Cover image for The righteous of Switzerland : heroes of the Holocaust
Title:
The righteous of Switzerland : heroes of the Holocaust
Author:
Wagner, Meir.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Hoboken, NJ : KTAV Pub., [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
xli, 269 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780881256987
Format :
Book

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Central Library D804.65 W34 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

For years, Americans have been told about the complicity of Swiss bankers with the Nazi war machine. But this is only part of the story. During World War II, barve Swiss citizen risked danger and death because they refused to remain neutral in the face of crimes against humanity. As a result of their determined efforts, many thousands of jewish lives were saved. Some of these little-known heroe have already been honored as "righteous Among the Nations" by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, but the deeds of others are only now receiving the attention they deserve. Drawing extensively on the testimonials of eyewitnesses and those whose lives were saved, Meir Wagner presents compelling accounts of these courageous men and women who listened only to the voice of their conscience.


Author Notes

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Meir Wagner has been instrumental in opening new air traffic routes, and promoting tourism and cultural exchanges


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

It is well known that Switzerland was not the most willing nation to aid the Jews during the Holocaust. Thousands of Jews were turned back at the Swiss border and eventually killed, although 21,000 Jewish refugees did ultimately find asylum there. And much has been written about the complicity of Swiss bankers with the Germans. Wagner's meticulously researched book documents 37 Swiss men and women who helped save Jews during World War II, and whose efforts were recognized by the awarding of Israel's Yad Vashem "Righteous Among the Nations" medal. Each chapter is built around the actions of one or more individuals and their part in saving Jews. Eyewitness accounts and testimonies have been used extensively. These courageous citizens came from every walk of life, including nuns, clergymen, Red Cross personnel, teachers, a farmer, a doctor, and diplomats. Wagner, who with his family was interned in a concentration camp in the Ukraine during World War II, has gathered remarkably vivid accounts of bravery and compassion. --George Cohen


Publisher's Weekly Review

In an effort to provide a more positive picture of Switzerland during WWII, a country whose image of neutrality has been tainted by the documented cooperation between Swiss bankers and the Nazis, the author presents the heroic acts of ordinary Swiss citizens during the Holocaust. At great risk to themselves, the more than 40 men and women whose stories are described here acted bravely to save Jewish lives. In 1938 Switzerland closed its borders to Jewish refugees. However, Paul Grninger, a police captain in St. Gallen, refused to obey orders and falsely backdated the papers of several thousand Jewish refugees so that they could remain safely in Switzerland. Although he sacrificed his career and financial security for these actions, after his death he was honored by the Israeli government, and Switzerland finally officially recognized his achievements. Pastor Daniel Curtet organized his entire town of Le Chambon to successfully hide hundreds of Jewish refugees. Sister Jeanne Berchmans, a nun at the Sacr‚-Coeur Convent, risked arrest to hide Jews in a "quarantine" room while German soldiers searched the building. Wagner has done history a service by sharing these carefully researched anecdotes, many already known and others told here for the first time. Wagner, who currently promotes tourism and cultural exchange for Switzerland, is not an accomplished writer, but is himself a Holocaust survivor, and these heroic accounts are informed by his personal passion. Photos. (Mar. 19) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One Marcel Pasche Defenders of the Oppressed and Accomplices in Uniform Born in Switzerland in 1912 in the German-speaking city of Berne, but raised in the French-speaking western part of the country, Marcel Pasche grew up fluent in both languages. In the small rural community of Vaumarcus in the canton of Neuchatel, his father was a leading figure in the Christian Union movement, and at a young age Marcel was privileged to meet leading personalities who were heavily involved in social and humanitarian work.     