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A group of children gather around their caretaker as they open packages filled with toys.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 54722

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    A group of children gather around their caretaker as they open packages filled with toys.
    A group of children gather around their caretaker as they open packages filled with toys.


    A group of children gather around their caretaker as they open packages filled with toys.
    Walter Limot/ Photo Limot
    Meudon-Bellevue, [Hauts-de-Seine] France
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Micheline Weinstein
    Event History
    Le Petit Monde, also known as Melbourne House, was an OSE (Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants) children's home in Paris, which sheltered some 30-35 Jewish pre-school children, ages 2-6. These children had been recovered from the homes of French families, where they had been hidden during the war. The home was established and directed by Simone Weil, who had trained as an early childhood educator in Strasbourg before the war, and had been active in the wartime French-Jewish underground. Adopting the Montessori educational approach she studied in Strasbourg, Weil organized the orphans at Le Petit Monde into small family units consisting of children of various ages. Each group was headed by an early childhood educator-in-training. Le Petit Monde operated for approximately two years before all the children were placed with families in France or emigrated abroad.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Micheline Weinstein
    Second Provenance: Jacqueline Levy-Geneste

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Micheline Weinstein was born in the Rothschild Hospital in Paris on November 15, 1941. As a young baby she was denounced and hidden in the Paris region and then in the Vendee, the Nievre and the Jura until the end of the war. Her rescuers and places of hiding included a convent, a Catholic school and French Communists. All of her parents and grandparents perished in the Holocaust. After the war, she became friendly with the Jewish aide worker and psychoanalyst, Jacqueline Levy-Geneste. Jacqueline Levy-Geneste entrusted her wartime photographs and documents to her, and she in turn donated them to the Holocaust Museum in 2011.

    Jacqueline Levy-Geneste grew up in Strasbourg. She belonged to the Jewish scouts in France, the Eclaireuse Israelite. Following the German invasion in May 1940, Jacqueline fled to Limoges where she studied to become a kindergarten teacher. The following year, Mrs. Field of the Unitarian Service Committee recruited her to care for Spanish children in the Rivesaltes internment camp. Jacqueline organized the kindergarten and her work brought her in contact with aid workers from the OSE. In November 1942 she offered her services to the OSE and went to work with teenagers in Eaubonne. The Gestapo searched the home the following year, and Jacqueline fled. After obtaining false papers under the name Jacqueline Leroy, she went to Moutiers-Salins in the Italian zone. There she director the OSE home, Maison des Lutins and was responsible for 41 teenagers. After the war ended, Jacqueline became the director of Le Petit Monde, an OSE home for very young children ages 3-6 in Bellevue. She employed Montessori methods in their education. In 1949 OSE named her as the Inspector General of their children's homes. After leaving OSE at end of 50s became a psychoanalyst at the Societe Psychanalytique de Paris. She married the author Pierre Geneste. Jacqueline Levy-Geneste passed away on June 13, 2009.

    [Source: emails by Micheline Weinstein and Hazon, Katy: Tribute to Jacqueline Levy-Geneste]
    Record last modified:
    2011-07-11 00:00:00
    This page:

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