept his promises, thereby facilitating the hiding and rescue of over 527 Jewish children. Many children were sheltered in the dormitories of Catholic schools, where they were enrolled, following the instructions of Moussa Abadi, renamed Monsieur Marcel.
    On December 2, 1991, Yad Vashem recognized Monsignor Paul Rémond as Righteous Among the Nations.
    Coleman, Fred. Marcel network : how one French couple saved 527 children from the Holocaust.

    Abadi, Odette. Terre de détresse : Birkenau, Bergen-Belsen., Paris : Harmattan, c1995.

    Physical Details

    3,027 digital images : JPEG.
    System of Arrangement
    Arrange in five series: 2. Documents of the Marcel network created during and after WWII; 2. Accounts of former hidden children including name lists of the children; 3. Documents on Moussa and Odette Abadi, and Paul Monsignor Rémond; 4. Cooperation with OSE; 5. Yad Vashem documents related to award, the Medal of the Righteous.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    This material can only be accessed in a Museum reading room or other on-campus viewing stations. No other access restrictions apply to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    No publication of documents on the World Wide Web, Internet, etc., or reproduction of microfilm reels without the permission of the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine (CDJC). Cite the CDJC as holder of originals.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Source of acquisition is the Memorial to the Shoah, Jewish Contemporary Documentation Center (Mémorial de la Shoah, Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine), France. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum received the filmed collection via the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum International Archival Programs Division in February 2017.
    Record last modified:
    2024-01-05 13:21:36
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