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Portrait of two Jewish brothers a few weeks after their release from the Rivesaltes internment camp.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 41269

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    Portrait of two Jewish brothers a few weeks after their release from the Rivesaltes internment camp.
    Portrait of two Jewish brothers a few weeks after their release from the Rivesaltes internment camp.

Pictured are Julien Engel (right) and his brother Georges.


    Portrait of two Jewish brothers a few weeks after their release from the Rivesaltes internment camp.

    Pictured are Julien Engel (right) and his brother Georges.
    November 1942
    Vendines, [Toulouse] France ?
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Julien Engel
    Event History
    The Abadi (Marcel) network was a rescue mission operating in Nice, France that between 1943 and 1944 saved 527 Jewish children ranging in age from newborns to teenagers. The network was organized by Moussa Abadi, a Syrian Jew from Damascus, who had been studying in France since 1928, and his French Jewish girlfriend, Odette Rosenstock. In their efforts they received support from the bishop of Nice, Monseigneur Paul Rémond, and financial backing from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Until 1940 Moussa and Odette were living in Paris, where he was a doctoral student in history at the Sorbonne, and she was a recently licensed physician. The deteriorating security situation in Paris led them to flee south to Nice. Sometime in 1942, Moussa learned from an Italian army chaplain who had just arrived from the Russian front, that the Germans were engaged in the systematic murder of Jewish communities along the Eastern front. Persuaded that a similar fate awaited Jews in France, Moussa and Odette set about to organize a rescue operation to prevent the deportation of Jewish children. Early in 1943 Moussa approached Bishop Rémond, whom he had met briefly soon after his arrival in Nice, to ask for his help in supporting a rescue mission. The bishop willing gave his support. In addition to offering office space at his official residence and securing the assistance of several clerics, Rémond named Moussa (under the alias M. Marcel) as an inspector of Catholic education, and Odette (under the alias Sylvie Delattre) a diocese social welfare representative. These titles allowed the Jewish rescuers to circulate freely in the region and gave them broad access to Catholic and secular institutions where children could be hidden. Rémond himself often joined Moussa at night to fabricate false identity cards and ration coupons. The operation ran successfully until May 1944, when Odette was arrested by the Gestapo in Nice. Though she was tortured, she did not reveal the network. After her interrogation she was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Later she was transferred to Bergen-Belsen, where she was liberated. Odette was repatriated to France in June 1945. After a period of recuperation she rejoined Moussa in Nice, where later they were married. For the next three years, Moussa worked closely with the OSE, to reunite children with their parents or other surviving relatives, and to find homes for those who were left alone. He also opened a large medical dispensary for the needy of all ages. Odette found the work too emotionally draining and preceded her husband back to Paris to resume her medical career. The two died in Paris, Moussa in 1997, and Odette in 1999. Bishop Paul Rémond (since elevated to archbishop) was recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations in 1992.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Julien Engel

    Keywords & Subjects

    Photo Designation
    RESCUERS & RESCUED -- France

    Administrative Notes

    Julien Engel is the son of David and Rosa (Futerko) Engel. He was born in Antwerp, Belgium on September 6, 1933. His parents, both Polish Jews from Lodz, had met as students in Germany and were married in Dortmund in 1931. In August 1933, soon after the Nazi seizure of power, the Engels left for Belgium. However, they were arrested at the border town of Aachen and jailed for two weeks, before being permitted to continue their journey. A few weeks after their arrival in Antwerp, Julien was born. His younger brother Georges was born there in 1938. Julien's father owned a furniture business in Antwerp until the German invasion in May 1940. A few weeks later the family fled to Nice, where Julien's mother had a cousin. In September 1942 when the Vichy regime began to arrest Jewish refugees in the unoccupied zone, the Engels attempted to flee to Switzerland, but were arrested at the border town of Annemasse. After being held by the French police in nearby Annecy for several days, they were taken to the Rivesaltes internment camp. Two weeks after their arrival Julien and his brother were released, along with a group of fifty children, into the hands of an international welfare organization. Several weeks after their departure, Julien's parents were transferred to Drancy and then deported to Auschwitz, where they perished. Upon their release from Rivesaltes, the Engel boys were taken to a makeshift children's home in the village of Vendines, near Toulouse. They remained there for three months until their mother's cousin, Anna Fachette, came to take them to her home in Nice, where she lived with her sister. The widow of a Frenchman, Anna was a naturalized French citizen and felt reasonably secure in Italian-occupied Nice. The capitulation of Italy in September 1943 triggered the immediate entry of German forces into the Italian-occupied zone of France. Their arrival was accompanied by immediate large-scale round-ups that targeted French Jews and Jewish refugees alike. Anna Fachette and her sister were caught in a round-up while shopping in the city during the first days of the German occupation. A Christian friend, who was mistakenly arrested with them and then released, hurried back to Anna's home to warn the children. Julien, following the advice Anna had given him in case of trouble, took Georges and fled to his neighbor, M. Neyborg, who was the honorary consul of Sweden in Nice. Within an hour or two of their escape, the Gestapo or French Milice arrived at Anna's home. Finding no one else to arrest, they sealed off the house. M. Neyborg kept the boys at his home for a few days until he was able to make arrangements with the Catholic diocese, whom he knew to be involved in the hiding of Jewish children. The Engel boys were taken to Le Rayon de Soleil, a children's home in nearby Cannes run by Alban and Germaine Fort. There they remained for the next three years, until an American uncle arranged for their immigration to the United States in September 1946. It was only long after the war that Julien and his brother learned of the Abadi (Marcel) network and the role it played in their rescue. In 1985 Alban and Germaine Fort were both recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.
    Record last modified:
    2004-11-19 00:00:00
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