Gruszow-Oppenheimer family. Collection

Bijkomende meta info

This collection contains a bowler hat worn by Louis Bloch, father of donor Jean Bloch, as well as documents and photos regarding the Gruszow-Oppenheimer family, including family documents (work permits, passports, a wedding booklet, etc.) of Feiwel Gruszow and his wife Ilse Oppenheimer, letters sent by Feiwel Gruszow and Ilse Oppenheimer after their arrest to their hidden daughter Félicie Gruszow, a ready-to-wear yellow star and photos of the Gruszow-Oppenheimer family taken before the war.
Content Date
See Félicie Bloch-Gruszow's testimony published in: VANDORMAEL Herman, Verborgen oorlogsjaren. Ondergedoken Joodse kinderen getuigen, Tielt, 2009.
Jean and Félicie Bloch-Gruszow
French, Dutch, German, Polish
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
The bowler hat and yellow star are preserved in the textile collection.
The items that were not donated physically to the Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance, today Kazerne Dossin, remained part of the Bloch-Gruszow private family collection.
Level of description
Extent and medium
140 digitised images (22 documents, 38 photos and 2 objects)
Related units of description
Félicie Bloch-Gruszow also donated a painting created by deportee Charlotte Leitersdorf to Kazerne Dossin (KD_00575). Félicie's cousin José Papierbuch donated copies of several documents regarding his parents Nachman Papierbuch and Ruth Oppenheimer (KD_00053).
Administrative and biographical
Félicie Gruszow was born on 29 December 1931 in Antwerp as the only child of Feiwel Gruszow (born on 15 March 1901 in Dombrowa, Poland) and his wife Ilse Oppenheimer (born on 25 January 1906 in Neufreistett, Germany). Feiwel provided for his family as a diamond worker, while Ilse took care of their daughter. The family first lived at Lange Leemstraat in Antwerp, but moved to Kreeftstraat before the war. Félicie went to school nearby and had a normal childhood. Multiple family members lived close by, including Félicie’s maternal grandparents Elias Oppenheimer and Rosa Bloch, and her maternal aunt Ruth Oppenheimer with husband Nachman Papierbuch and son José.
On 10 May 1940 Nazi-Germany invaded Belgium. The Gruszow-Oppenheimer family obeyed the anti-Jewish decrees which ware announced as of the end of 1940. They registered in the municipal Jewish Register of Belgium, obeyed the curfew, became members of the Association of Jews in Belgium and wore the yellow star. After being denounced by a neighbour and nearly avoiding arrest during a raid in their street, Feiwel Oppenheimer in the fall of 1942 started looking for a hiding place. He found a house for him, his wife, his daughter and six more family members in the village of Petit-Han. There, Félicie befriended local girl Marie Marquet. In June 1943 disaster struck. Félicie’s maternal grandfather Elias Oppenheimer passed away in their hiding place. At five o’clock the following morning, when preparing for Elias’s clandestine funeral, the Sicherheitspolizei-Sicherheitsdienst raided the house. Feiwel, however, was able to convince a German officer that Félicie was not his daughter as a result of which she was allowed to stay behind with her grandmother Rosa, aunt Ruth and cousin José who all had real Suisse passports with false names.
After their arrest, Feiwel and his wife Ilse were first taken to the prison of Liège. From there they were transferred to the prison of Arlon and subsequently to the Dossin barracks in Mechelen. Feiwel and Ilse wrote several letters to their daughter in which they begged her rescuers to take good care of the little girl. Feiwel nor Ilse would survive deportation from the barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport XXII A on 20 September 1943.
As it had become too dangerous for Félicie to stay in Petit-Han after her parents had been arrested, the family of Marie Marquet found her another hiding place. Marie took the little girl on her bike to Durbuy where Félicie was placed at the monastery of the Soeurs de la Sagesse. The following 18 months Marie visited her there often. Félicie as well as her maternal grandmother, aunt and cousin thus survived the war after which Félicie was raised by her strict grandmother. She went back to school and later worked for the Antwerp branch of B’nai B’rith. Félicie married Jean Bloch with whom she had four children and multiple grandchildren. Jean too had suffered during the Holocaust as his father Louis Bloch was arrested in France while trying to flee to Switzerland and did not survive deportation to Buchenwald. Félicie became an active witness, giving her testimony to many school groups over the years. Félicie Bloch-Gruszow passed away on 6 July 2018.
Between 1995 and 2018 Félicie Gruszow and her husband Jean Bloch entrusted several original items and digital copies of items from their family archive to the Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance and its successor Kazerne Dossin.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Jean and Félicie Bloch-Gruszow, 1995-2018
  • Persoon
  • Object hiërarchie: 1 items