Holocaust Rescuers, Benoit and Jean-Marie Musy
The Missions - Paris and Theresienstadt 1944-45

July 1945 - Excerpts based on a report written by
Dr. Jean-Marie Musy
 Delivered to:
"The Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada"

Represented by:  Mr. Sternbuch - Swiss Committee in Montreux, Switzerland
Matters relating to: the endeavors taken by Jean-Marie Musy and Benoît Musy to rescue the Israelites held prisoners in the
German concentration camps (1944-45)
(Original text in French -  translated into English)
Copyright 1945-2000
All rights to translations, reproductions, adaptations reserved for all countries.

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Mission and Story - Musy (1944-1945)

During the month of April 1944, Mr. and Mrs. Lob came to appeal to Dr. Jean-Marie Musy to intervene to the German authorities, in order to obtain the release of their sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Bloch. The Blochs, of Jewish religious faith, had been arrested in France by the Germans. Mr. Musy knew the family Lob for a long time, as he had been Mr. Lob's attorney in Bulle (Gruyère-Switzerland). The Lob sons had all done their military service in the Swiss cavalry with Jean-Marie Musy's sons, Pierre and Luigi Musy.

Jean Musy accepted the pleas of the Lob family and he left for Paris, although having little hope that he would be successful in his delicate mission. When he arrived in Paris, General Hoberg, chief of the German Police in France, immediately said that "an Israelite (Jew) who has entered a concentration camp has never come out of it." Mr. Musy did not loose hope and insisted on the fact that Mrs. Bloch was of Swiss origin. After multiple steps, the liberation of the Bloch couple was obtained thanks to J-M Musy. This was a success which was almost not expected and this liberation was without precedent.

It was probably because of this liberation that Mrs. Bolomey visited Mr. Musy in October 1944. She came in the name of a Committee which had been recently formed in Montreux (Switzerland). This Committee was headed by Rabbi Isaac Sternbuch, which acted on behalf of the "Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada." Mr. Sternbuch and his wife Mrs. Recha Sternbuch, asked Mr. Musy to intervene in Germany with the aim to obtain the release of Jews who were prisoners in concentration camps. Dr. Musy knew that it would not only be very difficult to be successful in this mission, but also that it would be significantly dangerous. The Allies were keeping a watch over the roads and were constantly machine gunning the roads, which had to be inevitably traveled upon to reach Berlin.

Nevertheless, for Jean-Marie Musy, the danger which he would encounter did not play an important role in his decision to accept the mission. It is with a deep sentiment of humanity and Christian concern that drove Mr. J-M Musy and his son Benoît to intervene on behalf of the prisoners of the concentration camps. They never asked or received personal monetary compensation for their frequent trips to Germany.

Afterwards he wrote to Himmler, the commander of the S.S. to ask for a meeting. As J.-M. Musy was an ex-President of Switzerland, he knew Himmler from the days when "Anti-Communist Committees" had been formed in almost every country. Fifteen days later, the reply from General Himmler was positive, and a few weeks later, Jean-Marie and his son Benoît Musy arrived in Berlin by automobile (a distance of approximately 900 km (560 miles) from Switzerland).

They traveled in Germany during 1944-45 as private individuals .,  as Jean-Marie Musy had retired in 1934. He was no longer representing the government of Switzerland. They were simply two Swiss citizens who were trying to help the Jewish prisoners in Germany.

The meeting with Himmler took place in a German military train which was traveling to Vienna. During the first meeting, General Himmler expressed the following comments about the ex-Swiss Statesman: "He was a man totally unselfish, extremely intelligent and educated, who only had one goal: to save as many human lives as possible amongst the hundreds of thousands of prisoners of the concentration camps."

Mr. Musy articulated to Himmler the humanitarian consideration of his mission and that Germany had a major interest in liberating all of the concentration camps. A document was presented to General Himmler, attesting to the fact that the Americans were ready to take at their cost all transport and support for all of the Jews which were released.

The conference lasted two hours. The outcome of the meeting was positive between General Himmler and Mr. Musy, who represented the "Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada." An agreement was reached with the following clauses:

    I) The Germans would agree to liberate all Jews, approximately 600,000, held in the concentration camps that were located in territory under the control of the Germans. These releases could be done without Hitler's authorization.

    II) This liberation of the camps, would start immediately and be in exchange for compensations, to be determined later, as soon as the Union of Orthodox Rabbis had accepted the offer in principle. Himmler wanted trucks, tractors, automobiles, etc. Jean-Marie Musy immediately made the observation to the SS General that it would be very difficult to supply Germany with compensations of this nature. Mr. Musy did his best to make him understand that, the transaction would be easier if the Germans would accept money, to which a supply of medicine could possibly be included. Himmler maintained his position concerning the compensation in automotive hardware.

The next day, Mr. Musy returned with his son to Switzerland in order to attempt to resolve the serious problems which stemmed from Himmler's compensation demands. As soon as he arrived in Switzerland he contacted the Ciba Pharmaceutical Company, with the notion of obtaining an important stock of Cibazol to offer to the Germans as partial compensation. With regard to the negotiations to deliver a certain quantity of vehicles to the Germans, these would last months, before achieving a partial outcome. However, this was insufficient to satisfy the Germans.

Holocaust rescue mission - Who is Who ?

