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What’s that Wednesday? Week 11

The report card shown above belonged to a young Jewish refugee, Rudi Appel who was hidden in Le Chambon during the Holocaust.

Portrait of Rudi Appel

Portrait of Rudi Appel during the war.

Rudi was born on May 13th, 1925 in Mannheim, Germany. At the start of the war, Rudi fled to the Netherlands while his mother fled to Belgium. Rudi eventually was smuggled to Belgium where he stayed with his mother and later, the two fled to northern France that was completely occupied by the Nazis.

Rudi and his mother attempted to cross the demarcation line in order to get on a boat to the United States from Marseille but were arrested and sent to concentration camps in southern France. Rudi was sent to Rivesaltes and his mother was sent to Les Milles. Rudi was then taken to Le Chambon by the Secours Suisse in August 1942 where he stayed until he reunited with his mother until the end of the war.

While in hiding on the Plateau, Rudi, like most children, attended school at the École Nouvelle Cévenole that was founded by Pastors Trocmé and Theis. Despite being refugees in Le Chambon, there were often moments of levity and an effort to keep things as normal as they could be considering the deprivations of war.

Rudy Appel died on September 18th, 2016 at the age of 91.