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Un simple maillon

"Un simple maillon est un rare message d’humanisme et d’humanité. Le film raconte à travers le témoignage d’Andrée Geulen, l’histoire des femmes du "Comité de Défense des Juifs" (CDJ) et la manière dont elles se sont organisées en Belgique occupée pour sauver des enfants. "Nous étions une douzaine de femmes... une douzaine de femmes, juives et non-juives, qui luttions contre la Gestapo. Je nous vois toujours comme cela. Les non-juives étant le plus souvent dans les trams, les trains et les endroits dangereux. La section-enfants du CDJ, créée en 1942, vaste réseau d’entraide et de faux-papiers pour faire face à la traque intensive des Juifs et permettre la survie clandestine et le sauvetage des enfants. En Belgique, près de trois mille enfants juifs pourront ainsi échapper à la déportation vers Auschwitz. "Il y a des années et des années que les enfants cachés dont je me suis occupée me demandent de raconter leur histoire.[...]"

Today I am one of the last ones still here. I don’t want this story to vanish into oblivion. I think the story of the tranquil courage of these women, who risked everything to save some children, must be told’. The story that is to be told here – the past to reconstruct – is part of the story of the Jewish Defence Committee that was created by Ghert Jospa, Maurice Heiber, and Chaim Perelman in 1942, shortly after the major raids began.
In setting up a vast network of mutual aid and forged documents in the fall of 1942, these three men did their utmost, until the end of the war, to counter the relentless hunt for Jews. Under their impetus, the JDC’s children’s section quickly became responsible for the survival in hiding and rescue of thousands of children.
In Belgium, close to three thousand Jewish children were thus saved from being deported to Auschwitz. Jospa, Heiber, and Perelman are no longer with us, nor are their wives and many other resistance fighters in this network (most of whom were women, for the JDC’s children’s section was made up primarily of women) who helped them in their fight against racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia. One woman who worked within the JDC is still alive and able to testify. She is Andrée Herscovici-Geulen. While she calls herself ‘just a link in a vast network’, her testimony, taken as a whole, is definitely most credible on a number of scores. Not only was she an active member of the JDC from March 1943 on, but she was also aware of and involved in all of its cogs.
She was in close touch with its leaders and kept considerable archives on its activity after the war. "Andrée" – for that was her Resistance name – is in a way the last living memory of the JDC. Today, at the age of 80, she remains active in the fight against intolerance, and her vision of current events in this connection is extremely lucid. Several films about the hidden children have already been made around. For example, about Belgium, there is Myriam Abramowicz and Esther Hoffenberg’s "Comme si c’était hier". None of them, on the other hand, tells the story of the women in the JDC from start to finish or how they organised, in a totally unprecedented fashion in Europe, to save the children.[...]