A story like no other: the couple who saved 527 Jewish children ...

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A story like no other: the couple who saved 527 Jewish children from death

While researching I uncovered Odette and Moussa Abadi's remarkable act of heroism, and wove it into my new book

Emma Donoghue

I googled “Holocaust Nice”. I wanted the protagonist of my novel – a 79-year-old New Yorker investigating his roots – to go back to that Mediterranean city to find out how his mother had spent the années noires of World War 2 (the dark years, as the French call them). I was looking for Resistance activity with which a Catholic woman could plausibly have been involved.

I tried again: “Holocaust Nice Riviera France children.” That’s when I found a reference to “Moussa and Odette Abadi, who created the Réseau Marcel (Marcel Network) in Nice. They saved 527 children from deportation.”

How on Earth had the Abadis worked this miracle? By bravery, I found out, but also by strategy and improvisation; by being persuasive enough to enlist others in their most righteous of causes...

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