In Memoriam Jacqueline
Traduit par Carole Lehmacher
Jacqueline Lévy-Geneste left us on Saturday,
June 13th 2009 at 8 pm, soothe, in the Jeanne
Garnier's Medical House,
20 days before her birthday, on July the 3rd.
She has rejoined her husband in Dordogne, Pierre
Geneste, author of a magnificent book on,
THE ARAGONESE CAPTAIN-POET JERÓNIMO DE URRUEA : HIS LIFE ANS HIS WORK
Chivalry and Renaissance in spain of the XVIth Century
At first trainee, under supervision of Serge Leibovici,
then with Françoise Dolto, Jacqueline was
named psychoanalyst with tenure at the Société
Psychanalytique de Paris [SPP / Institut / http://www.spp.asso.fr] as of the
end of the 50s.
At this time, she transferred the office she provided
at the OSE (Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants),
to dedicate herself to her profession as a psychoanalyst
within the SPP, with her private practice, and
at the Center of Information and Orientation of
the Juvenile Court, Arbre-Sec Street in Paris.
Here is the beautiful tribute to Jacqueline Lévy-Geneste’s
path - preceding these 50’s - given by Katy
Hazan, historian and author of,
the jewish children thanks to the houses of the
during the ceremony presided by the Rabbi Fahri at Jeanne
Garnier's House. The reader will also find it
one the website of the OSE,
Tribute to Jacqueline Lévy-Geneste
I met Jacqueline in 1994, contact was made by Vivette Samuel. I had just
interviewed the Director of the first children’s
home of the OSE for the little ones that had opened
in 1945. And I fell at once under her charm.
With her clear and sweet voice, she
revives « the little World »
of Bellevue in Meudon she was so proud of. She had designed it all - up to
the furniture and washbasins - for these children
aged between 3 to 6 years old, who were without
relatives but whom she had taken under her wing.
She knew them all : Maxime, the wild child, whose mother was interned,
Rosette who fled her mummy, René whose
father was blind.
She applied the methods of Maria Montessori learned at Miss BRANDT’s
school, and had in turn imagined a kindergarten
school integrated into the house. On Fridays evenings
for Shabbat, a very large semicircle iron table
gathered everybody: she took beside her, in turn,
for the week, the child who asked for it.
Only last year did she tell me about her role during the war. My deepest
regret is not to have filmed her. But would she
have accepted ? Considering her great modesty,
I believe not. A young
(EI), native of Strasbourg, she was the cubmistress
of Lilianne Klein-Lieber and many other young
people who played a role in the rescue of the
She was in Blois in May 1940, and as the Germans threatened to blow up
the bridge she couldn’t do her high school
diploma. Like many others, she took refuge in
Limoges and, as Niny, was attending the kindergarten
school of Miss BRANDT, who was herself a refugee
in Strasbourg, Limoges and then Vichy. That second
year, Mrs FIELD of the Unitarian Service Committee
recruited someone to take care of the Spanish
children of Rivesaltes' internment camp.
Jacqueline accepted and became a voluntary assistant. She organized a kindergarten
and some came to serenade her, for her alone,
under the windows of the shed where she ate with
the OSE people. She was acquainted with Dora Wertzberg,
Simone Weil-Lipman and above all with Andrée
In November 1942, there will be no more children in camp, neither Spanish
nor Jews. She offered her services to the OSE.
Andrée Salomon proposed her to look after
a group of teenagers from a house under surveillance
at Eaubonne, in the Eastern Pyrenees. On Christmas
day, the Gestapo arrived to search for a German
Communist. She presented her papers with the Jewish
stamp. They promised to return the next day, she
didn’t await them! She left to Solignac
(Dordogne), obtained true false paper under the
name of Jacqueline Leroy. She then supervised
other teenagers in the “maison des Lutins”
At the end of 1943, at the request of the OSE, she went back to Paris to
escort Jewish children to the Castel of la Guette,
which was turned into a national rescue house.
In that group was Marcel Mangel, mime Marceau.
Together with the executives of the OSE, she is among those who found Georges
Garel in Lyon at the liberation in September 1944.
Everything was to be rebuilt. She is asked for a report on the child’s
needs. It is the adventure of Bellevue. She becomes
in 1949 General Inspector of the children centers.
Her work at the OSE stopped in the 50’s
for another life.
Joseph Weill will dedicate her a book in November 1944. Jacqueline, blushing,
showed it to me : « In memory of
her admirable presentation that makes any ill-bred
child - who are each adult - regret not having
begun his life in her garden ».
This garden, this love of life and of children, Dear Jacqueline, that’s
what we have inherited and makes us richer.
Katy Hazan, Historian
The readers can get the book of Katy
Hazan at the OSE, by calling +33 1 53 38 20 09.