Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The child of Dutch parents, she grew up in Collonges, France in the Ain département, near the Swiss border where her father served as the minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. She was sent to secondary school in London and as a result of her background, spoke several languages.
A devoutly religious girl, she was living and doing church work in Paris at the outbreak of World War II. With the ensuing German occupation of France, Gabrielle Weidner fled to the south with her brother, Johan Hendrik Weidner. Following the June 22, 1940 signing of the agreement with the Nazis to create Vichy France, she returned to Paris while he brother went to Lyon where he established the "Dutch-Paris" underground.
In Paris, Gabrielle Weidner worked for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and secretly with her brother and other volunteers to help people escape from the Nazis. As one of the significant contributors to French Resistance, their efforts would be responsible for the rescue of at least 1,000 persons, including 800 Jews and more than 100 downed Allied airmen. However, on February 26, 1944 the Gestapo arrested her along with 140 other members of the escape network. She was interrogated and tortured in Fresnes prison in Paris, then shipped in a railway cattle car to the Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany.
At Ravensbrück she was kept in horrific conditions, subjected to beatings, and used as slave labor. On February 17, 1945, Gabrielle Weidner died of malnutrition in a Ravensbrück sub camp a few days after being liberated by Soviet troops.
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