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French university building will be named after a

famous Danish-French Auschwitz survivor


Jewish-born Arlette Lévy Andersen, 96, living in Denmark since 1952, was arrested during a Nazi raid on the university in Clermont Ferrand in November 1943 and deported to Auschwitz. Now the university will honor her by naming a building with her name in November.


A group of people at the large university in the city of Clermont Ferrand in the southern part of France want to immortalize the name of the nearly 97-year-old Auschwitz survivor Arlette Andersen. The naming will take place in November, when one of the buildings of Université Clermont Auvergne will be named Arlette Lévy Andersen. The background for the special naming is Arlette Andersen's testimony of surviving Auschwitz during World War II, which she has traveled around with and given at 426 lectures over 25 years - primarily to young people in schools.


Arlette Andersen was born and raised in a Jewish family in Paris in 1924. When the persecution of Jews increased in 1942, Arlette Andersen fled with her family to the city of Clermont Ferrand, which at the time belonged to the part of France that was not occupied by Nazi Germany. In Clermont Ferrand, Arlette Andersen began studying English at the university, and on November 25, 1943, she was arrested along with nearly 100 other students and teachers by a large German roundup, in which everyone at the university, over 1,000, was detained and examined in search of Jews, resistance fighters and communists. In January 1944, after a long captivity in Clermont Ferrand, Arlette Andersen was deported to Auschwitz via the Drancy transit camp near Paris.

Witness to the darkest hours of the university


In connection with the production of the film about Arlette Andersen, Arlette – a story we must not forget, the journalist and producer of the film about Arlette, “Arlette - a story we must never forget”, traveled to Clermont Ferrand in 2015 to film and experience the places in the city where Arlette Andersen lived with her family and where she read English. In this connection, people at the university became aware of Arlette Andersen's history and the value it has, especially for young people. Since 2015, Arlette Andersen's history has played a special role in relation to the university's work to tell the story of what happened at the university during World War II.


From the beginning, the university's president Mathias Bernard has been very enthusiastic and moved by Arlette Andersen's story, and he is therefore very happy that he has been involved in making the decision that the building that houses education in media and language should bear her name. It has been an obvious choice for several reasons - among other things because she was a student at the university during World War II:


- And then she witnessed the darkest hours of this site because she was a victim of the roundup that took place on November 25, 1943. She was rounded up and deported to Auschwitz, where she fortunately survived.


- To give this building her name is of course for us a tribute to her role in the history of our university, she is a symbol of freedom of thought and a symbol of resilience. She is also a symbol of the duty to remember, because Arlette Lévy Andersen, mainly in Denmark, has been very active and committed to maintaining the memory of World War II - and especially of the raid on this university.

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- French university building will be named after a famous Danish-French Auschwitz survivor