Bijkomende meta info
- This collection contains photos and documents including pre-war pictures of Abraham Kesselman’s first wife Liba Teitelbaum, pre-war photos of Liba’s (unidentified) relatives and friends, pre-war photos of the Stern sisters, pre-war photos of Cipa Laja (Lea) Sztern’s children Henri and Diane Rozen, post-war photos of Eva Stern and Abraham Kesselman, Rachel Stern’s pre-war subscriptions and post-war British registration card, post-war cards from Harry Ekstein to his cousins Rachel and Sara Stern, the judicial document denying Abraham Kesselman the title of political prisoner, an RSVP to Sara Stern’s marriage, a leaflet regarding dual nationality, a handwritten card from Henri Rozen from 1940, a telegram from Cipa Laja (Lea) Sztern to her sisters in London from 1941, a post-war declaration regarding the position of Abraham Kesselman with the Antwerpsch Comité ter Verdediging van de Joodsche Belangen [Antwerp Committee for the Defence of Jewish Assets].
- Kesselman-Stern family
- Dutch, French, English
- Digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin
- Jack Kesselman, Private collection, Canada
- Digital copy available as KD_00514 at Kazerne Dossin
- 37 digitised images (18 photos and 12 documents)
- The included photos of Henri and Diane Rozen were used to complete the "Give them a Face" portrait collection (KD_00017) and the commemoration wall at the Kazerne Dossin museum.
Abraham Kesselman was born on 4 July 1909 in Borszovice, Poland (today Borshchovychi in Ukraine) , as the son of Simon Kesselman and Ryfka Richter. He became an upholsterer and emigrated to Belgium in July 1928. Abraham Kesselman settled at Provinciestraat 249 in Antwerp and found a job in Merksem. He changed addresses several times before religiously marrying diamond cutter Liba Teitelbaum, born on 10 December 1911 in Potok Zloty, Poland. The marriage probably took place a few months after the invasion of Belgium by Nazi-Germany on 10 May 1940. During the occupation, Abraham and Liba first lived at Van Diepenbeeckstraat 64 in Antwerp (possibly a false address) before moving to Generaal Capiaumontstraat 40 in Berchem in October 1941.
On 13 June 1942 Abraham Kesselman was sent to northern France by the German Arbeitsamt. Abraham was detained at the Condette camp where he worked as a forced labourer for Julius Berger, a subcontractor of the German Organisation Todt, responsible for the built of the Atlantic Wall. On 28 October 1942, Abraham was registered in Condette on the deportation list of Transport XVI. This convoy left France on 31 October 1942. Abraham was able to jump from the train and returned to Antwerp. He went into hiding but in January 1943 he claimed his remaining Organisation Todt wages at the Association of Jews in Belgium, probably to pay for his expenses while in hiding. Abraham also joined the resistance, delivering ration stamps to others in hiding, probably as a member of the Jewish Defence Committee.
Upon liberation in September 1944 Abraham became the treasurer of the Antwerpsch Comité ter Verdediging van de Joodsche Belangen [Antwerp Committee for the Defence of Jewish Assets], the post-war local branch of the Jewish Defence Committee. His wife Liba Teitelbaum had received an Arbeitseinsatzbefehl, a convocation for forced labour, and was registered at the Dossin barracks on 21 August 1942. She had not survived deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport VI on 29 August 1942.
Post-war Abraham Kesselman married Rachel Stern, born on 4 July 1916 in England. During the First World War her parents Jankel Stern and Ryfka Wermus had fled to the United Kingdom where Rachel and her sister Sara had been born. Both girls thus held British nationality and were able to flee to London during the Second World War. Their parents, oldest sister Cipa Laja Sztern and youngest sister Eva Stern were trapped in Belgium. On 19 April 1943 Jankel and Ryfka were deported from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport XX despite a release request referring to their old age and bad health. Cipa Laja (Lea) Sztern, her husband Abraham Rozen and their children Henri and Diane were all murdered after deportation via Transport XXI on 31 July 1943. Fourth daughter Eva Stern survived the war in Belgium, possibly thanks to connections with the Association of Jews in Belgium since her father Jankel had worked for the AJB as a clerk in the Brussels synagogue.
Abraham Kesselman and Rachel Stern emigrated from Belgium to Canada in 1951. They had a son and granddaughters. Abraham passed away in 2000, Rachel in 2013.
- Abraham Kesselman was able to salvage several pre-war and war-time photos and documents after he escaped from Transport XVI. His son Jack Kesselman kindly donated digital copies of a selection of items from the family collection to Kazerne Dossin in 2018.
- Jack Kesselman, son of and Abraham Kesselman and Rachel Stern, 2018