Heroine of Times of Distress | IFCJ
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Heroine of Times of Distress

Life: 1917-1999Why you should know her: Germaine Ribière was a Christian member of the French Resistance during World War II who saved numerous Jews from certain death.When the war broke out and the Nazis occupied France, Germain Ribière was a college student at the University of Paris. She was witness to the arrest and discrimination of Jews, and wrote of it in her diary: "The Church, the hierarchy, remain silent. They let the truth be profaned."Moving from Paris to Vichy, Germaine became involved with anti-Nazi publications and the Resistance movement. In 1942, as the Nazis rounded up more and more Jewish families, Germaine helped hide and shelter Jewish children. For these actions, she was called "our heroine in times of distress" by a Jewish physician, who also added, "She was seen with an evangelic spirit, an unselfish love of her neighbor. She suffered visibly from the situation done to us, us Jews."When 1,200 Jews were arrested by the Nazis around the city of Lyon, Germaine was able to save 160 adults and 108 children. Those saved were given false papers that Germaine provided them.The next year, as Jews were being watched and rounded up by the Nazis, Germaine posed as a cleaning woman so that she could warn them.Some of Germaine's other acts of courage included: providing a false identity card hidden in a pen to an imprisoned Resistance leader which allowed him to escape to Switzerland, disguising herself as a nurse to aid a train of Jewish deportees, and in Limoges her warnings saved 1,100 or 1,200 Jews who were to be arrested.For her courage and selfless actions that saved countless French Jews, Germaine Ribière was named Righteous Among the Nations in 1967. These godly actions are best summed up by more entries in her diary: "I ache for them in my whole being, I ache for my Jewish brothers and sisters...Hatred is not the world of God, it is the refusal of God."


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