Gathering of child survivors of the Holocaust housed in Belgian orphanages. Recording

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This recording contains the exchange between 11 child survivors of the Holocaust during a zoom meeting held on 17 January 2021. All participants and their siblings were housed in Jewish and/or non-Jewish orphanages in Belgium during the war. These institutes included the Meisjeshuis and Good Engels (the Meisjeshuis department for babies and toddlers), the Jongenshuis and Pennsylvania Foundation orphanage, the Wezembeek-Oppem children's home, the Baron de Castro children's home in Etterbeek and the Les Moineaux children's home in Uccle. The following survivors participated in the discussion: Alfred Friedman - Michael Hartogs born as Max Kohn - Fred Kader born as Frans Jeruzalski - Annie Juliard Coughlin born as Annie Milerad - Roni Luck Wolf born as Reizel Warman - Werner Szydlow - Jacques Salomon Weisser - Bill Frankenstein born as Bernard Baron - Henri Wolfe born as Henri Wolff - Paulette Cooper born as Paula Bucholc - Roger Kreisman
2021
HEINSMAN Reinier, Jewish orphans from Belgium in the Holocaust, s.l., 2021. [self-administered publication] Copy available in the Kazerne Dossin reading room.
Reinier Heinsman, coordinator
English
Digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin as collection KD_00604
Reinier Heinsman, Private collection, The Netherlands
Digital copy available as collection KD_00604 at Kazerne Dossin.
KD_00604
item
1 recording (1 part - 1h27)
Alfred Friedman was born in Antwerp on 18 April 1939 as the youngest child of Icik Aron Friedman and Dobris Morgenstern. When Dobris left Belgium for Hungary in May 1940, Icik brought Alfred and his three older siblings – Greta alias Margita, Morthe alias Miklas and Zoltan - to an orphanage. By the time deportations started in August 1942, Alfred was housed in Good Engels, the baby and toddler section of the Meisjeshuis municipal orphanage at Albert Grisarstraat in Antwerp. Greta Friedman was housed in the Meisjeshuis, while Zoltan and Morthe Friedman stayed at the Pennsylvania Foundation orphanage. Greta, Morthe and Zoltan were arrested by the German Sicherheitspolizei-Sicherheitsdienst (Sipo-SD) when the Meisjeshuis and Pennsylvania Foundation were raided on 21 September 1942. All three were part of the group of children from the municipal orphanages in Antwerp deported from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport XI on 26 September 1942. Greta, Morthe and Zoltan were killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau upon arrival on 28 September 1942. The Jewish children at the municipal orphanages who were younger than five, including Alfred Friedman, were left at Good Engels. On 30 October 1942 the Sipo-SD returned to the orphanage to collect them. They were then sent to the Dossin barracks to be deported as well. However, that same night they were released together with a group of children raided earlier that day at the Jewish orphanage in Wezembeek-Oppem. Alfred was thus transferred from Mechelen to this children’s home in Brussels. Although Alfreds father Icik Aron Friedman, deported via Transport XVI, perished on 16 February 1945 in Buchenwald, Alfred was reunited with his mother Dobris Morgenstern who survived several concentration camps and who died in 2008, at age 102, in the United States.

Michael Hartogs was born in Antwerp on 20 November 1938 as Max Kohn. His parents were Armin Kohn and Feiga Feit and he had an older sister named Bertha. By the time deportations started in August 1942, Michael was housed in Good Engels, while Bertha lived at the girls department of the Meisjeshuis. She was one of the older children arrested during the Sipo-SD raid on the municipal orphanages on 21 September 1942. Bertha was deported from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport XI on 26 September 1942 and was murdered upon arrival on 28 September 1942. Michael, like the other Jewish toddlers at Good Engels, was arrested on 30 September 1942 and taken to the Dossin barracks, but was rescued together with the children from the Jewish orphanage of Wezembeek-Oppem where he was then housed. Michael was later transferred to the Les Moineaux orphanage in Uccle and was the sole survivor of his family: his father Armin had been deported via Transport XVI, his mother Feiga via Transport XV. Both were murdered. Michael was adopted and migrated to Canada in 1949.

Fred Kader was born in Antwerp on 21 July 1938 as Frans Jeruzalski. His parents were Jacob Jeruzalski and Basza Ryfka Krysztal. He had two brothers named Ignace and Paul, a half-brother named Felix and a half-sister named Rachel Gitel. By the time deportations started in August 1942, Fred was housed in Good Engels, while Ignace and Paul had been placed at the Meisjeshuis. They were among the children arrested during the Sipo-SD raid on the municipal orphanages on 21 September 1942. Ignace and Paul were deported from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport XI on 26 September 1942 and were murdered upon arrival on 28 September 1942. Fred, like the other Jewish toddlers at Good Engels, was arrested on 30 September 1942 and taken to the Dossin barracks, but was rescued together with the children from the Jewish orphanage of Wezembeek-Oppem where he was then housed. His father Jacob was murdered after deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport XVII, his mother after deportation via Transport IX and his half-brother Felix after deportation via Transport II. After spending time with surviving relatives in Brussels, Fred joined other family members in Canada in 1949.

