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Andrée Geulen, Savior of Jewish Children in Wartime, Dies at 100

Joseph Berger

NY Times, June 7, 2022

“Describing the separations in her testimony recounted in the Queens College exhibition, Ms. Geulen spoke of how hard it was “to tear a child away from his mother and not tell her where we were taking him, and to have her cry and cry, ‘Tell me at least, only tell me, where you’re going to take him?’”

Andrée Geulen was a young Belgian teacher at an all-girls boarding school in Brussels in the 1940s when her Jewish students were told that they had to wear uniforms with yellow stars sewn onto them — an antisemitic decree by the occupying Germans to identify and isolate Jews. The students were so humiliated, they clutched notebooks against their chests to hide the stars.

In response, Ms. Geulen, in a show of solidarity, had all the girls in the class — Jews and non-Jews alike — put aprons on over their uniforms.

A few weeks later, she noticed that some of the Jewish students were no longer showing up for school. She soon learned why: They and their families had been rounded up by the Gestapo and sent to a camp in Mechelen, northeast of Brussels — a way station on the road to dreaded Auschwitz.

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