Jeanne and Arno Mandello
With the outbreak of the Second World War and the imminent invasion of France by the Germans, Jeanne and Arno had to flee Paris. First threatened by the Third Republic as “foreign enemies”, they were probably interned for some time in spring 1940 in the south of France – Jeanne was, according to her own testimony, sent to the village of Dognen, which bordered the Gurs internment camp, with her friend Josa Morgan, but it remains unclear whether she was actually interned in Gurs. Arno might have been enrolled in a foreign workers’ unit. They had to leave everything behind and lost their entire work and equipment. The threat intensified after the armistice between France and the German Reich. The increased risk in France was a result of the anti-Jewish measures of the new French government under Marshal Pétain which culminated in the deportation of Jews from French territory.
Once again, Jeanne and Arno gave up everything, trying desperately to obtain visas for a safe country. They finally managed, in March 1941, to get an exit permit from France, the necessary papers to enter Uruguay (the country was recommended to them by an uncle of Jeanne’s who already lived in Argentina) and a ship passage from Bilbao, Spain, to Montevideo. They had never been to South America before.
On 15 July 1941, after a trip full of hardships, they arrived in Uruguay on board the “Cabo de Buena Esperanza”. A few months later, in September 1941, Jeanne’s father, Hermann Mandello, joined them. Her sister, Helene Strupp, née Mandello, had already moved to Buenos Aires in 1939 with her husband Dr. Max Strupp (as an interesting aside, Helene later set up a foundation in Argentina to financially help Oskar Schindler’s wife Emilie).
Night View of Playa Ramirez, Montevideo, approx. 1950
Interview with Jeanne Mandello, in German, 1997 (?), Coll. Isabel Mandello de Bauer