Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois

“The Children of La Hille: Eluding Nazi Capture During World War II" by Jeanne Reed

  • 13 Mar 2016
  • 12:30 PM
  • Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Rd, Northbrook
Program: Sunday, March 13, 2016
Program starts 2:00 p.m. at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook.

Wife of author to speak on book about young refugees who fled Nazis

Jeanne Reed, wife of the late Walter Reed, will speak about her husband’s book, “The Children of La Hille: Eluding Nazi Capture During World War II” at the Sunday, March 13, 2016, meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois at 2 p.m. at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Ill.
Walter Reed’s book was published by Syracuse University Press in November 2015. He passed away in January 2016, at the age of 91.

The JGSI meeting facilities at Temple Beth-El will open at 12:30 p.m. to accommodate those who want to use or borrow genealogy library materials, get help with genealogy websites or ask genealogical questions before the main program begins at 2 p.m. For more information phone 312-666-0100.

Jeanne Reed, a home economist and teacher who has worked in business, has pledged to honor the speaking engagements that her husband had made before his death.

Late last year, Walter Reed said, “The history of my colony of some 100 Jewish refugee children and teenagers from Germany and Austria, being rescued first to Belgium in 1938-39, then fleeing to Vichy France in 1940 and evading deportations—with only 11 being caught and murdered—is fascinating. It sheds light on the incredible experiences of young refugees sought by the Nazi murderers.”

For more information about his book, go to

Previously, Walter Reed wrote one of the chapters in the Northwestern University Press anthology “Out of Chaos: Hidden Children Remember the Holocaust,” which was published in 2013, and moderated several panel discussions with other contributors to the book after its publication. 

Walter Reed was born Werner Rindsberg in Germany in 1924 and spent his early childhood in a Bavarian village near Würzburg. In June 1939, his family put him on a train for Brussels, Belgium, as part of a children’s refugee rescue program. Eventually, he made his way to La Hille, France, where he and 100 other Jewish children were hidden from the Germans. He was able to leave France in 1941 for New York, where his mother had relatives. It was not until a few years later that he learned that his parents and siblings had perished during the Holocaust.

In 1943, he was drafted into the United States Army and was offered citizenship. He changed his name to Walter Reed. He served in the Army from 1943 to 1946, arriving in France shortly after the Allied invasion of Normandy. As part of General Patton’s Third Army, Reed interrogated German prisoners, starting after the liberation of Paris in 1944. After the war, he received a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and worked successfully for 40 years in public relations. Since 1998, he has been a frequent speaker about the Holocaust in the United States and in Europe.

The previously scheduled presentation by Debbie Kroopkin on “Techniques for Using” has been rescheduled to Oct. 30, 2016.

The JGSI “help desk” will operated from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. at each regular monthly meeting. Member volunteers will access online databases and answer genealogical questions one-on-one for members and visitors as time allows.

The JGSI library has more than 800 volumes of interest to Jewish family historians. Many are available for borrowing by JGSI members for a limited time. All are available for perusing from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. at each regular monthly meeting.
For more information about the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois or the JGSI schedule of future events, visit or phone 312-666-0100.

While this program is free, those who join the society have access to several valuable members-only resources on the JGSI website. They include video recordings of more than a dozen presentations from past JGSI events, valuable informational handouts from past speakers, access to past Morasha newsletters containing informative articles about Jewish genealogy, the syllabus from the 2015 JGSI conference, and more. To learn more about the benefits of joining the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois, go to

Submitted by:

Martin Fischer

Vice President-Publicity

Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois


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