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Jewish refugee children sit on the terrace of the children's home in Izieu.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 30194

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    Jewish refugee children sit on the terrace of the children's home in Izieu.
    Jewish refugee children sit on the terrace of the children's home in Izieu.


    Jewish refugee children sit on the terrace of the children's home in Izieu.
    Paulette Pallares
    June 1943 - August 1943
    Izieu, [Ain] France
    Variant Locale
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Diane Popowski Fenster
    Event History
    The children's home in Izieu was opened in April 1943 to serve as a refuge for Jewish children threatened with arrest and deportation during the German occupation of France. It was established in an empty farm house in a remote mountain village overlooking the Rhone River valley, by the former Red Cross nurse, Sabina Zlatin, who co-directed the home with her husband Miron. The original group of children that lived in the Izieu home were transferred from the Palavas-les-Flots OSE center and the Campestre à Lodève home (both in the Hérault), which had recently been closed. Although the Izieu home was independently operated, the Zlatins received a stipend for each child from the OSE. On April 6, 1944, one year after it opened, the home was raided in an operation planned by the Lyon Gestapo, under the command of Klaus Barbie. The raid, which took place on a French holiday, took everyone by surprise, and only one person, Léon Reifman, was able to escape. Sabina Zlatin was away at the time, having gone to Montpellier to arrange for the transfer of the children to a safer location. In all, 43 children and seven adults were rounded-up in trucks and taken to the Fort Montluc prison in Lyon. The following day they were transported by train to Drancy, so as to preclude attempts by regional authorities to secure their release. From Drancy, Miron Zlatin and two children were sent to Tallin, Estonia, where they were taken to a fortress and shot to death. The others were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where all but Léa Feldblum were sent directly to the gas chambers.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Diane Popowski Fenster
    Source Record ID: HCC-Montreal
    Paul Niedermann
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Diane Fenster (born Diane Popowski) is the daughter of Symcha Binem Popowski, a Polish Jew from Wyszkow, and Hélène (Krundel) Popowski, a Belgian Jew. She was born on April 22, 1940 in Luxembourg, where her parents were then living, only weeks before the German invasion. On December 13, 1940 the family fled to the south of France to the small town of Prades-le-Lez, not far from Montpellier. Shortly thereafter in 1941, the family was sent to the Agde internment camp in Hérault. Fearing for her daughter's safety, Hélène made contact with Sabine Zlatin, a Jewish woman working in the camp as a Red Cross nurse. Mme. Zlatin was engaged in removing older children from the camp, and Hélène pleaded with her to find a hiding place for Diane though she was only one year old. Sabine smuggled the infant out of the camp wrapped in a blanket inside her knapsack, which she wore under her cape. To keep her quiet she gave Diane a sugar cube to suck on. Shortly afterwards Symcha and Hélène were deported to Drancy, and from there, to Auschwitz on September 11, 1942. Mme. Zlatin brought Diane to her grandmother who had not been taken to Agde because she was too old and frail. Together they hid in the woods. When Diane became very ill from the cold and damp, Mme. Zlatin again came to her aid and placed her in the home of Marie Antoinette Pallarès in Montpellier. Pallarès' three older children, Renée, Paulette, and Guy, also helped care for Diane. During the summer of 1943, Mme. Zlatin asked the Pallarès children if they would help care for the refugee children living in the nearby children's home of Izieu that she directed. The Pallarès spent the summer at the home and brought Diane with them. They also brought a camera with them and shot photos of the Izieu children. During the spring of 1944 the Pallarès children returned to Izieu along with Diane for a short stay. They left one day before the Gestapo raided Izieu on April 6, 1944, arresting the children and Mme. Zlatin's husband, Miron. After the raid, Diane continued to live in Montpellier at the Pallarès home. When the war was over, Diane's uncle, Simon Krundel, who had survived Auschwitz, came to France and found her. He had wanted to adopt her but his health would not permit it. Diane's father, Symcha, also survived but only returned to France in 1949 after a long period of recuperation from the camps. After his liberation he wrote to relatives in London asking for money to buy a sewing machine so that he could reestablish himself as a tailor. These relatives informed him that Diane had survived and was still living in Montpellier. Symcha came to retrieve his daughter and bring her back with him to Paris. Diane was very unhappy to be separated from the Pallarès whom she considered to be her real family, having lived with them for seven years. Since Symcha could not care for Diane alone, he placed her in a convent school near Paris. He also remarried, hoping to find a new mother for his daughter. However, the marriage was not successful and later ended in divorce. Diane was frequently beaten as a child, and her stepmother forced her to break off any contact with the Pallarès family. The Popowskis immigrated to Canada in 1951, where Diane was placed in a series of foster homes. After she married in 1957 Diane regained contact with the Pallarès family and later arranged for Yad Vashem to honor them as Righteous Among the Nations.
    Record last modified:
    2004-08-20 00:00:00
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