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Town clerk meets boy she saved, 74 years on

Former town clerk did not realise she was going to be reunited with Jewish boy she helped rescue

9 April 2017
Gérard and Christiane meet after 74 years. Credit: Francetvpluzz
By Poppy Jacob

In 1943, a newlywed couple escaped Alsace and took refuge in Montluçon, before giving birth to a boy. Being Jewish it was impossible to declare this birth, the risk was too high. So the Resistance sent the couple and child to Montaigut where a town clerk along with the mayor at the time, a doctor, created false papers and hid the family thus saving the mother, father and child from deportation. 

Christiane Méténier-Schmerber, now 95, is the former town clerk and had quite a homecoming when she returned to her birth place of Montaigut in Combraille to attend the inauguration of l'espace Christiane Méténier-Schmerber. She was honoured but what she did not expect was to meet 74-year-old Gérard Lips, the son of the family she helped to hide.

Until recently Gérard did not know who Christiane was — his family had never told him about his past.

It was highly emotional as they met each other for the first time after 74 years.

Mrs Schmerber was a member of the Resistance and was deported to Ravensbrück for making fake ID cards, hiding and feeding Jewish refugees.

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