Yves Oppert

Yves Oppert

Born: May 25, 1909

Paris, France

Yves' mother died when he was 7, and he grew up in the home of his grandfather, who was the chief Ashkenazi rabbi of Paris. Yves became a successful businessman, owning a chain of department stores. He was an avid mountain climber and liked to play tennis and to race cars and motorcycles. As a young man, Yves did his military service in France's alpine corps.

1933-39: In 1934 Yves married Paulette Weill, and the couple had two daughters, Nadine in 1935 and Francelyn in 1939. He was called up by the French army and served for five months as a lieutenant when war threatened to break out in 1938 during the crisis over Czechoslovakia. Yves was mobilized again when France declared war on Germany in September of 1939.

1940-44: Yves was captured during the German invasion of France. He escaped, but stayed in France to fight. Making use of his store inventory in Saint-Etienne, he organized a quartermaster corps in unoccupied Vichy France that issued food, blankets, tents and clothing to the Free French Resistance. He helped hide Jewish children in convents and farms, and to hide Canadian and American paratroopers. Yves headed the resistance in Savoy. After the Allies landed in France in 1944, he was captured by the Germans.

Yves was tortured and killed in Etercy on June 24, 1944. He was 35 years old. He was posthumously awarded France's War Cross, Military Medal and Legion of Honor.

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