After finishing his schooling (with final examinations in German at the University of Lausanne, where the main language was French), Marcel entered the Swiss army in 1932. That was the year when social uprisings in Geneva were squashed by the government, which called in the army for help. Young recruits were ordered to shoot into the protesting crowds, leaving 13 people dead on the streets of Geneva--an event which profoundly marked Marcel. The issues had been labor and social security.     Once his military service was over, Marcel became a student of theology. In 1934, after initial studies at the University of Lausanne, he transferred to the University of Basle, situated on the Rhine in the northwestern corner of Switzerland, bordering France and Germany.     This prestigious university (which was founded in 1459 by Pope Plus II) had a proud tradition of human and cultural values. While studying here, Marcel became acquainted with the famous professor of theology Karl Barth, who came to Basle after being expelled from Bonn in Germany because of his criticism of the National Socialist philosophy in 1937. Barth considered Nazism was a far greater danger to mankind than Communism. In Germany, the "nazification" of the churches was a gradual process, partly made possible through the expulsion and elimination of those who raised their voices in dissent, the most famous among them being Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was executed by the Nazi regime.     In Basle, young Marcel developed a strong personal antipathy towards the "brown" (Nazi) right-wing ideology in Germany. Karl Barth's theology became the pivotal point in his academic life, as it had been for many young students who escaped from Nazi Germany and came to Basle. In the meantime, Hitler's government was tightening its grip more and more over the German churches. It was the time when the "Confessing Church" ("Bekennende Kirche") was growing.     After his graduation, Marcel was initially assigned to a church in Lille in northern France, where he assisted the pastor, Pierre Bosc, who was Vice President of the Reformed Church of France at that time. Marcel married Mady Choffat, a young woman he had first met during the time his family had spent at Vaumarcus. The young couple were posted to Roubaix, close to the Belgian border. There they experienced the traumatic invasion by the German Wehrmacht on May 10, 1940. THE FRENCH YEARS     The invasion of France was preceded by a literal human wave of Dutch and Belgian refugees, many of them Jews, following the blitz of their countries by the German troops in the spring of 1940. Marcel and his wife helped where they could, but by May 19, they themselves were on the road. The evacuation was extremely chaotic, under constant attack from German "stuka" ("Sturzkampfflieger" airplanes).     Crammed into a small Peugeot automobile, Marcel, Mady, four other women and two babies escaped by the skin of their teeth, aided mainly by a detailed Michelin Guide map. They found refuge at Pastor Bosc's summerhouse. That was where Marcel heard the radio broadcast by Marshal Pétain announcing the surrender of the French army and the armistice of May 8. He also heard General Charles de Gaulle's appeal of June 18, 1940, calling on the French to resist the invading German troops and to fight.     On August 1, the Pasche family returned to Roubaix, where they found their apartment intact but with three German bakers, soldiers of the Wehrmacht, living in it. In the fall of that year, they heard the nightly formations of German bombers setting off on their sorties to England. In spite of the fact that the Nazi occupying forces had forbidden it, they listened to the BBC broadcasts from England: "This is London. The French are speaking to the French."     The general chaos, the lack of food and the German offensive in the East in the summer of 1941 led many young French men and women to enter the Resistance (the French underground army). In August of that year, Marcel Pasche was ordained as a pastor of the Reformed Church in Roubaix. It was a time of great solidarity among practicing Christians, the church being a haven of refuge and relaxation for many of the locals and for the refugees.     The Protestant pastor of Swiss nationality now serving in Catholic France, and also speaking fluent German, soon became a vital link between the occupying forces and the French population. During this time of trials and hardship he became acquainted in particular with three Germans--Friedrich Günther, Friedrich Hahn and Carlo Schmid. The personal risk he took was enormous.     