Evelyne Jacobson (L) of Montreal and Irene Dutont of Switzerland, daughters of Marthe Helene Ducommun and Pastor Marcel Ducommun receive the certificate and medal on their parents' behalf on April 27, 2010 in the Garden of the Righteous at Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. The Ducommuns were recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations for sheltering Jews during the Holocaust.
Photo: Issac Harari/Yad Vashem Memorial for AFP Copyright 2010
JERUSALEM (EJP)---Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial Institute in Jerusalem, on Tuesday posthumously honored Rev. Marcel & Helene Marthe Ducommun from France as Righteous Among the Nations.
Their daughter Evelyne Jacobson of Canada received the medal and certificate of honor on their behalf in the presence of the survivors, siblings Nadia Rosenblum and Maurice Grubain.
France’s ambassador in Israel, Christophe Bigot, also attended the memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance which was followed by the unveiling of the name of the Righteous in the Garden of the Righteous at Yad Vashem.
The Grubstein family emigrated from Poland to France in 1932. When the Nazis invaded France in May 1940, the Grubsteins were among the many refugees that escaped to Southern France.
During their flight, the family was arrested several times, sent to a detention camp, and eventually arrived in the Tarn District. Upon their arrival, Abraham and Sarah Grubstein, and their three children, Jacques, Morris, and Nadia, sought out the leaders of the Jewish community in Castres and requested assistance finding a place to hide.
The family was referred to Reverend Cook, who in turn sent them to his colleague Reverend Marcel Ducommun in the village of Senegats.
Reverend Ducommun, who tended to the pastoral needs of three small villages, immediately agreed to provide shelter for the persecuted Jewish family.
The family hid inside the church compound and were given free access to the parsonage.
The Reverend and his wife, Helene Marthe, acting out of a sense of strong moral and religious beliefs of religious tolerance and love for their fellow man, devotedly cared for the Grubsteins, visiting them regularly and tending to all their needs, even giving the family permission to plant vegetables in a garden adjacent to the church.
Meanwhile, Jacques and Nadia occasionally attended the local school where the Pastor’s wife was a teacher. When Father Ducommun, a member of the French resistance movement, would hear of imminent arrests, he hurried to warn the Grubsteins, who would flee and hide in coal miners’ huts in the vicinity of the village.
The village residents cooperated with the Ducommuns, safeguarding their secret - the family of Jews hidden by the Pastor.
The Grubstein family was rescued by remaining under the Ducommuns’ devoted care for a period of two years.
After the war, the Grubsteins became French citizens and Frenchified their name to Grubain.
Father Marcel Ducommun passed away in 1990, his wife four years later.
In 2009, the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem decided to award the title of Righteous Among the Nations to Rev. Marcel and Helene Marthe Ducommun.