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Children gather around one of their counselors in the Mehoncourt children's home.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 41298

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    Children gather around one of their counselors in the Mehoncourt children's home.
    Children gather around one of their counselors in the Mehoncourt children's home.


    Children gather around one of their counselors in the Mehoncourt children's home.
    Walter Limot/ Photo Limot
    1945 - 1946
    Le Mans, [Sarthe] France
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Colette Rauner Bartholomew

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Colette Rauner Bartholomew

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Colette Bartholomew (born Colette Rauner) is the daughter of Gustav and Bertha Rauner. She was born in 1923 in Würzburg, Germany. On April 1, 1933, shortly after the Nazi seizure of power, the family fled to Saarbrücken (in the French controlled Saar region), where Gustav's brother was living. Because of their status as German nationals, the French authorities forced the Rauners to move several times over the course of the next year, each time further from the German border. Ultimately, the family settled in Tours. In March 1940, three months before the defeat of France, French gendarmes began arresting male German nationals and sending them to internment camps. Though a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, Gustav was incarcerated with them. In May, German women sixteen years of age and older also became subject to internment, and Bertha was sent to the Gurs camp. Colette, who was then fifteen, was left alone. Shortly after the fall of France and its division into the occupied and unoccupied zones, a sympathetic French official helped Colette to cross the border into unoccupied France. She then proceeded to the village of Saint-Orse, where the family had arranged to meet in the event they became separated. When Colette arrived, her father was already there. Her mother was released from Gurs soon after and joined them in Saint-Orse after first returning to Tours to look for Colette. The Rauners spent the next three-and-a-half years in Saint-Orse, where they lived under certain residency restrictions and police surveillance, but did not have to conceal their Jewish identity. They also had family living close by in another small village. During this period Gustav worked mending silk stockings and Colette assisted him. The relative security of their existence was abruptly shattered in April 1944 when German police descended upon the village to round-up Jews. The Rauners fled to a nearby farm, whose owner lied to German police when they came to search for the Jewish family. For the next six weeks the Rauners found refuge in the woods until they could secure false papers from the French underground. With the help of the OSE [Oeuvre secours aux enfants], Colette found work as a nanny, while her parents were engaged as farm hands. After the war Colette was hired by the OSE to work as a counselor with orphaned children. She spent from December 1944 until the summer of 1945 at the Chateau Ferriere, an estate owned by the Rothschild family near Paris. When that facility was closed, she was sent to a three-month training program at the La Forge children's home in Fontenay-aux-Roses. After completing the course, Colette became a teacher at the Mehoncourt children's home in Le Mans, where she remained until immigrating to the United States with her parents in 1946.
    Record last modified:
    2004-08-09 00:00:00
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