Néret, France — August 1942, Eugène and Alexandrine Langlois, and their daughter, Suzanne, received little Léon. They were honoured March 17 for their courage.
Léon Rucker, now 77, lives in Canada with his wife, three children, and six grandchildren. Yet, in Néret, he was among family: His other family – the one that sheltered him from the Nazis when he was only 4. “Suzanne Langlois came to fetch me from my parents in Nice. They received me here, at their home, as if I were one of their six children. I stayed here for two years, far from my parents, but in safety and surrounded by love…
“For them it was normal.”
Thanks to him, more than 71 years after these tragic events, the Langlois Family is honoured posthumously, with a medal accorded to persons deemed Righteous Among the Nations. François Guguenheim, vice-president of the French Committee of Yad Vashem, was present, alongside Elad Ratson, Public Relations Director of the Israeli Embassy in Paris, and Alain Espinasse, Prefect of Indre District, to confer the highest Israeli distinction to Josianne Luizy, the niece of Suzanne Langlois, who had passed away in 1996. “My grandparents and my aunt spoke rarely about that episode of their lives,” Josianne explained. “For them, what they did was just normal. They weren’t puffed with pride about it. They were simple people…” Léon Rucker remembers, “hunting for mushrooms with Alexandrine, and the courage of Eugène at work.”
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The emotion was palpable and reached home, when during the speeches and singing the national hymns of France and Israel, everyone present remembered the Jews killed during the attacks which occurred in January in France and Denmark. “It behooves each of us to contribute to reinforcing the foundations of our Republic and to not remain indifferent to these threats,” said Alain Espinasse. “Being united means also extending a hand, the same hand that the Langlois Family extended to the Rucker Family by welcoming Léon. By their selfless act, during one of the most somber periods of our country’s history, all the Righteous are permanent examples and give us hope and confidence in humanity.”
Translated by Gisèle Rucker, sister of Léon Rucker, from an article by Christophe Gervais that appeared in La Nouvelle République, March 18, 2015.