Annie Juliard Coughlin was born in Antwerp on 12 December 1939 as Annie Milerad. She and her brother Jacques Rager (born as Jacques Milerad) both survived the war, while their parents Abram Milerad and Rosa Feuerverger were deported from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transports IV and XII. Neither survived. By the time deportations started in August 1942, Annie was housed in the Good Engels section for babies and toddlers at the Meisjeshuis in Antwerp. Not five years old yet, Annie was not arrested by the Sipo-SD during the raid on the municipal orphanages on 21 September 1942. On 5 October 1942 she was transferred from Good Engels to the Sint-Erasmus Gasthuis (hospital). The Sipo-SD came looking for her there during the second raid on 30 October 1942. Annie was arrested and taken to the Dossin barracks, but was rescued together with the children from the Jewish orphanage of Wezembeek-Oppem where she was then housed. Annie was later on transferred to the Les Moineaux orphanage in Uccle. After the war she was adopted and migrated to the United States.

Werner Szydlow was born in Antwerp on 17 September 1940 as the only child of Mendel Szydlow and Berta Korngut. Mendel was deported from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport X and murdered. When Berta Korngut was hospitalised on 16 September 1942, Werner was taken to the Good Engels orphanage. On 15 December 1942 he was transferred to the Sint-Erasmus Gasthuis (hospital), where he was reunited with his mother who was still being treated there. Werner Szydlow was successfully hidden at the Sint-Erasmus Gasthuis until Liberation in September 1944. His post-war testimony illustrates that the transfer of children from the Good Engels orphanage to the Sint-Erasmus hospital was a rescue attempt to save these Jewish children from deportation.

Jacques Salomon Weisser was born in Antwerp on 7 February 1942 as the son of Jacob Weisser and Martha Mandelbaum. Martha was deported from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport IX and murdered, while her husband Jacob was deported from Drancy, France, to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport 69. Their son Jacques Salomon Weisser, just a baby, was housed in the Good Engels orphanage and was transferred to the Sint-Erasmus Gasthuis (hospital) on 23 December 1942. He was arrested there by German authorities on 13 June 1944 and was sent to the Jewish children’s home in Etterbeek known as the Baron de Castro orphanage on 14 June 1944. Jacques survived the war there and was reunited with his father Jacob who survived forced labour in the concentration camps.

Bill Frankenstein was born in Antwerp on 25 December 1941 as Bernard Baron. His parents Abraham Baron and Hena Rywka Roth were deported via Transports IV and XII from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and were murdered. Bill was housed in the Good Engels municipal orphanage, and was transferred to the Sint-Erasmus Gasthuis (hospital) on 2 December 1942. He was arrested there by German authorities on 13 June 1944 and was sent to the Jewish children’s home in Etterbeek known as the Baron de Castro orphanage on 14 June 1944. Bill survived the war there. He was adopted and migrated to the United States.

Roni Luck Wolf was born in Antwerp on 28 November 1940 as Reizel Warman, the youngest daughter of Zelman Binem Warman and Malka Scheidle Morsel. She had a sister named Regina. In the evening of 4 September 1942, Roni’s family was denounced and discovered in their hiding place at Rue des Fleuristes in Brussels. The complete family – Roni’s parents, maternal grandparents, uncle and aunt - were taken to the Dossin barracks and were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport VIII on 8 September 1942. However, Roni and Regina were transferred to the Jewish orphanage in Wezembeek-Oppem on 5 September 1942, a day after their family was rounded up. Both girls and the other children at the Wezembeek-Oppem home were arrested during a raid on 30 October 1942. Luckily the entire group was released the same day. Roni remained at the Wezembeek orphanage until her aunt Rachel, who lived in England, came and collected her and Regina in 1946.

Henri Wolfe was born in Luxemburg on 4 May 1938 as Henri Wolff. He was the son of Edmund Simon Wolff and Elvira Baum, and had an older sister named Jacqueline. Edmund, Elvira and Jacqueline were deported via Transports XX and XXI from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau and were murdered. Henri was arrested by the German authorities while staying with an aunt. Both were taken to the Dossin barracks, from where the aunt was deported and Henri was sent to the Jewish orphanage in Wezembeek-Oppem where he remained until he was adopted by an American family in 1947.

Paulette Cooper was born in Antwerp on 26 July 1942 as Paula Bucholc, the youngest daughter of Chaim Bucholc and Ruchla Minkowski. While Paula and her sister Sara (Suzy) survived, their parents were deported via Transport VIII and XIV from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and murdered. On 23 July 1943 Paulette and Suzy were arrested by the Sipo-SD and sent to the Dossin barracks. As unaccompanied children they were then transferred to the Jewish children’s home in Etterbeek known as the Baron de Castro orphanage. Paulette lived in several orphanages including the Wezembeek-Oppem orphanage and the Les Moineaux orphanage in Uccle before she was adopted and migrated to the United States in 1948.

Roger Kreisman was born in Paris on 10 March 1940 as the son of Elias Kreisman and Rojza (Rose) Gontowicz. During the war, Rose sent Roger to her sister Chana Gontowicz and brother-in-law Mojze Wartowsky in Antwerp, which Rose thought would be safer for her son. However, Mojze was deported via Transport V from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau and murdered. Chana moved to Brussels with Roger and took on the false identity of Maria Van Roosbroeck. Aunt and nephew were exposed and arrested by the German authorities. While Chana was deported via Transport XXV from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau, Roger was held for two weeks in Mechelen and was then sent to the Jewish orphanage Les Moineaux in Uccle. He survived the war there and was reunited with his parents in Paris in 1945.
On 17 January 2021, 11 child survivors of the Holocaust gathered for a zoom conference to meet each other 77 years after the end of the war. During the occupation of Belgium these children were housed in several orphanages - both Jewish and non-Jewish – where their paths crossed. They had not been in contact since they had left the orphanages. The meeting was coordinated by Reinier Heinsman.
Reinier Heinsman, 2021

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