Izieu, France - Deportation of Children to Auschwitz


Teletype Message from Klaus Barbie regarding the deportation from Izieu Children's Home

In the spring of 1944, more than forty French, Belgium, German, Austrian and Polish orphans, whose parents had been deported from France had found refuge in the Izieu children's home, which is located between the cities of Lyon and Chambery, in France. Following the order given by Klaus Barbie, whose duties at the office of the Kommandant of the Sicherheitspolizei and the SD in Lyon included 'Jewish Affairs. the children's home was cleared out in early April 1944. The raiding squad arrested forty-four children from the ages of three to thirteen and seven supervisors. In the teletype message he reported their arrest and transport to the Drancy internment camp on April 7, 1944.

At the Referat IVB in Paris the subsequent fate of these children spawned arguments. A handwritten note on Barbie's teletype message revealed that 'this matter was discussed in the presence of Dr. Kurt von Behr, a member of Alfred Rosenberg's staff in Paris and Hauptsturmfuhrer Alois Brunner. Dr. von Behr pointed out that for such situations Dr. Heinz Rothke (the head of Eichmann;s office in Paris) had worked out 'special provisions for housing these children.' Brunner objected stridently to such an arrangement. He knew nothing about such orders or plans and on principle would not brook any exceptions to sending Jewish prisoners to Drancy. Brunner made it abundantly clear that in this case too, he would proceed according to his established practices in matters of expulsion.

So the forty-four children and their seven attendants were taken to Drancy and subsequently deported east to Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Upper Silesia. Thirty-four children and three attendants, together with circa 1,500 other deportees (among the latter the then sixteen-year-old Simone Veil) were deported on Transport 71 on April 13, 1944. The other children and their attendants followed on a later transport. During the night of April 16, 1944, immediately upon their arrival in Auschwitz-Birkenau, all thirty-four children and three adults were murdered in the gas chambers in Birkenau. Out of the two transports only twenty-seven year old Lea Feldblum, one of the teachers from Izieu children's home was selected for slave labour and survived the Holocaust.


Hans Safrian, Eichmann's Men, Cambridge University Press, 2010

Image - Holocaust Historical Society

Holocaust Historical Society, February 28, 2020