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“What’s that?” Wednesday – Week 12

In 1943, Oscar Rosowsky, a twenty-year old Jewish refuge from Germany, arrived on the Plateau Vivarais Lignon in

Portrait of Oscar Rosowsky

Portrait of Oscar Rosowsky

Southern France in search of shelter. Born in Berlin in 1923, Oscar resettled with his family in Nice, France after Hitler’s rise in 1933.

Once under the Vichy Regime, France imposed anti-Jewish laws and Oscar was not allowed to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor. Instead he worked in repairing typewriters and printing machines.

At Le Chambon, Oscars familiarity with printing machines helped him save innumerable Jewish lives by producing hundreds of counterfeit documents. Oscar made upwards of fifty fake identity cards per week, hiding his tools in beehives that belonged to the family who sheltered him on the Plateau.  He created his own fake ID and changed his name to “Jean-Claude Plunne” to sound more French.  He also made extra “plausibility papers,” so that in the event of an identity check, there were a number of papers with the fake name on them.

When the war was over, Oscar went back to school and fulfilled his dream of becoming a doctor. Later he went on to become the president of the General Medical Council of France. Oscar died in 2014 at his home in Paris, France.