Suzanne Spaak

Suzanne was born into a wealthy Belgian banking family around 1905. She married a dramatist by the name of Claude Spaak, an important statesman. Suzanne lived in Paris, France with Claude and their two children until the invasion of France in World War II. She quickly became angered at the Nazi oppression and racial intolerance and joined the National Movement Against Racism (NMCR). She was met with doubt from many male members of the French Resistance who were unsure of how long she would last under difficult conditions. At first she did menial jobs such as distributing pamphlets, typing, and shopping for various goods. Suzanne often wandered the streets, asking physicians if they would take in sick and injured Jews. She got support for her work by using her influence as an upper class Parisian member of French society.

Suzanne joined the Red Orchestra, a communist-funded intelligence network, founded by a Polish Jew. The Orchestra collected information from Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland (neutral). She worked diligently to save the lives of as many Jewish children who ran the risk of being deported to concentration camps, scattered across Western Europe. At a risk to herself and her family, Suzanne hid some of the children in her own house, feeding and clothing them. In 1942 in Belgium, the Nazis arrested more than 600 members of the Red Orchestra, one of which was Suzanne Spaak. She was sent to Fresnes prison in 1942 where she was held in horrific conditions and tortured. She was killed on August 12th, 1944.

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