Oral History

Simone Weil Lipman describes helping children as an OSE worker in Rivesaltes

When Simone was three her family moved to Strasbourg, where her father bred sheep. Simone and her brother were active in Jewish scouting. In 1940, she worked as a teacher in Paris. The Germans invaded western Europe in May 1940. Simone and her family fled German-occupied France for the unoccupied southern zone. There Simone worked at an internment camp for foreign-born Jews. She tried to provide forged documents in an attempt to save lives. Later, Simone assumed a false name and joined the Children's Aid Society (OSE) to rescue Jewish children.


But the particular purpose for my going to Rivesaltes was to take care of the children. Not so much the administrative work to which I'm going to come a little bit later. Oh, I did food rationing this...food ration distribution, but I took care of the children. I remember the first Saturday afternoon, Shabbat afternoon. We gathered...I had two hundred and eighty kids for one Oneg Shabbat. I mean, trying to do something in one...one big barrack. But there were wonderful people among the internees. There were some people who...whose moral fiber was just such that they wanted to do something for the others. So there were teachers, there were rabbis, there were...people, who...who lent a hand. And we tried to provide whatever we could, and...with nothing. Singing, dancing, whatever we could.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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