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France's Rosh Hashanah Rescuers

Honoring French Holocaust rescuers (Photo: facebook/City of Lille)

The Jewish people just celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and have begun their observation of the High Holy Days. This week, The Times of Israel's Cnaan Liphshiz brings us a story from a Rosh Hashanah more than seven decades ago, when a group of French railroad workers saved the lives of dozens of Jewish children on the holiday's eve:

For Jews all over the world, the High Holidays are a time for closure and new beginnings. Not for Jacques Stuzalft, an 84-year-old Holocaust survivor from France.

Haunted by his experiences on the eve of Rosh Hashanah when he was 10 years old, he relives his narrow escape from death each time the Jewish New Year comes around.

“It’s extremely emotional because it’s a real nightmare, worse than a nightmare, to have lived through it all,” he told France TV during a recent visit to the train station in the northern city of Lille, where on the eve of Rosh Hashanah in 1942, many of his friends were shipped off to Nazi death camps.

But Stusalft may find closure after all, after teaming with a local historian to give belated recognition to the courageous French railway workers who helped him survive.

On Sept. 11 of that year, Stuzalft arrived at the station with his mother and brother on orders of the Nazi forces occupying France. He was separated from his family there, like hundreds of other French Jewish children. But unlike many of his classmates, Stuzalft was rescued by a little-known ring of resistance fighters from the French SNCF railways company, along with at least 33 other Jews...

Tags: Advocates and Allies

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