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The Humble Heroine Who Saved Jewish Children from Auschwitz

Mary Elmes and children she saved from Auschwitz (Photo: courtesy Midas Films)

Last year, we told you the story of a particularly amazing (and humble) Advocate and Ally of the Jewish people - Irish Quaker Mary Elmes, who saved thousands of children during the Holocaust. Now, The Times of Israel's JP O'Malley adds more to Elmes' story, telling us of a book that details both her heroism and her humility:

By the autumn of 1942, trains had carried 2,289 Jewish men, women and children from the French Rivesaltes concentration camp northwards to Drancy.

The former was one of the country’s most well-known internment camps in the Vichy-occupied south. Drancy, the most infamous camp of all, was in the north of France, under German occupation. It was from there that this group of Jews continued a longer journey eastward, to the death camps in Poland.

But not all Jews that were held at the Rivesaltes camp perished in the Holocaust. Eighty-four percent of the children staying at the camp escaped deportation, primarily thanks to Mary Elmes, an Irish woman working for a Quaker aid organization called the American Friends Service Committee.

Elmes’ brave wartime efforts to save hundreds of Jewish children at the Rivesaltes camp is the central theme of a recently published book called “A Time To Risk All” by Irish freelance journalist, Clodagh Finn.

Elmes had worked as a humanitarian volunteer during the Spanish Civil War. Then, when World War II broke out, she moved on to continue to work where conflict arose...

Tags: Advocates and Allies

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