In a report he wrote in 1945, Marcel said: "It is important to note that these three men, with whom I had developed a relationship of complete trust, themselves held an independent attitude, opposing the Nazi regime as a consequence of their Christian faith. They knew that, based on the biblical teaching, they ought `to obey God rather than men'. To put this principle into practice, however, was a clear proof of courage on their part."     What Marcel did not learn until long afterwards was that he was the only pastor in France to maintain regular contact with German soldiers who happened to be brothers in the faith, although wearing the Wehrmacht uniforms. These men not only became good friends; they were instrumental in alerting Marcel to the degree of pro-Nazi or anti-Nazi commitment of any superior, colleague or soldier of the SS, the Gestapo or the Wehrmacht he had to deal with as representative of the French population in the area of Lille and Roubaix. THE MILITARY ADMINISTRATION     The northern part of France having just been overrun by the German troops, and the British army still battling around the area of Dunkirk, the occupying forces set up their "Oberfeldkommandatur 670" (OFK 670)--the military administration for the Nord and Pas-de-Calais regions. They requisitioned the Lille stock exchange building, "La Bourse". Total control of all aspects of public and commercial life ensued as administration was concentrated at this regional center: police, university, justice, textile factories, mining, transportation, church matters, everything ...     Above the entrance to La Bourse, a large German flag displaying the swastika flapped in the wind, and armed sentinels were stationed on the imposing stairs leading to the upper floors. When Marcel Pasche came to the administration building for the first time in the fall of 1940, he showed his identification papers to the guard who, after examining them, surprised him by saying: "You are a pastor. So am I. My name is Friedrich Günther." This was the opening of a conversation which could have remained just a dialogue between two colleagues, but which soon developed into something far greater.     Friedrich Günther was no ordinary soldier. In fact, he was a member of the "Confessing Church" of Germany and was actively fighting against the nazification of the Christian churches. He acted as an interpreter, and due to his position of confidence, he was extremely valuable to a great many people     Friedrich knew how to select his informants and where to pass on the information he picked up by accident. The concierge's quarters at the Lille stock exchange building had also become a gathering place for many pastor-soldiers who were passing through the city. The Wehrmacht uniform these clergymen wore protected them from the Gestapo, who would have arrested many of them without hesitation if they had been in civilian clothes. Many members of the Confessing Church kept in touch through Friedrich Günther. Pastor Marcel Pasche was instrumental not only in helping them on, but in spiritually supporting their Christian faith.     One day Marcel found himself in a very embarrassing situation: three young Frenchmen had flea clandestinely from their posts in the STO (Obligatory Labor Service) in Germany. But due to the fact that they were considered deserters, they could not be reintegrated into a family, a place of work, or even a food line. Friedrich Günther knew of a soldier who was in charge of the ammunition dumps at Saint-Armand-les-Eaux. This man was ready to take care of the three fugitives, giving them food ration cards and papers declaring them to be "heavy laborers". This ensured that they avoided investigation. Marcel later found out that plans of these ammunition dumps had been secretly passed on to London ...     Friedrich Günther's help was particularly valuable in the case of raids on Jewish refugees in the area. When he learned that a raid was scheduled to take place early the next morning, he did not hesitate to inform the pastor. On discovering that the pastor was not at home, Friedrich took it upon himself to inform several people using the telephone he had at the concierge's booth, pretending he was a "high official of the Oberfeldkommandatur", a trick which he successfully repeated several times. Witnesses confirm that the life of a certain Mr. Rabinowitsch, who was living at rue Faidherbe 15 in Lille, was saved as a result.     