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Julien Samuel, director of OSE (Oeuvre de secours aux enfants) headquarters in Limoges, works in his office.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 38355

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    Julien Samuel, director of OSE (Oeuvre de secours aux enfants) headquarters in Limoges, works in his office.
    Julien Samuel, director of OSE (Oeuvre de secours aux enfants) headquarters in Limoges, works in his office.

    Overview

    Caption
    Julien Samuel, director of OSE (Oeuvre de secours aux enfants) headquarters in Limoges, works in his office.
    Date
    1940 - 1944
    Locale
    Limoges, [Haute-Vienne] France ?
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Vivette Herman Samuel

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Vivette Herman Samuel

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Biography
    Vivette Samuel (born Vivette Hermann) is the daughter of Nahum and Rachel (Spirt) Hermann. She was born in Paris in May 1919 and had one younger sister, Jose (b. 1924). Vivette's parents, who were Ukrainian Jews, met while studying in Odessa. Each later moved to Paris, where they met again in 1916 and married shortly thereafter. Nahum, a graduate of the Sorbonne, worked as a journalist and insurance agent. He also served as French director of the Keren Kayemet [the Jewish National Fund for Palestine]. Vivette also studied at the Sorbonne, where she earned a degree in philosophy. She became politically engaged during the Spanish Civil War and made a trip to Spain to support the Republican cause. In October 1939 Vivette took a job as a high school teacher in Paris, where she remained until the Germans invaded the city in May 1940. Her parents received emergency American visas, but decided not to emigrate when Vivette and her sister declared their intention to remain in France. From Paris the family fled to Vichy. A few months later her parents and sister moved on to Cannes, while she went to live in Toulouse. There Vivette met Herta Field, the American representative of the Unitarian Service Committee, who told her that the OSE (Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants) was looking for childcare workers to take up residence in the newly established refugee internment camps, where many children were also being held. After meeting with Andrée Salamon, who was in charge of the project, Vivette was offered a job. While at OSE headquarters she also met Julien Samuel, an OSE worker from Alsace. Vivette was sent to the Rivesaltes internment camp on November 3, 1940, where her mission was to facilitate the release of as many children as possible and arrange for their transfer to OSE homes elsewhere in France. She remained there until the summer of 1942, by which time she had placed all but five children. She then moved to Lyon, where she continued to work for the OSE. Vivette corresponded with Julien Samuel, who headed the OSE medical and social service center in Marseilles. The two became engaged in August 1942 and were married at the Le Couret children's home in October. For the next five months Vivette and Julien lived and worked in Marseilles until the deteriorating political situation necessitated the closing of the OSE center there. The Samuels then moved to Limoges, where they played a central role in the transition of the OSE into an underground organization. Vivette coordinated the official and clandestine teams of OSE workers in the area, while Julien directed the center and supervised its clandestine activities, including the securing of false documentation and the closing of the last remaining homes. In July their first child, Françoise Sara, was born. The following month, Vivette's parents moved to Limoges to be with them. On January 19, 1944 Nahum Hermann was arrested during a Gestapo raid on OSE headquarters in Limoges, where he was caught without the proper identification papers. He was sent first to Drancy and then deported to a concentration camp in Poland, where he perished. After his arrest Vivette sent both her mother and daughter to live in the countryside. Early in 1944 the OSE office in Limoges was shut down and Vivette and Julien were sent to Chambery to set up an operation to facilitate the smuggling of OSE children into Switzerland. There they lived openly under the assumed names of Claude and Henriette Lutz. On May 8, 1944 Julien was arrested by French police in Lyon after attending a secret OSE meeting. Two weeks later he was put on a deportation train for Drancy. Somehow, he managed to jump off and make his way back to Paris, where Vivette met him. Following their reunion, they made plans to leave for Switzerland on June 6. However, once they learned of the Allied landing at Normandy, they decided to await the liberation in France. After the war Vivette and Julien continued to work for the OSE. Julien organized the medical and social services, while Vivette provided emergency services for Jewish refugees in Chambery. Subsequently, they moved to Paris, where two more children, Jean-Pierre and Nicole, were born in 1945 and 1948, respectively. Ultimately, Vivette became the head of OSE France.
    Record last modified:
    2001-01-08 00:00:00
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