Bijkomende meta info
- This collection contains : a children's desk and chair used by Aline and Jacques Klajn before their deportation in October 1942 ; clogs carved for Betti Blaugrund by Louis Ceulemans while she was in hiding at the Ceulemans-Gryson farm in Aarschot ; a pre-war suitcase used by Betti Blaugrund’s family to store photos ; photos of the extended Blaugrund-Berlinski family, including photos of the Klajn-Berlinski family, the Berlinski-Frenkiel family and the Guzy-Berlinski family ; pre-war photos of family vacations at the Belgian coast ; wartime photos of Betti Blaugrund with Louis and Odile Ceulemans-Gryson who hid her at their farm in Aarschot ; post-war photos of Betti Blaugrund with her rescuers ; documents regarding Betti Blaugrund’s rescuers Louis and Odile Ceulemans-Gryson.
- Betti Blaugrund
- Dutch, French, English, Hebrew
- Latin, Hebrew
- The children's desk and chair are constructed in wood and were manufactured by Torck.
- Betti Blaugrund, Private collection, Belgium ; Kazerne Dossin, Mechelen
- Digital copy available as collection KD_00565 at Kazerne Dossin
- 1 interview (3 parts) and 315 digitised images (260 photos, 5 documents, 1 newspaper and 6 objects)
- The photos of Aline Klajn, Jacques Klajn and Charlotte Guzy from this collection have been added to the Give them a Face portrait collection (KD_00017) and the commemoration wall at the Kazerne Dossin museum.
Betti Blaugrund was born in Uccle, Brussels, on 16 July 1942. Her father was Wolf Blaugrund, born on 21 July 1910 in Nowy Sacz (then the Austrian Empire, today Poland). Wolf came from an intellectual and religious family who held an inn. His mother died when she was in her fifties. In 1929, after finishing studying in a Yeshiva, Wolf migrated to Antwerp, Belgiumn where he joined his older brother Izak Baruch Kollender to work in the diamond industry. They arranged migration documents for their sister Meniche Fradel alias Frieda Blaugrund who arrived in Belgium in 1930 and who, a few years later, married Nathan Schnitzer, a Jewish refugee from Germany who would die of tuberculosis during the war. Wolf’s father and six other siblings would be sent to Belzec extermination centre where they all were murdered in August 1942.
In March 1940 Wolf met Cypra Gitla Berlinska, the youngest of eight children. Cypra was born on 14 March 1912 in Pabianice, Poland, as the daughter of Jacob David Berlinski and Laja Maslo. Father Jacob David passed away in 1916 when Cypra was four years old. In 1926 mother Laja and her two youngest children Willy and Cypra migrated to Belgium. A year earlier, in 1925, Cypra’s elder sisters Szewa Mindel Berlinski and Liba alias Lena Berlinski had settled in Brussels. Szewa was accompanied by her husband Isaac Starz and their children Jacob David alias Jacques and Gerda. They worked as furrier merchants and Cypra found a job as an embroiderer. In 1927 another brother and sister arrived: Idessa alias Ida and Israel Berlinski. In 1933 brother Bruno Berlinski was forced to leave Germany and joined his family in Anderlecht where family life continued. Idessa Berlinski married Wigdor Klajn and had two children: Aline and Jacob alias Jacques Klajn. Israel met Rywka Frenkiel in a youth movement. Both were Zionists and left for Palestine as pioneers right after their marriage. Their daughter Aviva was born on 1 March 1935 in Tel Aviv, but in 1936 they returned to Belgium where their son Jacques was born on 16 December of the same year. Liba alias Lena Berlinski married Leon Guzy with whom she had a daughter called Charlotte.
When Wolf Blaugrund and Cypra Berlinski met in March 1940, she was still in mourning. Her brother Willy had died of an infection in June 1939. The couple did get engaged and when Nazi Germany invaded Belgium Wolf joined the complete Berlinski family when they fled to France on 13 May 1940. The family settled near Toulouse. In August 1940 Cypra and Wolf married religiously in Revel, France. As the situation deteriorated, the Berlinski family decided to return to Belgium. Cypra and Wolf came back in the summer of 1941 and lived in an apartment at Rue Georges Moreau 46 in Anderlecht. They obeyed all anti-Jewish decrees. In February 1942 Wolf and Cypra married legally in Schaerbeek since Cypra had gotten pregnant. In the summer of 1942 they received an Arbeitseinsatzbefehl or work order, but Cypra’s brother Bruno Berlinski was suspicious. Cypra and Wolf listened to his advice and didn’t report themselves, but their daughter Betti was registered in the municipal Jewish register after she was born on 16 July 1942.
