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Two little girls eat from a large pot in the Chateau des Avenieres children's home in Cruseiles.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 23621

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    Two little girls eat from a large pot in the Chateau des Avenieres children's home in Cruseiles.
    Two little girls eat from a large pot in the Chateau des Avenieres children's home in Cruseiles.


    Two little girls eat from a large pot in the Chateau des Avenieres children's home in Cruseiles.
    Circa 1945
    Cruseilles, [Haute-Savoie] France
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Margot Schwarzchild-Wicki

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Margot Schwarzchild-Wicki
    Source Record ID: Collections: 2006.464

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Margot Schwarzschild-Wicki (born Margot Schwarzschild) is the daughter of a Jewish father, Richard Jakob Schwarzschild and a Catholic mother, Aloisia (Luisi) Keim. She was born on November 20, 1931 in Kaiserlautern in the German Palatinate, and her older sister Hannelore was born on March 21, 1929. In 1938 Margot and Hannelore were expelled from their school and forced to attend a Jewish school. Shortly thereafter, on the night of November 9 and 10, the Kristallnacht pogrom erupted throughout Germany. Richard was among the hoards of Jews arrested and sent to Dachau. Two years later on the morning of October 22, 1940, the family was notified that they had two hours to pack and report for deportation. They were among the 7,500 Jews from the various communities from Saar, Palatinate, and Baden who were brought to Karlsruhe and then sent by train to internment camps in unoccupied France. The Schwarzschilds were sent to Gurs. As men and women were sent to separate parts of the camp, Richard was separated from rest of the family. Luisi's rheumatism had become inflamed during the voyage, and she was sent to a hospital. Since she was an Aryan, Luisi could have returned home with her daughters if she agreed to divorce Richard. Her family strongly urged her to follow this course of action, but she would not abandon her husband. While in the camp, Richard became aware of an attempt by a group of teenagers to smuggle food into the camp. Even though he did not take part in the plot, he still was incarcerated in a prison in Pau in response. He was released in March 1941 so that the family could be reunited for a transfer to the Rivesaltes concentration camp. Margot and Hannelore only remained in Rivesaltes for about half a year. The following November, aid workers from the Secours Suisse helped release the girls and send them to Pringy, a children's home in Haute Savoie. The girls enjoyed their time there, but the next summer they were forced to return to Rivesaltes. The Laval government announced that all children had to reunite with their parents in the camps. Though couched in humanitarian language, this decree succeeded in returning Jewish children to the camps in time for the first deportations to Auschwitz. On September 4, 1942 Richard was transferred to Drancy, and five days later he was sent to Auschwitz on Convoy 29. The rest of the family would have been deported as well, except that Hannelore had brought the family photo album with her to France. She found her mother's communion photo, and Luisi succeeded in proving to the authorities that she wasn't Jewish. The Swiss aid worker Friedel Reiter arranged for the release of the three Schwarzschild women. The girls were sent back to Pringy, and Luisi was given work in another nearby Secours Suisse home in Cruseilles. Hannelore and Margot joined her there the following year. Meanwhile, in September 1942 their paternal grandmother Settchen Schwarzschild was transferred to the Noe Concentration camp near Toulouse. After a year and a half, she was sent to La Guiche, a combination sanatorium and concentration camp, where she passed away upon arrival on March 7, 1944 at age of 80. After the war, the Luisi Schwarzschild and her two daughters moved to Switzerland. They had previously arranged to rendezvous with Richard at the Secours Suisse office in Bern following liberation. On October 22, 1946, six years after their deportation from Germany, they realized he would never return, and they returned to Kaiserlautern. Margot finished her schooling and became a German translator, and Hannelore became a kindergarten teacher in Munich. In 1951 Hannelore wed Franz Wicki, and four years later, Margot married his brother Josef Wicki.
    Record last modified:
    2007-03-15 00:00:00
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