Günther maintained close contact with Marcel Pasche and introduced him to many accomplices who could be trusted. His activities could not always be kept totally secret, of course. He had a number of enemies at OFK 670, among them some staunch Nazis. They managed to have Friedrich sent to the front. His unit was almost completely wiped out, but Friedrich returned. THE SECRETARIAT OF JUDICIAL ASSISTANCE AT GERMAN TRIBUNALS     The following public notice appeared (in French) in two local newspapers, the " Echo du Nord " and the " Journal de Roubaix ", on November 23, 1942:     " Persons who desire to be assisted by a lawyer before the German tribunals, even though they may not have sufficient funds, may address themselves to this secretariat which is privately sponsored, every day from 9 to 12 o'clock, at rue Masurel 20, Lille ."     Most of Europe had been overrun by Hitler's armed forces and was largely incapable of organizing social support. Pastor Marcel Pasche had the idea of setting up a service to help when he witnessed a 17-year-old girl being sentenced to 12 months in prison for "insolence". He intervened and succeeded in getting the sentence reduced to three months.     Marcel had discovered that another man, Henri Duprez, a Roubaix industrialist (who was a member of the Resistance) had also tried to set up such a legal assistance service, using his influence with the Catholic hierarchy. Duprez got to know a lawyer in Paris, Maître Michel Clément, whose services had been called upon by the wealthy Leignel family. Clément had succeeded in obtaining the release of Gustave Leignel, a former banker who had been imprisoned for possession of an old pistol.     Pasche and Duprez joined forces to set up a private organization, but they were determined that it should have "official" status. Marcel actively promoted the foundation of the "secretariat". Thanks to his excellent relationship with Dr. Carlo Schmid, an important man at OFK 670, permission was granted to run such a service.     Marcel recalls that it was a true bluff: the notice in the newspapers had actually been smuggled past the SS censors! Although there had never been any real official endorsement, it was sufficient to refer to this press release whenever any questions were asked about the legitimacy of the "secretariat".     The address of the "secretariat" was no accident, either. It was the business address of Gustave Leignel. Having regained his freedom, Gustave worked free of charge and helped families who found themselves in a similar situation. Local lawyers agreed to work together with the Parisian lawyer Michel Clément. Contributions from interested families helped others to be assisted at the German tribunals, which ranged from the "Sicherheitsdienst" (SD), to the "Feldgericht" (Field Tribunal), the Air Force Tribunal, and the "Oberfeldgericht", the supreme court of the armed forces.     There were several cases of "forgotten prisoners" they were able to help. These men, sentenced and imprisoned, had been neglected until representatives of the "secretariat" visited them.     Another valuable acquaintance was Friedrich (Fritz) Hahn, a German who helped the police ("Geheime Feld-Polizei"--GFP) because he spoke French. Fritz, like his friend Friedrich Günther, was a pastor and a member of the "Confessing Church".     In the middle of the war and under German occupation, the mission of Marcel Pasche and his accomplices was a delicate and hazardous undertaking. The links of the "secretariat" and its adepts to the Resistance could have been betrayed at any time, and tension was mounting. A report dated January 6, 1944 shows, however, that 430 families had so far gotten in touch with the "secretariat", and its intervention had been successful in 70 cases. Its activities continued right up until the liberation of France by the Allied forces. CARLO SCHMID--A TRUE FRIEND     None of this would have been possible if Marcel Pasche had not been directed by Friedrich Günther, right on their first encounter at the concierge's booth in the fall of 1940, to get in touch with the legal advisor of the administration of the OFK 670, Dr. Carlo Schmid, an expert in international law.     Schmid was a man of imposing build. He worked in an office on the third floor of the "La Bourse" building, overlooking the main square of Lille, lending credence for any visitor to the importance of the function and office he held.     One chilly morning, Marcel the young Swiss expatriate pastor not yet 30 years of age, met Dr. Schmid for the first time. He was very warmly received. An unusual experience indeed in those times.     