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Nachlass August Bohny-Reiter (1919-2016)

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2017.96.1 | RG Number: RG-58.050

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    Private papers of August Bohny-Reiter (1919-2016), a refugee aid worker and teacher. The collection consists of Bohny-Reiter biographical materials: photographs, records of civilian and military service, honors,and a diploma from Yad Vashem (1990); reports, correspondence, clippings, articles, publications and photographs relating to aid to refugees and refugee children in France and Switzerland, the founding of the Pestalozzi Children's Village, and cooperation with the Red Cross.
    Alternate Title
    August Bohny-Reiter papers
    inclusive:  1923-2016
    Collection Creator
    August Bohny-Reiter
    August Bohny-Reiter (1919-2016) was born in Switzerland, educated to be a primary school teacher, and then served in the Swiss military. In the summer of 1941, he served as director of the American Quaker-sponsored summer Camp McShannet for 70 French refugee children in the Alsace Lorraine region. In the fall of 1941, he went to Le Chambon in south central France, and spent almost four years establishing homes for refugee children, and hiding refugees. He worked with CIMAD (le Comité Inter-Movements Auprès des Evacuées), Secours Suisse aux Enfants, and the Red Cross. CIMAD liberated 16 young people from Gurs. In Le Chambon, August arranged for the local College Cevenol to provide educational opportunities for residents of his homes. One home named “L’Abrique” housed French Jewish children, among others. Another named “Faidoli” housed 40 to 50 children. In spring 1943, he opened an agricultural school. He helped protect about 200 children.
    Several times, August confronted Vichy administration representatives, but always succeeded in protecting the children. Once, he was threatened with detention unless he turned over 72 children. None was turned over; some were hidden in farm homes; and others were helped to get into Switzerland. He was never detained.
    Le Chambon residents were united in the rescue efforts. They were led by Pastor André Trocmé, who encouraged his congregation to maintain their basic values, even against government orders. The pastor occasionally “banged heads” with his church. August was honored as a Righteous Gentile by Yad Vashem in 1990, which also honored Le Chambon and the entire region, Le Plateau. [Source: USHMM Oral History]
    Bohny, August. Unvergessene Geschichten. Zivildienst, Schweizer Kinderhilfe und das Rote Kreuz in Südfrankreich 1941-1945. Konstanz : Hartung-GorreVerlag, 2009.

    Oral history interview with August Bohny-Reiter, RG-50.030*0031, USHMM Archives.

    Oral history interview with Friedel Bohny-Reiter, RG-50.030*0032, USHMM Archives.

    Physical Details

    German French
    5,381 digital images : PDF.
    System of Arrangement
    Arranged in four series: 1. Biographical materials; 2. Refugee aid in France and Switzerland; 3. Correspondence, photographs and albums; 4. Public relation and publications.
    Notes: Digital File #27 is empty.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    This material can only be accessed in a Museum reading room or other on-campus viewing stations. Users are required to complete a User Declaration in order to gain access to the collection.
    Conditions on Use
    No publication and copies of the records and finding aids to the 3rd party users without the written permission from the Archiv für Zeitgeschichte (AfZ). The Museum may not transfer the materials or duplicate records thereof or any of the finding aids to any third party, except as permitted in the Cooperation Contract, Article II paragraph 5 herein or as otherwise permitted in writing by the AfZ. The Museum may not publish the reproduction material or finding aid on the Internet, World Wide Web, or any publicly accessible on-line network without the written permission of the AfZ. Contact

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Source of acquisition is the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich. Archiv für Zeitgeschichte (AfZ), Switzerland; Archival signature: NL August Bohny-Reiter. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives received the collection via the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s International Archives Project in March 2017.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-25 10:12:46
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