A French resistance heroine deported to Ravensbruck who supplied fake papers to Jewish families died at 103 after sharing her testimony with hundreds of children.
Survivor Yvette Lundy died on Sunday in the northern town of Epernay, local authorities told AFP.
In a Facebook post, Epernay Mayor Franck Leroy wrote of his “infinite sadness” learning of Lundy’s death. “In Epernay, she was our great lady, this personality so endearing, so benevolent, so radiant,” he wrote.
The ex-school-teacher was made a Grand Officer of France’s Legion of Honour in 2017 – the country’s highest order of merit.
While serving as secretary to the mayor near Epernay, she joined the resistance network code-named Possum. Forging identity documents from 1940, she helped save Jewish families and others fleeing Nazi persecution, hidden at her brother Georges’ farm.
She was arrested in 1944 at the age of 28 while teaching a class and deported to the Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany and later transferred to Buchenwald.
“The body is naked, and the brain is in tatters: you are like a hole, an empty hole, and you look around you and it’s further emptiness,” she later recounted in an interview with AFP, describing the humiliation of being forced to undress in front of SS officers.
After Lundy’s liberation by Soviet forces in April 1945, she remained silent about her experiences until 1959. For nearly 60 years, she continued to share her testimony in schools up and down the country.
Her brother Georges died at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945, while her sister and brother Berthe and Lucien survived after being imprisoned in Germany and deported to Auschwitz respectively.