Carlo's father--a native German--was a teacher at the University of Toulouse and had married a Frenchwoman. Carlo was born in southern France in 1896. His family moved to Germany before World War I broke out, which meant that Carlo had to join the German forces for the last part of the 1914-1918 war. After his discharge, he studied law and political sciences and became an expert at the International Court of Justice at the Hague.     In 1933 the Hitler regime prohibited any further promotion, and in 1940 Carlo Schmid was drafted as a legal adviser to the "Oberfeldkommandatur" (OFK) in Lille. There his mandate consisted of reviving the broken-down French legal system, overseeing the university, the museums, the religious institutions, etc.     Although the French (puppet) government at Vichy received its orders from the German military administration in Paris, OFK 670 in Lille came under the administration based in Brussels, Belgium. Carlo Schmid always tried to find a solution to any problem that would be in the best interests of the local population, particularly when he received conflicting orders from Paris and Brussels.     The relationship between Carlo Schmid and Marcel Pasche was marked right from the start by a high measure of confidence and real friendship. Although older than Marcel and much more learned, Carlo was always highly attentive to the suggestions of this pastor who was in direct contact with the people. Marcel, for his part, considered it an unparalleled privilege to meet this open and refined individual who, even in the middle of the war, maintained human dignity.     There was a lot of business to be done, so the two men met frequently. Whenever Marcel submitted the necessary forms in two languages, French and German, whether it was for permission to cross from occupied France to the "free" zone of Vichy, the transportation of coal or potatoes, a young people's get-together or for some charity, Dr. Schmid would approve the forms using a large rubber stamp with the swastika and the words "mit Befürwortung" ("with recommendation"). Documents marked in this manner carried no official authority; they looked official enough, though, to pass as authentic in most cases.     In 1942, Marcel Pasche was able to spend a few weeks of vacation in Switzerland. Prior to Marcel's departure from Lille, Carlo Schmid had been helpful in issuing free passes for Mady and the children, but he could not find a way of issuing a pass for Marcel, since his profession was that of a pastor. Pastors were not allowed to travel freely. Marcel had to cross the border into his native country clandestinely.     Once in Switzerland, he found that there were a number of young theology students who were facing the prospect of joblessness because of the war situation. This gave Marcel an idea which, back in Lille, he shared with Carlo Schmid.     After much careful and secret planning, Marcel crossed the border into Switzerland once again in November that year. He met with a young pastor, Jacques Mottu, who volunteered to work as a churchman in the Lille area, undeterred by the hardship for which he would be trading an easier life in Switzerland despite the perilous times. With the help of Carlo Schmid, two more young Swiss pastors, François Grandchamp and Pierre Vallotton, were smuggled in and posted to Amiens and Reims. Schmid welcomed all of them and gave them papers that declared their stay legal and approved by the authorities.     Carlo Schmid was carefully screened by the Army Secret Police (GFP) after the attempt to assassinate Hitler on July 20, 1944. He was summoned to Brussels for questioning and nobody could predict what the outcome of the investigation would be. As a precaution, he had planned an escape in case the authorities decided to detain him. Fortunately, he did not have to make use of this contingency plan, as he was allowed to return to Lille, where he continued to work together with Marcel Pasche.     On August 28, 1944, OFK 670 was being dissolved. Feverish preparations for departure were taking place when one of the officers accused Friedrich Günther of desertion. After a scuffle, the Nazi officer shot him three times. Seriously wounded, Friedrich was taken to the hospital of La Calmette, where he died two days later.     Carlo Schmid and Marcel Pasche saw each other for the last time on September 1, 1945. On that occasion, Schmid cautioned Marcel to be extremely careful during the withdrawal of the Wehrmacht troops, since a single shot fired by a sniper--accidentally or not--would jeopardize the entire operation. It was a known fact that the worn out, weary troops were extremely "trigger-happy". Marcel therefore passed word on to the Resistance and was able to negotiate a 24-hour delay before the "Maquis" started their activities.     