Figowitz-Hoch family. Collection

Bijkomende meta info

This collection contains sixteen photos of the extended Figowitz-Hoch family, including photos of Hermann Figowitz and his wife Etta Hoch as well as their children Anna, Ignaz and Manfred ; photos of Ignaz Figowitz alias Glen Ferell with his family after the war ; a letter from an unidentified family member, probably Regina Figowitz-Pinchewski, the mother of Hermann Figowitz.
Content Date
Figowitz-Hoch family
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin as collection KD_00595
Carole Kaufman, Private collection, United States of America
Digital copy available as collection KD_00595 at Kazerne Dossin
Level of description
Extent and medium
26 digitised images (24 photos and 1 document)
Related units of description
Manfred Figowitz's photo which is part of this collection, was also added to the Give them a Face portrait collection (KD_00017).
Administrative and biographical
Hermann Figowitz was born in Lodz, Poland, on 16 November 1896 as the son of Chil and Regina Figowitz-Pinchewski. Hermann became a clothing fabrics merchant. On 18 May 1918 he married Etta Hoch in Berlin. Etta was born in Sanok, Poland, on 13 August 1890 as the daughter of Isak Aranowicz and Feige Hoch. Together Hermann and Etta would have three children: Anna (born in Berlin on 11 March 1919), Ignaz (born in Berlin on 8 October 1920) and Manfred (born in Dessau on 23 November 1927). In 1930 the Figowitz family successfully applied for German citizenship. However, due to anti-Jewish legislation implemented by the Nazi regime the family was stripped of their citizenship rights in 1934. After Kristallnacht the Figowitz-Hoch family decided to flee abroad. In November 1938 Ignaz Figowitz, who worked as a driver, travelled to Cologne. At the end of December 1938 he illegally crossed the German border into Belgium. Ignaz probably arrived in Antwerp on 3 January 1939 where he found living quarters at Charlottalei 62. Hermann and Manfred followed on 26 February 1939 and settled at Nottebohmstraat 4 in Antwerp where they were joined by Etta and Anna on 29 March 1939. By the end of November 1939 the Figowitz-Hoch family received a Belgian residence permit.
When leaving Germany in 1938, the Figowitz-Hoch family planned to emigrate to the United States of America where Hermann’s parents and five siblings lived. The Figowitz-Hoch family applied for American visa in 1940 and passed the medical exams which were part of the strict American immigration terms. However, Etta and Anna were not able to provide official identity records since these had been confiscated by the German police in Köln. The Belgian relief organisations Ezra and the Comité d'Assistance aux Réfugiés juifs intervened with the Belgian government but initially to no avail. On 8 may 1940 the requested documents were finally dispatched. Two days later the German army invaded Belgium, which made fleeing to America impossible for the Figowitz-Hoch family.
By 1940 the family had settled at Stoomstraat 5 in Antwerp. Hermann struggled to find a job and to provide for his family. At the end of 1940 oldest son Ignaz together with 3000 other Jews in Antwerp was relocated by the German Military Government with force to the Belgian province of Limburg. He was sent to live in the Gruitrode municipality before being forced to work in the labour camp Op Den Holven in Overpelt as of May 1941. He was detained in the prison of Hasselt from 16 June to 5 July 1941. After his release he settled in Brussels were he provided for himself by making sweaters, clothing and other tailoring products. Meanwhile Hermann, Etta, Anna and Manfred remained in Antwerp where they obeyed the German anti-Jewish decrees such as registration in the municipal Jewish register, becoming members of the Association of Jews in Belgium and wearing the yellow star.
In the summer of 1942 Hermann Figowitz (46 years old) was summoned as a forced labourer by the German enterprise Organsiation Todt. He was put to work on the Atlantic wall in Northern France, where he was held in the Boulogne St. Martin camp. During Hermann’s absence Etta (52 years old), Manfred (14 years old) and Anna (23 years old) received an Arbeitseinsatzbefehl or convocation for forced labour. The letter threatened with severe punishment for those that did not obey due to which Etta, Manfred and Anna presented themselves at the Dossin barracks on 27 August 1942. On 29 August 1942 they were deported via Transport VI to Auschwitz-Birkenau. All were murdered. Hermann Figowitz was deported from Northern France via Transport XVII to Auschwitz-Birkenau on 31 October 1942. He too was killed.
Ignaz Figowitz was arrested in Antwerp and arrived at the Dossin barracks in Mechelen on 8 October 1942, sadly the day of his 22nd birthday. He was deported via Transport XIII to Auschwitz-Birkenau on 10 October 1942 and was driven out of the train at Kosel. He was then sent to the Gogolin work camp and later to Waldenburg, a subcamp of Gross-Rosen. Ignaz was liberated there by Soviet military forces on 8 May 1945 after surviving 31 months of slave labour. Ignaz was repatriated to Belgium and spent two years in there. His whereabouts and activities for this period are uncertain. He himself referred to this time as his black market days. Ignaz migrated to the United States in 1947 where he was reunited with his paternal uncles and aunts in Cleveland. His uncle Abram alias Ally Figowitz was like a surrogate father to Ignaz. Ignaz met his future wife Doris, who was American born, at his uncle’s house. Doris ‘Americanised’ Ignaz by giving him the popular first name Glen. Ignaz changed his name officially to Glen Ferell, a family derivative of Figowitz. Ignaz and Doris built a family and had four children, all named after Ignaz’s deceased family members. Although many camp survivors were burdened with trauma, Ignaz remained a strong, kind and loving husband and father who provided emotional security for his children so they could embrace the world as a safe place. Ignaz Figowitz passed away at the age of 80 on 26 May 2001.
Carole Kaufman, daughter of Ignaz Figowitz, kindly donated scans of family photos to Kazerne Dossin in 2020. The original items were taken to the United States by Carole's paternal great-aunt Anna Figowitz who migrated to Cleveland before the war.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Carole Kaufman, daughter of Ignaz Figowitz, 2020
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