With the start of deportations in August 1942, the Berlinski family decided to go into hiding. Oldest sister Szewa Berlinski and her husband Isaac Starz tried to flee to southern France to join their daughter Gerda there. They were betrayed by their trafficker and were arrested. Szewa did not survive deportation via Transport 21 from Drancy, France. Isaac was deported with his wife but survived and was repatriated in 1945. Their daughter Gerda survived the war in the south of France with her husband John Liebshardt. The other Berlinski family members remained in Brussels. Grandmother Laja Maslo, her daughter Idessa alias Ida, son-in-law Wigdor Klajn and grandchildren Aline and Jacques Klajn were taken in by Alfred and Clara Duval who lived at 541 Avenue Brugmann in Uccle. Wolf and Cypra together with Israel Berlinski and his wife Rywka Frenkiel as well as their nephew Jacques Starz hid at 459 Avenue Brugmann in an apartment rented by Bruno Berlinski’s half-Jewish wife Gertrude alias Gerta Tichy. Israel and Rywka had placed their children Aviva and Jacques with a non-Jewish family, while Cypra and Wolf hid six-week-old Betti with a Belgian woman at Chaussée de Wavre in Brussels.
Cypra soon noticed that Betti was poorly cared for and decided to take her back home. However, she shared her plan with her husband Wolf who disagreed, telling her that Betti was safer where she was and that Cypra had the right to live with her child but not to die with her. On 20 October 1942 Cypra visited Betti with Dr. Blero, who came to check up on the baby’s progress and to talk about the situation. During Cypra’s absence the Sicherheitspolizei-Sicherheitsdienst (Sipo-SD) knocked on the door of the family hiding place and Rywka Frenkiel opened it. Wolf Blaugrund, Israel Berlinski and Rywka Frenkiel were arrested on the spot. Idessa Berlinski and daughter Aline Klajn were arrested when they stopped by for sugar. When Wigdor and Jacques came looking for them, father and son also fell into the trap. To make matters worse, Liba alias Lena Berlinski and her daughter Charlotte decided to visit that afternoon and were arrested too. When questioned only Wolf admitted to being Jewish. He was sent to another room to pack and used the opportunity to escape after which, from a neighbour’s house, he phoned Dr. Blero to find out what his wife had decided to do and to warn Cypra. The couple then met at a certain spot and went to Cypra’s cousin Balcia Goldberg’s apartment to spend the night.
Cypra’s mother Laja Maslo, seeing her daughter, son-in-law and their children not coming back to their hiding place, realized that her complete family had been arrested and wanted to join them. Caretakers Alfred and Clara Duval persuaded her to stay as to be there for Betti after the war would be over. Fearing that Aline and Jacques would be questioned as to their address, Clara took Laja to stay with Clara’s mother who lived outside of Brussels until they were sure the Sipo-SD wouldn’t come for her too.
After their family had been arrested, Cypra retrieved Betti from her hiding place and took her to the Duval home, but the baby cried a lot and the situation became too dangerous. Alfred contacted police officer Louis Paesen and his wife Anna Gryson who found a hiding place for Betti with Anna’s sister Odile Gryson in Aarschot. Odile, her husband Louis Ceulemans and their daughter Rosa had taken care of small children before so the presence of a baby wasn’t suspicious. Cypra only gave Betti up when Odile promised to come visit Cypra with the baby every month. Therefore Odile and Rosa came to Brussels every four weeks. Rosa was engaged to Richard Elseviers who was a tram driver. He warned Odile and Rosa when Nazis were around.
Betti’s parents gave the Ceulemans-Gryson family some portraits of themselves to be shown regularly to their daughter so that Betti would know that she had biological parents. Those photographs were put in a cupboard, so they became « mamma kast en papa kast ». Louis and Odile took excellent care of Betti, taking photos of her and making small mittens so she couldn’t scratch herself. Betti loved living at the countryside and Louis made her two pairs of clogs so she could run around the family yard.
Immediately upon Liberation Betti returned to her parents and grandmother who survived the war in hiding with the Duval family. All the family members arrested at their Avenue Brugmann hiding place were deported from the Dossin barracks via Transports XIV and XV. No one survived.
Betti got married and had two daughters. She lived in the United States for twenty-five years. When the local Jewish Community Centre created a Garden of the Righteous she planted a tree for Louis and Odile Ceulemans-Gryson. Betti remained in contact with them until 1976. Today Betti lives in Belgium.
- Betti Blaugrund carefully collected and kept all photos, documents and objects regarding her family history. The desk and chair were used before and during the war by Aline and Jacques Klajn, her first cousins. After the arrest of the Klajn-Berlinski family, Betti's parents Wolf Blaugrund and Cypra Berlinski hid in the Klajn family home and took care of the belongings of their deported relatives. Betti Blaugrund kept the items safe her whole life and kindly donated the original desk and chair to Kazerne Dossin in 2019 together with several original photographs. The other items in this collection were digitised by Kazerne Dossin and returned to Betti Blaugrund.
- Betti Blaugrund, 2019