Dr. Carlo Schmid returned safely to Germany, where he became a high-ranking political advisor to the new government. He died in 1979. HONORS     In 1992, the mayor of Roubaix offered Marcel Pasche the Medal of Honor of the City of Roubaix, to be presented to him on May 8, the anniversary of the armistice. Pastor Pasche accepted, on behalf of the Reformed Church that had played its part in Northern France during those difficult years.     Here are some excerpts from his speech given at the auditorium of the city hall of Roubaix:     "Honorable Mayor, Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends,     "The distinction with which I am about to be honored causes me deep emotions, especially since it leaps back in history by about half a century. I have lived and experienced together with you and your parents the mobilization of 1939, Hitler's attack of May 10, 1940, the advancing and retreat of the British troops, the arrival of the Dutch and Belgian refugees, the sinister evacuation, the military defeat and the occupation of France by German troops.     "I understood what it was that Professor Karl Barth had declared to be `the perverseness of Nazism' just five years prior to my coming to France. With the help of Pastor Friedrich Günther who was an active member of the Confessing Church, I got to know Dr. Carlo Schmid, who played a considerable role in favor of the population suffering under the occupying forces. Friedrich Günther was assassinated by a Nazi officer. Dr. Schmid has become a high-ranking official in the German government. He is also responsible for the rapprochement of the peoples of France and Germany.     "During the four years of occupation, I was able to have recourse to a network of close and reliable Christian friends. Our notion of `enemies' was wiped away. We became daring and audacious, even to the point where we helped young forced laborers in their camps in the Ardennes mountains; quite illegally, we `imported' Swiss pastors to help the population in Northern France. We helped Jewish families and refugees and, last but not least, we operated the `Secretariat of Judicial Assistance at German Tribunals in the department Nord and Pas-de-Calais' from 1942 to 1944. Numerous prisoners were freed and the lot of many remaining in prison was alleviated. The existence of such an organization astonished the Germans, and is considered unique in the lands occupied by the Nazis.     "All of this was possible through and with the help of trusted French friends ... and the assistance of my compatriot and friend, the Swiss consul Fred Huber who accompanied me on many of my missions.     "I would like to thank the population of Roubaix who, at the time of the liberation, did not suspect my numerous and manifold contacts with the occupying forces of being collaboration with the enemy. Perhaps the particular character of my relationship was understood all along? It was an expression of a continued Christian attitude. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to relive it today."     At the synagogue of Lille, on March 7, 1993, another ceremony took place. Marcel Pasche was presented with the Yad Vashem "Righteous Among the Nations" medal of honor together with his friends Pastor Henri Nick, Dr. Pierre-Elie and Odile Nick, as well as, posthumously, Léon and Germaine Coghe.     Here are excerpts from Marcel Pasche's acceptance speech on that memorable occasion, which he began by reading some verses from Psalm 105:     " O give thanks unto Adonai; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.     Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.     Remember his marvelous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgements of his mouth;     O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ...     "All of us gathered here, officials and invited persons, Jews, Christians of diverse confessions, and Muslims, are the seed of Abraham, bearers of the Promise.     "The help to persecuted Jews has manifested a communion among this posterity of Abraham and a vision of the Promise.     "I acted with accomplices (accomplices they were because of the clandestine nature of the activities). First of all, my colleagues in the ministry. I still remember the doorbell ringing at the vicarage in the rue des Arts in Roubaix: `Are you Pastor Pasche?' the visitor asked. `Yes,' I replied. `I have been sent here by Pastor Henri Nick. I am an Israelite!' When this visitor entered my office, we first had a look at his particular situation. And then we had recourse to other bearers of the Promise, more colleagues and friends near the Swiss border: Montbéliard, Institut Glay, Pontarlier ... I find myself very honored to be associated with Pastor Henri Nick.     "Then there were accomplices in German uniforms, pastors of the Confessing Church, anti-Nazis, stationed in Lille. In his Memoirs, published in 1979, Carlo Schmid, the great man in the new government of the Federal Republic of Germany, writes, recalling the four years he spent in Lille: `The Reformed Church has acquired great merit by saving the lives of Jews. The risks that some of its ministers took to help the Jews to escape will always be a chapter of glory in the history of the Reformed Church of France. She has shown herself worthy of the motto of the `camisards' [insurgent Huguenots of the Cevennes after the edict of Nantes had been recalled, 1688] when their church was persecuted by the dragoons of the king of France: `To know to resist ...'     "More accomplices: I recall the names of the lady directors of the Ambroise-Paré clinic, Therese Matter and Eva Durrleman, then Léon Coghe and his wife, members of my congregation in Roubaix, and Miss Caudmont, bookkeeper at the Lyceum Fenelon in Lille who gave shelter to a Jewish pensioner without disclosing her identity to her superior.     "I had an accomplice who wore the habit of a nun: Sister Geneviève Gendron, of the Don Bosco order. Originally from Normandy, she was refined and maliciously intelligent at the same time, using her modest approach as a good sister to penetrate every stratum of society to find help from the most diverse personalities. After her talks with Jules Isaac, she founded the Jewish-Christian friendship group of Lille. She was commissioned by Cardinal Lienert to get in touch with the Protestant church. (To show her true ecumenism, Sister Geneviève attached a Star of David and a Huguenot cross to her crucifix, thus attracting the attention of many.) In Paris she met the papal envoy Angelo Roncalli. Later, during the discussion of Jewish matters at the Vatican II council, she traveled to Sotto il Monte near Bergamo in Italy, the home of Pope John XXIII, and established friendly contact with the family of the Pope. She sent to Rome by family courier her thoughts and suggestions, which were actually put on the agenda! I hold this sister in very high esteem, just like a mother. I wanted to give her honor right here, because her ministry was not understood by her colleagues at that time; she was expelled.     "I have mentioned only a few of my accomplices. But I keep with me the sentiment that I was encircled during the time of the occupation by a great many bearers of the Promise given to Abraham.     "I have witnessed with great joy the birth of the state of Israel in 1948. After the Shoah, it is a high-place of hope for mankind.     "In the communion of the descendents of Abraham who are partakers of the Promise, I salute you fraternally. Shalom le Israeli!" AFTER THE WAR     Five children were born to Marcel Pasche and his wife Mady; in 1950 the family returned to Switzerland, where a pastorate was vacant at Château-d'Oex. During the war, the father of another of Marcel's friends, Pastor Daniel Curtet, had been pastor there for a while.     It was in this tranquil mountain village that some of Daniel's remarkable Bible-coded letters written from war-torn central France had reached Pastor Curtet Senior. (See "The Bible-Coded Letters That Slipped Past the Censors.") The peaceful countryside was almost disconcertingly quiet for Marcel, though. He was soon looking for another, more challenging, assignment.     The late 1950s and early 1960s were marked by extensive construction of high dams in the Swiss Alps. Marcel and his family moved to Sion in the Valais where most of the building was going on. Hundreds if not thousands of foreigners of Italian, Spanish and other nationalities were brought in. Without them, the gigantic projects would not have been realized. Marcel Pasche became their pastor.     In this capacity, he was authorized to visit all areas of the huge construction sites at high altitudes to see the workers, but he did not leave unattended the families left down in the valleys, who were often in very dire circumstances. On several occasions he had to assist them when accidents happened, some of them with fatal consequences. Human failures or mechanical malfunctions could not be prevented in spite of strict safety measures and precautions. But nature, too, played its own dramatic role. Marcel was on duty when an avalanche broke loose from the glacier above the construction site of Mattmark in 1965, killing over eighty workers and engineers, burying them permanently under thousands of tons of ice.     