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QR Vic-le-Comte – Bourg 2

Henry and Simone Blum

Fleeing Paris and the anti-Semitic persecution by the Nazi occupation, Henri Blum, his wife Simone and their two children Pierre and Francine took refuge in Vic-le-Comte in 1941. The Blum family settled in this small house on Place Saint-Jean.
In July 1942, Henry Blum was hired as an accountant in Clermont-Ferrand while Simone offered piano lessons and their children attended primary school. The Blum family settled into life in the small town. The 14th of July was an important occasion for the family to reflect on the values of the Republic. On Bastille Day, Simone would place a tricolour cockade on the children.
However, Henry and Simone knew that the anti-Semitic Vichy regime was dangerous for the Jewish People. So Henri took on a false identity when he went to work. On 11 November 1942, the Germans invaded the southern zone, entering towns like Vic-le-Comte. The troops of the Third Reich, supported by the militia, started making arrests, including Henry’s brother, his uncle, his aunt and his 84-year-old father, who were all deported between 1943 and 1944.
On 13 June 1944, somebody informed on Henry Blum and he was arrested at work. He was detained at the 92nd infantry regiment in Clermont-Ferrand, which was being used as a Gestapo prison. On 17 June, Simone and her sister Gisèle were also arrested. On 15 July, they were transferred to the Drancy internment camp, an assembly and detention camp used for the deportation of all Jews from France.
The orphaned children, Pierre and Francine, were taken in by a family in Vic-le-Comte and then taken into the care of the Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants. They were brought up by their aunt.
The names of Henry Blum, Simone Blum and Gisèle Moyse are engraved on the town’s war memorial in Vic-le-Comte. They are also engraved on the Wall of Names at the Shoah Memorial in Paris, which bears the names of the 76,000 Jews deported from France.
Everyone must learn from this abomination. It was this profound belief that led the town of Vic-le-Comte to include the story of the Blum family in its heritage trail.

Image captions

  • Simone Blum and her children in front of their house on 14 July
  • A section of the list of deportees from convoy 77
  • Madame Boyer and the children
  • Vic-le-Comte war memorial

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