Escaped Jewish prisoners of Morcourt
by Franck d'Almeida – (Zolty) 18/06/2012
JACQUELINE MESNIL-AMAR 1909 – 1987
PHOTO OF RENE SAMUEL KAPEL
The escape of fifteen Jewish Resistants in Morcourt (Aisne), told by Mrs Jacqueline Mesnil-Amar (from the family of the Captain Alfred Dreyfus)..
The 20th century and its horrors has been largely described, however we would like to highlight the successful escape of fifteen Jewish Resistants in Morcourt (Aisne) on the 21st of August 1944. Mrs Jacqueline Mesnil-Amar tells their epopees in her book “Ceux qui ne dormaient pas” prefaced by Mister Pierre Assouline and evokes her husband André Amar. Rabbi Samuel René Kape, which would become Ambassador of Israel in Guatemala, was also present in the convoy (Source: Memorial of the Deportation of the Jews of France by Sir Serge Klarsfeld).
It is precisely in the village of Morcourt that Captain Alfred Dreyfus and his mother-in-law, Louise Hadamard, made their contribution to the rebuilding of the village of Morcourt (Aisne) in 1919 (Source: Alfred Dreyfus – Officer in 1914-18 by Georges Joumas Docteur in Modern history). The sister-in-law of Mrs Jacqueline Mesnil–Amar (Suzie Amar) was arrested for acts of resistance and imprisoned in Turin in 1943. Suzie Amar, the wife of Emmanuel Amar, born Suzanne Reinach, is the grand-daughter of Mathieu Dreyfus (brother of the Captain Dreyfus). Suzie Amar will be a Shoah survivor contrary to her husband, Emmanuel Amar (the younger brother of André Amar who was arrested in Lyon during a raid, was interned in January 1944 in Drancy then sent to a camp of High Silesia in February 1944 where he died in April 1944). Mathieu Dreyfus was married to Suzanne Marguerite Schwob (daughter of the industrialist Schwob d'Hércourt). It is only in 1998 that the Schwob d'Héricourt family was able to retrieve a painting by Léonard Foujita, (French painter of Japanese origin resting in Reims), “Deux femmes nues”, from which they had been dispoiled of.
Mrs Jacqueline Mesnil–Amar (1909 – 1987) belonged to an old integrated Jewish family; during the oppression she discovers her Judaism. André Amar, the husband of Jacqueline Mesnil-Amar, student at the École normale and philosopher, was the son of the Salonician banker Saül Amar. André Amar had engaged in the Jewish Combat Organization (OJC), of which he was the Parisian section head. Jacqueline Mesnil–Amar recalls the little girls of that time, the little Kahn, Weil, or Dreyfus (from the Jewish financial sector or from the Stock Exchange of the XVI District), these little girls from the well off districts thought that they would live here forever… in spite of powerful friendships, Marcel Bloch, the plane manufacturer (distant cousin of Jacqueline Mesnil-Amar mother) will be deported.
Among them (Convoy #79 of 17th of August 1944), fifteen were able to saw the bars of the skylight and jumped off the train in Morcourt (Village close to Saint-Quentin in Picardy). Under the rain, they escaped between midnight and one AM. From the 21st August 1944, in small groups, without money and identity papers, they miraculously walked to Paris, the very morning of Liberation: They were free and alive.
by Franck d'Almeida – (Zolty)