In 1969 Marcel Pasche received a telephone call from Hans Schaffert. The two men had previously worked together when Marcel had invited Hans to come and assist him in his pastoral work in northern France at the end of the war. (See "The Protestant Pastor who Protected the `Property of God'".)     Now, 25 years later, Hans had been appointed secretary of the Assistance Office of the Reformed Church of Switzerland (EPER) in Zurich. The massive needs of Christians in the eastern European countries under Communist control made physical and spiritual aid a necessity. Marcel was commissioned to travel to Romania and Hungary in the 1970s, bringing desperately-needed help to the suffering people there. A relief journey to Czechoslovakia in 1978 marked the itinerant pastor's final trip.     But Marcel Pasche maintained his contacts with Christians behind the Iron Curtain. The fall of the ominous Berlin Wall in 1989, when Marcel happened to be present in the still-divided city, brought back memories to him of 1945 when another totalitarian system had come to its ignominious end. At the ripe old age of almost 90, Marcel Pasche still enjoys reminiscing about his dramatic experiences, all written down in a booklet entitled " Années de guerre et de fraternité" ("Years of war and brotherhood") , and subtitled " Sinister and luminous recollections of a pastor ". Copyright © 2001 Meir Wagner. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Marcel PascheArthur Schneeberger and Anne SchneebergerErnest ProdollietGertrud KurzPaul GruningerMaurice Dubois and Eleonore DuboisRosli NaefRenee FarnyGret ToblerSebastian SteigerAnne-Marie Im Hof-PiguetFred Reymond and Lilette ReymondMarcel JunodAugust BohnyFriedel Bohny-ReiterJeanne Berchmans (Marie Meienhofer)Rene BurkhardtHans SchaffertAlbert GrossMartha SchmidtRoland de Pury and Jacqueline de PuryKarl Kolb and Vladimir von SteigerDaniel CurtetPaul Calame-Rosset and May Calame-RossetRene NodotCarl Lutz and Gertrude Lutz and Peter ZurcherJean de BavierFriedrich BornHildegard GutzwillerWilliam Francken and Laure FranckenJean-Edouard Friedrich and Roland Marti and Pierre Descoeudres and Robert SchirmerEmile BarrasErnest WittwerGeorges DunandPaul DunantLouis HaefligerHarald FellerCharles-Jean BovetArthur Lavergnat and Jeanne Lavergnat
Introductionp. xi
Acknowledgementsp. xv
Unsung Heroes of the Holocaustp. xvii
Foreword: Federal Councilor Joseph Deissp. xix
National Councilor Francois Loebp. xxi
Statement by Herbert Herzp. xxiii
The Chairman of the International Committee of Yad Vashemp. xxv
Speech given by Yitzhak Mayerp. xxvii
Speech given by Andre von Moosp. xxxiii
Speech given by Federal Councilor Joseph Deissp. xxxvii
Preface: Dr. Herb Londonp. xxxix
List of the "Righteous Among the Nations" of Swiss Nationalityp. xl
Defenders of the Oppressed and Accomplices in Uniformp. 1
The Freedom-Giving Lady of Frankfurt Frieda Impekovenp. 17
"Whoever Saves One Soul..."p. 20
Unrelenting Struggle to Rescue the Innocentp. 23
The Mother of the Refugeesp. 30
The Police Captain with a Consciencep. 32
Standing Up to the Vichy Regimep. 57
The Loving Guardian of La Hille Castlep. 67
Masterminding the Escapep. 77
A Helping Hand to Freedomp. 85
The Man Who was More Than a Teacherp. 87
Over the Border Against the Lawp. 100
A Tireless Team on the Freedom Trailp. 109
The Third Combatantp. 114
Rallying a Town to Stand Up to the Oppressorp. 119
The Ingenious "Milk Churn" Rescue Operationp. 125
The Quick-thinking Nun of Sacre-Coeur Conventp. 130
Persona Non Gratap. 136
The Protestant Pastor who Protected the "Property of God"p. 137
"Children, Thank the Almighty, You Are Saved!"p. 141
Tata, the Toddlers' Guardian Angelp. 146
The Pastor and His Wife Who Never Said No to Refugeesp. 150
Navigating in Treacherous Watersp. 153
The Bible-Coded Letters That Slipped Past the Censorsp. 156
"An Angel With a Flaming Sword"p. 159
The Social Worker--and Passionate Secret Resistance Fighterp. 163
The Courageous Consul in Besieged Budapestp. 167
The Visionary Emissary of Hopep. 193
The Red Cross Official Who Knew No Fearp. 195
The Courageous Nun of the Sacred Heart Conventp. 205
The Good Samaritan's Summerhouse Refugep. 210
In the Devil's Lairp. 217
Triumphs and Tragedies in the Life of a Schlepperp. 223
Six Weeks in Jail, That Others Could Live Freep. 231
Not Taking "No" for an Answerp. 234
Volunteering for Theresienstadtp. 238
The Legendary Liberator of Mauthausenp. 240
The Secretary's Dual Rolep. 243
The Painstaking Priest Who Made Escape-Planning an Artp. 256
The Heroes of "No-Man's-Land"p. 258
Epiloguep. 263
Bibliographyp. 265
About the Authorp. 268

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