Sabine Zlatin was the founder and
superintendent of the Izieu children's home and the founder-president
of the Musée-mémorial des enfants d'Izieu. She died on September
21st, 1996, at the age of 89.
Sabine Chwast was born in Warsaw in 1907 and came from a Jewish family. As a young woman, she left her
family to reach France where she met and eventually married Miron
Zlatin, an agronomy student based in Nancy. After their wedding, the
couple ran a poultry farm in the town of Landas, in the North of
In 1939, they became French citizens. When World War 2 broke out, Sabine Zlatin
registered to train with the Red Cross as a military nurse. Faced with
the Nazi army's advance, the couple decided to move to Montpellier.
There, Sabine Zlatin was posted to a military hospital from which she
was forced to leave in 1941, due to racist laws issued by the Vichy
At the prefecture of Hérault, she was
advised to get in contact with the Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants (OSE),
a Jewish children aid association. She organized the rescuing of
children who were internees in the camps of Agde and Rivesaltes. A
number of children were released through her care. In 1943, with the German occupation of
the French zone, the Zlatins, bringing with them seventeen children,
sought refuge in the Italian zone. They were given a recommendation
for the sub-prefect of Belley, who put a house at their disposal in
Izieu. There, the couple founded the Hérault refugee children's home.
Sabine was temporarily away from Izieu
when Klaus Barbie and the Nazis took the children away to
their deaths but she lived to testify against Barbie when he was tried
in 1987. And Klaus Barbie was found guilty of crimes against humanity.
Soon after the trial, an association was
created, on Sabine Zlatin's initiative, with the aim of perpetuating
the memory of the Izieu tragedy and turning the children's home into a
Founder members from all backgrounds resolved to
purchase the house which sheltered the Izieu children's home and turn
it into a museum about these Jewish children and about crime against
humanity. François Mitterrand, President of the
French Republic at the time, included this project in the "Grands
On April 4th, 1994, he formally opened the museum in
the presence of a number of personalities, including Jacques Chirac. Two buildings are open to visitors. The
house which was home to the Izieu children and the adults in charge of
them perpetuates their memory. In the adjacent converted farm
building, the historical background of that day's events is presented.
The Museum is located 60 miles from Lyon
in the Rhone Valley. Visiting hours change according to the time of