Violin of Maurice Flam. Item

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This item is a violin used by an unidentified prisoner to play for the guards at the Dora concentration camp and taken to Belgium by camp survivor Maurice Flam in 1945.
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
The violin is in semi-good condition. The instrument is not stringed.
Level of description
Extent and medium
1 digitised image (1 object)
Related units of description
More information on Leopold Flam, brother of Maurice Flam, can be found in the Flam-Isbutsky family collection (KD_00101).
Administrative and biographical
Maurice Flam was born in Antwerp, Belgium, on 3 October 1921 as the son of Hersch alias Herman Flam (born on 29 September 1876 in Lublin, Poland) and Mala Weitz (born in 1882 in Chelm, Poland). He had an older brother named Leopold Flam (born on 16 March 1912 in Antwerp, Belgium). The family lived at Van Spangenstraat 1 in Antwerp. Maurice became a compositor’s apprentice at the Jacobowitz and Co printing shop, “De Jiddische Presse”, at Terliststraat in Antwerp. He was also a member of the Joodse Arbeiderssportklub or JASK in Antwerp, a sports club for Jewish working class youth under communist influence. After father Herman Flam passed away on 8 April 1934, mother Malka provided for her family selling Hebrew and Yiddish newspapers and magazines at the entrance of the Diamantkring in Antwerp.
When Nazi-Germany invaded Belgium on 10 May 1940, Maurice was still living with his mother in Antwerp. The family obeyed the anti-Jewish decrees, registering e.g. in the municipal Jewish register and becoming members of the Association of Jews in Belgium. As of the summer of 1942 deportations began. However, Maurice had obtained Belgian citizenship in 1939 and his nationality initially protected him. He was nonetheless arrested and as of 28 June 1943 he was detained at the Fort of Breendonk as a political prisoner.
On 6 May 1944, Maurice Flam was deported to Buchenwald. He also survived forced labour at the Dora concentration camp and Bergen-Belsen. In Dora, Maurice befriended a fellow-inmate, a violinist forced to play for the German guards. Upon the death of his friend, Maurice took care of the artist’s violin. Maurice Flam survived deportation and was repatriated to Belgium in 1945, taking the violin with him. However, Maurice was in terrible physical condition, his lungs having been destroyed, and he passed away not long after his repatriation. Maurice was buried in Dilbeek and his brother Leopold took care of the violin until it was donated to Kazerne Dossin.
Maurice Flam received this violin from a friend in the Dora concentration camp. The unidentified friend, a musician, was forced to play for the guards in the camp. Just before his death the man asked Maurice Flam to take his violin and bring it back to Belgium after the war. Maurice survived deportation and respected his friend's wish, taking the violin with him upon repatriation in 1945. However, when Maurice himself passed away shortly after his return to Belgium, his brother Leopold Flam saved the violin for decades. Leopold's son and Maurice's nephew Platon Flam kindly donated the original object to Kazerne Dossin in 2019 with the assistance of Roger-Charles Jacobs.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Platon Flam and Roger-Charles Jacobs, 2019
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