The 1940's will forever remain a significant period in French history. It was during this time that World War II occurred and Germany managed to take over three-fifths of mainland France. The remaining land became known as Vichy France. With such a strong a German presence and influence, even in Vichy France, all of France's Jewish community was forced into hiding, to escape deportation and execution. The biography, Your Name is Renee: Ruth Kapp Hartz's Story as a Hidden Child in Nazi-Occupied France, by Stacy Cretzmeyer, is the story of a Jewish family who escaped from occupied France to Vichy France and managed to hide and escape deportation for the duration of the war.
[...] Through the biography Your Name is Renee: Ruth Kapp Hartz's Story as Hidden Child in Nazi Occupied France, we are able to see and understand how the need to uphold moral values could have been a motivating factor in the Resistance. Many members of the Resistance did not know why they did what they did. For this reason I believe morals motivated them to act. To stand by and watch innocent people be persecuted is just as immoral as participating in the persecution. [...]
[...] To know that Vichy government played a huge role in the deportation of Jews in France, yet the Kapp family still managed to survive, makes the Kapp story a truly remarkable and exceptional one. It is remarkable how the family managed to hide for the duration of the war barely avoiding capture many times. It is exceptional because many Jewish families were not fortunate enough to have the entire immediate family avoid capture or deportation. This is proven towards the end of the biography when Ruth notices there are no other families on the train heading to Paris. [...]
[...] By taking in Ruth and other Jewish children, she was risking her life as well as the lives of the other children and nuns because it was known that German forces bombed religious institutions that provided assistance to Jewish people. Another good example of this risk is seen with the Valat family. They would often hide the Kapp family, as well as other Jewish people, in their cellar or secret room. By doing this they were endangering their lives and possibly the lives of the friends and neighbors. [...]
[...] This is said in the “Afterword” of the biography by Ruth Kapp herself. This aspect is ironic in two ways. First off it would seem more logical for people in occupied France to be more active in the Resistance since they are suffering more from German occupation. Secondly many people in Vichy France really did not understand what it meant to be Jewish or why Hitler wanted to “cleanse” Europe of them. This is shown through a conversation between Henri Valat and Benno. [...]
[...] Besides luck, this great fortune can be attributed to the numerous Resistance members, who helped the Kapp family while in hiding. All throughout the story, the Kapp family encounter various Resistance members. From the man who warned them to leave Toulouse to the Valat family. All those people had the same basic characteristics, the desire to help through sacrifice even if it meant risking their own safety. As time passed and the consequences became harsher, these people were risking their own lives and the lives of those around them. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee