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Jewish Resistance Fighter, Georges Loinger, is born, 1910

On This Day in Jewish History: August 29, 1910.

Georges Loinger was born on this day in 1910 in Strasbourg, France. His exploits during World War II read like a Hollywood script. At the age of fifteen he joined the Hatikvah Zionist youth movement but his commitment to the Jewish People, the Jews of Europe in particular, changed forever with the German occupation of France in May 1940. France was divided into two zones—the North Zone of Occupation, which was placed under the rule of the German military, and the South Free Zone, although free hardly describes life under the control of the Vichy Government. In November, 1942, the Occupation under direct German rule was expanded, swallowing up the Free Zone and throughout France, conditions for the Jews, foreign and French, worsened. As early as Spring, 1942, Jews were deported to the death camps of Eastern Europe from detention camps in the North Zone and later, from camps in the South as well. Throughout 1942, the Germans were assisted by French police and officials of the Vichy Government.

The Resistance movement, or French underground, had been formed in 1940 but the deportations and the widespread public outrage over them, helped fuel the movement to expand its operations. Initially, it provided aid such as food distribution, financial assistance and medical clinics. Within the Resistance movement, which drew great support from the Communists, there emerged a Jewish Army that joined the fight in 1943 and employed guerrilla tactics to save Jews and sabotage German war efforts and infrastructure.

Georges Loinger had taken up arms against the Nazis at the outset of the war and became a German prisoner in 1940. But he escaped his German captors and joined the Resistance. During the next several years he contributed to the escape of approximately 350 Jewish children, frequently under the guise of organizing sporting activities near the order with Switzerland to which he would then direct youths playing soccer. For his efforts helping Jewish children escape almost certain death in Nazi camps, Loinger was honored in his hometown of Strasbourg, awarded the Croix de Guerre in France and the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2013, at the age of 103, he was welcomed to Israel by Shimon Peres. Georges Loinger died in Paris in 2018 at the age of 108. His remarkable actions, and those of his comrades in the Resistance, live on in the families of those he rescued.





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