Jules Gordon grew up in a practising Jewish family. His father, Shimon Gordon, was from Vilnius and worked at a bank in Saint Petersburg, before he was transferred to Irkutsk in Siberia. Following the October Revolution in 1917, the whole family immigrated to Paris. Jules studied at a French school and went on to study painting at André Lhote’s academy at 26 rue du Départ in Montparnasse.
He was mobilized to fight in World War II and was awarded the Croix de Guerre medal for his courage during the German westward breakthrough at Sedan on May 13, 1940. He was captured by the Nazis and imprisoned for several months. He managed to escape, crossed the Moselle river, and reached the Zone Libre (free zone). He joined the Resistance near Grenoble as well as the OSE organization (Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants). His role was to travel all over the French provinces, gather children, and help them to cross France and get to Switzerland.
On January 25, 1944, the German army surrounded the maquis, underground Resistance group, which surrendered after four hours of fighting. Jules Gordon was taken to the Gestapo in Grenoble. He was deported and murdered by the Nazis in Melk on April 5, 1944.
Nieszawer & Princ
"Artistes juifs de l’Ecole de Paris 1905-1939"
Editons Somogy 2015