Oral History

Hanne Hirsch Liebmann describes a Children's Aid Society (OSE) visit and life in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon

Hanne's family owned a photographic studio. In October 1940, she and other family members were deported to the Gurs camp in southern France. In September 1941, the Children's Aid Society (OSE) rescued Hanne and she hid in a children's home in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon. Her mother perished in Auschwitz. In 1943, Hanne obtained false papers and crossed into Switzerland. She married in Geneva in 1945 and had a daughter in 1946. In 1948, she arrived in the United States.


A social worker from the OSE [Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants] came to see my mother and explained that there was a village...uh...Le Chambon...who was looking to help young people, to take them out of the camp and would she agree to let me go. And my mother asked me whether I would want to go, and I said, "Of course." And she never said "but I will miss you. I don't want to go...you to go" or anything like that. She let me go. She loved me enough to let me go. Because there were parents who did not. You're looking at me. Yes. There were parents who did not let their children go. As incredible as it sounds, they held on. My mother let me go, and...uh...together with six other young people, teenagers, we set off beginning of September 1941 to go to Le Chambon. And Le Chambon was, of course, heaven. We were free. We lived in a home, primitive as it was, it still was a house. Uh...the food, of course was much better. In fact, in the beginning we couldn't eat all the bread that we got. Not that it was such tremendous amount of bread, but it was more than we could eat. And so we would toast it very, very hard and make little packages and send it back to camp because our constant worry was what was going on in camp. So we would make, all of us, little packages and send them.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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