Jean-Marie Musy: (1876-1952) Roman Catholic  - 69 years old, Ex-President and Swiss Federal Councilor (Retired from government work in 1934)  In 1944-45, as a private citizen he negotiated the release of Jews, on behalf of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada

Benoît Musy: (1917-1956) Roman Catholic - 28 years old, Lieutenant and Aviator in the Swiss AirForce.  In 1944-45, as a private citizen he accompanied his father Jean-Marie Musy on every trip to Germany, to negotiate the release of prisoners from the German concentration camps.

Isaac Sternbuch:  Jewish Rabbi and businessman residing in Montreux, Switzerland.  Sole Swiss representative of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States of America and Canada.  In 1944, he asked Jean-Marie Musy to rescue thousands of Jews prisoners of concentration camps in Nazi Germany.

Recha Sternbuch: (1905-1977) Orthodoxx Jew, sister of the Grand Rabbi Y. Rottenberg.  Along with her husband Isaac, she was instrumental in developing the plan  to rescue Jews from German concentration camps.  The Musy mission - Theresienstadt 1944- 1945

Sally Mayer: (1882-1950) Jew - Swiss businessman dealing in textiles.  Secretary of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (1936), and Honorary representative of the American Jewish Distribution in Switzerland (1940-45).

Heinrich Himmler:  (1900-1945) Reichsführer - Gestapo & Waffen SS - General / German Army and S.S. Chief

Walter Schellenberg:  Brigadieführer polizei-waffen - Brigadier General / counter-espionage - German Army - Police and Army Affairs

Franz Göring:  Obersturmführer - Senior Officer in the German Army / Aide to General Schellenberg

Ernst Kaltenbrunner:  General / German Army - Chief of Reich Security

Kurt Becher:   Colonel German Army

Heinrich Himmler
Theresienstadt post 1945

Mr. Musy and his son Benoît left once again for Berlin and requested immediately a meeting with Himmler. This conference was in Wilbad in the Black Forest approximately 900 kilometers south from Berlin, a distance which was traveled in Jean-Marie Musy's car. After a long discussion, Himmler relinquished his demands concerning vehicles and instead agreed to accept a monetary sum in foreign currencies. Mr. Musy had been able to convince Himmler that it was important for Germany to liberate the concentration camp prisoners and to act rapidly. He mentioned again the document attesting to the fact that the American government was ready to admit to enter the United States of America all of the Jews which could not find asylum in Europe. The American government was willing at its expense to pay for the transport costs and care of the prisoners which would be liberated by the Germans.

General Himmer had definitely desisted from demanding compensation in hardware, but the monetary sum remained to be determined. A few days later, Himmler told Mr. Musy that he would be satisfied with a sum of 5 million Swiss francs, a monetary amount which was much less than the one anticipated previously.

Mr. Musy requested that these 5 million francs be deposited in a Swiss bank account in the name of Rabbi Sternbuch, President of the Jewish Committee of Montreux (Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada). However, the bank would issue an attestation to Mr. Musy stating that he was the only one authorized to disburse the funds during the negotiations with the Germans. During his next trip to Berlin he presented the bank documents to Himmler.

It was clear that the transfer of funds would only be performed when all of the Jewish prisoners would be released. Later Mr. Musy was told that these 5 million Swiss francs would most likely be paid to the International Red Cross, to help especially Germans in need.

Telegram - Jewish Agency Febuary 21, 1945
1,200 saved Theresienstadt 1945

In his work, Mr. Musy had not overlooked anything in order to achieve success in liberating the unfortunate victims of the concentration camps. Nonetheless, he knew that to conclude the task several more trips to Germany would be required. He was ready to undertake all risks because the project was on a good track.

Musy's List

Nothing could have predicted that the project was at the eve of grave difficulties. The 22 of January 1945, General Walter Schellenberg (Brigadieführer polizei-waffen SS - Brigadier General of the police and army) instructed Franz Göring to proceed with the liberation of a certain number of Jews, for which the emancipation had been immediately ordered. Notwithstanding, Göring would find resistance everywhere derived from the ill will of the camp commanders, which contested his authority. Even so the brothers Rottenberg, the familly Berger-Rottenberg and the children, the famillies Donnebaum, Cilzer, Dr. Stiassny, Helen Stein and a few other French Jews were located and freed after a short time, thanks to the intervention of Jean-Marie Musy.

Göring knew that it had been agreed between Himmler and Musy that all of the Jews would be freed and evacuated in the direction of Switzerland, to be later sent towards the United States of America. Notwithstanding the difficulties that they found everywhere, the General Schellenberg and Göring pursued energetically their mandate. Everywhere and always they encountered the powerful opposition of General Ernst Kaltenbrunner (Chief of the security Police - Gestapo), which always upheld Hitler's principle decisions.

Another difficulty surfaced which was probably created by Mr. Sally Mayer (Swiss businessman and honorary representative of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Switzerland 1940-45). During the Wilbad conference, General Himmler made the comment that Sally Mayer's group was more important than the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada. Himmler wanted an immediate clarification on this important question and Musy had to immediately return to Switzerland to request an attestation stemming from the Rabbis of the United States of America. The trips between Berlin and Wilbad separated by 900 kilometers had become more and more dangerous. On several occasions they had to find refuge in the forests, due to the flights of the Allies attack planes which were more frequent and deadly

Next page - please click here . . .

Train to Freedom - Raanana February 5, 1945

65th Anniversary of the February 5th 1945 train from
the Ghetto of Theresienstadt to Switzerland
   Commemoration and Concert
"Transport to Freedom" - Raanana,  Israel - February 5th 2010

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The Missions - Teresin 1944-45