Hirschler, René

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HIRSCHLER, RENÉ (1905–1944), French rabbi and social worker. Born in Marseilles, Hirschler graduated in 1928 from the Rabbinical School of Paris and was rabbi of Mulhouse. At the outbreak of World War ii he became itinerant chaplain for the Foreign Legion units in which many thousands of foreign-born Jewish volunteers served. After the Franco-German armistice of June 1940, Hirschler became very active in various fields of relief work in the free zone of France, his main activity consisting of relief work in the various concentration, detention, and forced labor camps to which he had access. On March 13, 1943, the grand rabbin of France appointed Hirschler chief chaplain (aumônier général) for foreign-born Jews interned in camps in the free zone. In view of the shortage of rabbis in all camps, he was permitted to appoint over 200 auxiliary chaplains (aumôniers auxiliaires). He was also active in underground relief work for Jews in hiding. On Dec. 23, 1943, Hirschler and his wife were arrested in Marseilles by the Gestapo. They were both deported to Auschwitz early in 1944 and perished there.


Z. Szajkowski, Analytical Franco-Jewish Gazetteer 19331945 (1966), index.