Did you know that world-famous mime artist Marcel Marceau was a Holocaust survivor and saved the lives of Jewish children? Marcel (né Mangel) was born to a Jewish family in Strasbourg, France on March 22, 1923. When the Nazis invaded France, Marcel and his family fled to Limoges. His mother survived, but his father was captured by the Gestapo and deported to Auschwitz where he was murdered. Marcel and his brother Alain joined the French Resistance and changed their name to Marceau to hide their Jewish identity. In addition to forging identity papers, Marcel helped smuggle Jewish children out of an orphanage and into neutral Switzerland. In order to do this, he made use of his acting and miming skills. For example, he once posed as a Boy Scout leader and led a group of children through the forests to the border. Marcel mimed to keep them quiet on the perilous journey and the children felt at ease. On another occasion, upon running into a group of German soldiers, he pretended to be a member of the French Army and demanded they release him. Marcel’s fist big performance took place in 1944 in front of 3,000 American soldiers following the liberation of Paris. He was serving as a liaison officer for General Patton’s Third Army. He went on to become a legendary mime and performed all over the world for more than 60 years. Marcel passed away in 2007 at the age of 84. May his memory be a blessing.

Source: American Society for Yad Vashem