Yad Vashem held a ceremony posthumously honoring Jeanne Albouy as Righteous Among the Nations from France. Mr. Serge Marignan, grandson of Jeanne, accepted the medal and certificate of honor on her behalf.
The event took place in the presence of Ambassador of France to Israel H.E. Mr. Christoph Bigot, survivor Claire Kohlman and Serge Marignan grandson of the Righteous, family and friends.
The Rescue Story
After WWI, Wilhelm Wulwek left Poland and settled in Vienna where he married Mélanie Heller, also originally from Poland. In 1934 they had a son, Victor, and in 1938 a daughter, Claire. After Claire was born, the family moved to Paris. In 1940, Wilhelm, who was a foreign national, was arrested. After his release, the family decided to move to Calvisson in the Gard district in southern France. There, Wilhelm met Jeanne Albouy. Jeanne's husband was a prisoner of war in Germany, and she lived in the town together with her daughter Lucette. Jeanne searched for a safe hiding place for the Wulwek family, and suggested that they hide in her cousin's empty home in the small village of Sinsans. Wilhelm, Mélanie, Victor and Claire, moved to the house in Sinsans. Later Mélanie's brother, Julius Heller joined them in the hideout. Wilhelm worked in agriculture and the children registered in the local school.
Southern France was occupied in 1942, and the Wulwek family was in constant danger. When arrests occurred in the adjacent village, Wilhelm and Mélanie would hide in the nearby forest and Victor and Claire would hide at Jeanne's home, where they pretended to be her relatives. The Wulweks lived in fear and hiding for two years, until liberation.
At the end of the war, the family returned to Paris, but remained in close contact with the Albouys, returning to visit Sinsans during summer vacations. When Claire immigrated to Israel in 1960, she remained in touch with Lucette, who during the Persian Gulf War, concerned for Claire's safety, suggested that Claire return to Sinsans until the danger passed.
A small child during the war, Claire did not remember all the details of her family's survival during those horrific years, but during all the following years, she kept a small photograph of herself together with Victor and Lucette. On the back of the picture, Wilhelm had written "To her we owe our lives."
Jeanne passed away in 1979. On February 14, 2012, the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem decided to award the title of Righteous Among the Nations to the late Jeanne Albouy.