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The Just of France enter the Pantheon



The names of our confrères in the wall of the Just

13/04/2007: France

It is written in letters of stone on the front wall of the Pantheon: “To great men, the grateful homeland.” The Just of France, who contributed to the rescue of numerous Jews at the worst moment of the night of consciousness, deserves this recognition of the Homeland.

On the 18th January, by unveiling a plaque in the crypt of the Pantheon, the President of the Republic gave them their legitimate place with the great men of our country. This tribute, highlighted by the installation of photos and films produced by Agnès Varda, follows by a few months the inauguration of the Wall of the Just, on the 14th June 2006, at the memorial of Shoah (17 r. Geoffroy l’Asnier, Paris 4°). On this wall are engraved the names of 2646 “Just” from France who saved Jews during the Second World War. We read there the names of our confrères: André BAGNY (Brother Louis), l’Arbresle; Brother François ANGYAL, Budapest; Brother Jean Baptiste BONETBELTZ, Budapest; Brother Bernard CLERC, Budapest; Alexandre HEGEDUS (Brother Joseph), Budapest; Brother Albert PFLEGER, Budapest; Brother Louis PRUCSER, Budapest, Ferdinand FISCHER, Budapest et Ladislas PINGICZER, Budapest. These names are also found in the Garden of the Just, at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
This information is taken from the small volume “France honours its just” which has just appeared.

The text of the plaque in honour of the Just: “Under the cope of hatred and of night fallen on France in the years of occupation, some lights, in their thousands, refused to be extinguished. Named Just among the Nations or remaining anonymous, women and men of all origins and of all conditions saved Jews from anti-Semitic persecutions and extermination camps. Braving incurred risks, they incarnated the honour of France, its values of justice, of tolerance and of humanity.”

Mrs Simone Veil, whose family underwent so many trials, could, better than anyone, measure the courage of those who were against the situation: “The Just are not men and women by chance, even it is sometimes only necessary for one meeting, one circumstance to precipitate destiny.

What they have in common, is this part of humanity, this part of madness even faced with danger, that ensures that nothing resists the call of the other, neither interest, nor fear, nor selfishness. By sheltering children in their houses or in their farms, by opening their churches or their convents to entire families, by organising escapes from internment camps (…), these citizens saved thousands of Jews.” 14th June 2006

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