Berneman-Flam family. Collection

Bijkomende meta info

This collection contains pre-war photos of the inhabitants of the town Kozienice, Poland ; post-war photos depicting Pinie Berneman's stay in a Suisse sanatorium in 1946 ; a book on the history of the Jewish community of Kozienice published in 1969 ; additions to the book by Pinie Berneman ; post-war newspaper clippings regarding the war in Poland ; audio-visual testimonies of Pinie Berneman and Chana Flam by the Steven Spielberg Foundation ; audio-visual testimony of Rosie Berneman by Kazerne Dossin.
Content Date
KAPLINSKI Baruch, Kozienice. A history of Jews in Poland, written 27 years after the destruction of our hometown, Tel Aviv, 1969.
Pinie and Chana Berneman-Flam, and their daughter Rosie Berneman
Hebrew, English, Dutch
Hebrew, Latin
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin
Rosie Berneman, Private collection, Belgium
Level of description
Extent and medium
3 interviews and 158 digital images (44 photos, 7 documents, 13 newspaper clippings and 1 book)
Administrative and biographical
Rose alias Rosie Berneman is the daughter of Szoel Pinie Berneman (born on 19 January 1917) and Chana Flam (born on 2 February 1920). Both Pinie and Chana were born in Kozienice, Poland, famous for its rabbi who advised Napoleon. Pinie came from a large and well-to-do family. His father owned a tailoring business where Pinie worked before the war. Chana was the daughter of a local shoe maker. The two met after Pinie befriended Chana’s brother. Before the war three of Pinie’s siblings migrated to Belgium.
On 1st September 1939, Nazi-Germany invaded Poland. Even after the creation of the ghetto in the Fall of 1940, Pinie and Chana tried to maintain a normal life. However, both were sent with other young men and women from Kozienice to work in the surroundings of the town. On 27 September 1942, while they were away working, the Kozienice ghetto was cleared out. Almost the complete community was deported to Treblinka in one day and all were killed upon arrival. In December 1942 the last 70 to 120 Jewish inhabitants of the town were deported. During the elimination of the ghetto Chana lost her parents, her sister and her brother with his family, while Pinie lost his parents and his brother with family.
Pinie, two brothers of his and Chana were at the time forced to work in the village of Mozolice where they escaped a mass shooting on 11 November 1942. They were able to reach Wolka and tried to return to Kozienice where they were arrested by the Germans. They were then forced to march to Radom and from there to Szydlowiec where they are detained in the ghetto for 12 days. Mid-December Pinie, Chana and Pinie’s brothers Kalmen and Rachmiel are sent to Pionki where they are put to work in an amunitions factory where they remain until 27 July 1944.
Pinie, his brothers and Chana were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where men and women were separated upon arrival. Chana stayed there for one month, after which she was sent to the labour camp Bomlitz. Pinie was sent to a camp near Sosnowice. On 19 Januari 1945, Pinie and Kalmen were sent on a death march to Mauthausen where they arrived on 2 February 1945. The brothers were liberated by the American army at Günskirchen on 4 May 1945 after which they learned that Rachmiel had not survived. When asked about their place of origin, Pinie declared he was from Belgium since he had two brothers and a sister there. Pinie was then sent to Switzerland to recover.
Chana Flam was liberated while in a train en route to Stuttgart. When a bomb hit their wagon, she and other women escaped and were able to avoid capture again. She was finally liberated by the Sovjet Army on 24 April 1945. After the armistice, Chana shortly returned to Kozienice. Other people had moved into her family home and she was advised to leave because there was no future for her in the town. Believing Pinie had been killed, she then reported at the Red Cross to learn who else survived. Chana found cousins in Lodz, where after a few months looking for information she learned that Pinie had survived and was in Switzerland. He was to arrive in Belgium on 21 July 1946, where he was soon joined by Chana.
In the post-war years Pinie and Chana would have four children of who Rosie is the oldest. While Chana talked about what had happened, Pinie only started to after the birth of his two youngest daughters. He, however, was very much interested in anything related to the Holocaust, watching every documentary in search for information about Kozienice and their community. Pinie passed away in X, Chana in 2011.
In 2017 Rosie Berneman, oldest daughter of Pinie and Chana Berneman-Flam, kindly permitted Kazerne Dossin to interview her. Afterwards, she also allowed the research centre to digitise the dozens of photos and newspaper clippings collected by her parents, as well as the book on the history of Kozienice where Pinie and Chana were born. Upon Rosie’s request, two interviews of her parents conducted by the Steven Spielberg Foundation in 1996 were also added to the collection. These are only accessible at the Kazerne Dossin reading room.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Rosie Berneman, daughter of Pinie and Chana Berneman-Flam

Object hiërarchie: 1 items