Article by Jean-Michel Rey

On 10 February 1944, Anni and Fritz Finaly, Austrian refugees who had arrived in France six years earlier, entrusted their sons to the Sisters. Four days later, they were arrested by the Gestapo. Deported to Auschwitz, they never returned. Aged 2 and 3, Robert and Gérard were entrusted to the care of a devout Catholic, Antoinette Brun, who became their guardian. When the children’s family wanted them back, Miss Brun refused – on the grounds that they had been baptised. Philosopher Jean-Michel Rey looks back at this “Finaly affair”, which hit the headlines in the early 1950s, and at the violence of a gesture of erasure that people thought could be legitimised by recourse to Catholic theology alone.

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