Like a Ray of Sunshine

Simone Stolze-Coque

Credit:Yad Vashem

When the young Christian Frenchwoman Simone Stolze began her studies to become a nurse and a social worker in hopes of helping others, she never could have imagined the help she would one day give to those who needed it most.

As World War II raged and Hitler invaded France, Simone moved from the hospital where she worked in Metz to the city of Lyons, where she contacted the French Underground so that she might secretly rescue Jewish children from the Nazis.

Simone’s first job was escorting Jewish children via train across the border to neutral Switzerland, where they would be safe. However, this soon proved too dangerous, as the Germans were onto the secret route. Simone was then placed in charge of looking after Jewish children who had been hidden either at churches or with Christian families.

For the next two years, Simone bravely traveled the Nazi-patrolled roads of occupied France, delivering money, food, and clothing to hidden Jewish children, never once letting the risk posed to her own life stop her from her holy work.

One day, Simone was visiting the children hidden in a convent when she met a seven-year-old Jewish boy named Salomon Jassy. Salomon’s father had been deported to Auschwitz where he was murdered. To save Salomon and his older sister, the children’s mother separated the two and hid them.

Little Salomon had been traumatized being away from his entire family, so when this kindly Christian nurse named Simone took him under her wing, she was like “a ray of sunshine” to the boy. For the rest of the war Simone was like a mother to Salomon.

And then after the war, Simone helped Salomon find both his beloved mother and his sister. His mother, Adela, submitted testimony to Yad Vashem in 1957 of this woman’s kindness and bravery, and then finally in 2003, Simon Stolze-Coque was named Righteous Among the Nations for the sunshine and Christian love she gave not just to small Salomon Jassy, but to countless other Jewish children in their time of need.

Tags: Advocates and Allies Holocaust Righteous Among the Nations Simone Stolze-Coque World War II Yad Vashem

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