On May 5th at Palais des Rois Sardes in Nice, Alain Frère presented Charles Gottlieb with the insignia of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques for his memory trips.
The ceremony was attended by Mr. Christian Estrosi, Mayor of Nice and President of Nice Côte d’Azur Métropole, Eric Ciotti President of the Council of the Alpes-Maritimeq, many personalities of the Jewish community from the region and Alain Frère, Vice-President of the General Council, Mayor of Tourrette-Levens, Vice-President of the Metropolis Nice d’Azur.
Charles Gottlieb, son of Polish Jewish immigrants, was born in Nancy on October 25, 1925. Upon declaration of war, his family fled to the department of Allier during the German advance. In 1942 at the age of 16, he joined the resistance in the center of France, in Clermont-Ferrand where the resistance was organizing and achieving many missions.
Following a German attack, he left the Puy-de-Dome to find refuge in Roanne. There, he worked at the Arsenal, a shells manufacture for German, where he undertook many sabotage to slow production. In 1944, he moved to Lyon and joined the resistance group ” In 1942, he discovered the resistance in the maquis. He joined Clermont-Ferrand where organized resistance and its missions. Following a German attack he left the Puy-de-Dome for refuge to Roanne. There, he worked at the Arsenal, a manufacturer of shells for German, where he undertook many sabotage to slow production machinery factory. In 1944, he moved to Lyon and joined the resistance group “Carmagnole liberté.”
Arrested on July 25, 1944 by the French militia, he was tortured in the offices of Klaus Barbie in Lyon and then deported to Auschwitz. On August 11, 1944, he is transfered to Birkenau, then to the Austrian camp of Ebensee. He will survive until the liberation of the camp by the U.S. military on May 7, 1945 in the morning. Charles then weighed 38 kg for 1.72 m. “But I was alive, I always knew that I would get away from that.”
Today, aged 88, Charles Gottlieb is one of the last surviving witnesses of the concentration camps. He has since chosen to speak, meeting every year students in classes to witness and to witness, forever, tirelessly, of the history. He chronicles the life, death, humiliation, cruelty and what he lived in Auschwitz camp. He also participates in the Travel Memory organized by the General Council since 2003 for students of the Alpes-Maritimes.
With a remarkable dignity, he participated in thirty memory trips, and all the young people who have had the privilege of working with him, keep fond memories of the event.
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