Monday, November 10, 2008

Helene Berr

The war-time diaries of a young French girl are being published.

Helene Berr was a young Jewish girl, living in Paris at the time of the German occupation, during World War II.

She kept a journal of her time in Paris until her capture and imprisonment. Although she and her family could have escaped and thus saved their own lives, they chose to remain behind and assist in the escape of young Jewish children.

The Telegraph has a three page article:
"She began writing in April 1942, when she was 21 and life was still relatively good for prosperous professionals like the Berrs.

But their initial belief that they would be protected by their centuries of Frenchness was pitifully eroded - first as they were forced to wear the yellow star, then as friends and colleagues were rounded up and stories filtered back of death and degradation.

They were arrested and deported to Auschwitz on her 23rd birthday, March 27. Antoinette Berr was gassed and her husband, Raymond, an inspiration to the other internees, was poisoned.

Hélène survived the death march from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen. Sick with typhus, she was beaten to death because she was too weak to get up from her bunk for reveille."

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