Summer 1942, a Switzerland not always so welcoming

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Summer 1942. Foreign Jews hunted down by the Vichy regime try to cross into Switzerland. Entrance gate: Geneva, Lake Geneva or Valais. Failure here does not mean that you will necessarily be pushed back there. We must therefore insist. The Hellers, they will try again by the Col de Coux, not far from Champéry, at the place where they first encountered obtuse customs officers. The second attempt will be the right one.

Isodore Heller is a Viennese mathematician. He is married, father of a 5-year-old girl born with a severe congenital dislocation of both hips. She is in a cast from waist to knees, awaiting a hypothetical surgery. The family emigrated to Paris in 1939 then hid not far from Albi, Tarn department, in a vineyard hut. They try to emigrate to the United States but the boat which is to embark them is running out of space. On August 25, someone discreetly informs Isodore that he is actively wanted and will be taken to an internment camp.

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