Heroine’s diary goes on Twitter

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 13, 2013

The secret diary of a college lecturer who helped in the operation smuggling Jewish children out of Nazi-occupied France is being published on Twitter.

For 40 years, Madeleine Blaess kept tight-lipped about her time as a student trapped in wartime Paris.

But Blaess, who became a lecturer in French at Sheffield University after the war, kept a diary describing her experiences. After her death in 2003 it lay forgotten in the university archives until academic Dr Wendy Michallat discovered it. Now Dr Michallat is tweeting entries every day in a bid to raise awareness of Blaess’s work.

The diary reveals her links to the Union générale des israélites de France, which saved hundreds of Jewish children from deportation to concentration camps. It also details her close friendship with Jewish resistance fighter Hélène Berr, who was murdered in Bergen-Belsen.

Dr Michallat said: “Certainly Madeleine was involved in the resistance. She taught English to the women forging documents to help smuggle people out of Paris. The diary has detail about everyday life in the city — the horrific repression and persecution.”

Last updated: 10:45pm, June 13 2013