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News

“Light of Remembrance” for Serge Klarsfeld

ps
15-05-2017

Director Piotr M. A. Cywiński presented Serge Klarsfeld the highest award of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial “Light of Remembrance”, during the conference in Izieu dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the trial of the Lyon Gestapo Chief, Klaus Barbie.

 

Serge Klarsfeld, a historian and lawyer born in 1935 in Bucharest, survived the Holocaust as a child in France whereas his father was murdered in Auschwitz. After the war, he became one of the major pillars of memory of the Jewish victims from France. As an astute researcher, he created and published a monumental list of about eleven thousand Jewish children who were deported to German Nazi death camps. For several years, he has hunted the murderers who went into hidding in Europe, Africa and South America. Among others, he found the Gestapo Officer, Klaus Barbie, saw to his extradiction from Bolivia and trial in France. Serge Klarsfeld is also the author or co-author of several books, exibitions and educational events. Today, he is the president of the Association of Sons and Daughters of Jews Deported from France, vice-president Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah (Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah), as well as a member of the International Auschwitz Council and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation Council.

During the second world war, forty four Jewish children from various countries of Europe were hidden in a summer camp facility managed by a French couple. On 6 April 1994, Klaus Barbie and his subordinate Gestapo officers found the children, who were later deported to Auschwitz, and murdered in the gas chambers. In 1994, the President of France François Mitterrand opened a place of remembrance and education site “Maison d’Izieu” in the house where the children lived as a dedication to their memory. Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński is a member of the board of Maison d’Izieu since 2011.

The conference was attended by experts in education, memory, and Holocaust history from France and many other European countries. The Polish Consul General in Lyon, Joanna Kozińska-Frybes also participated in the conference. Record of the conference is available on the Internet at: http://www.memorializieu.eu

“Light of Remembrance” is awarded to the most-deserving persons for education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust. So far, this award has been presented to Professor Władysław Bartoszewski, Krystyna Oleksy i Avner Shalev.