Bijkomende meta info
- This collection contains: one portrait of the extended Ehrenfeld family ; five photos of Anna Lambrechts walking down a street or at the Antwerp Stadspark (city park) in the company of Marcel and/or Sylvain Ehrenfeld, sons of her employer Jacques Ehrenfeld ; a photo of brothers Marcel and Sylvain Ehrenfeld walking down a street ; a wartime ID card of Anna Lambrechts' husband August Bosmans
- Anna Lambrechts, maid of the Ehrenfeld family
- Digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin as collection KD_00598
- Peter Van Hoecke, private collection, Booischot
- Digital copy available as collection KD_00598 at Kazerne Dossin
- 9 digitised images (7 photos and 1 document)
- The photos of Marcel Ehrenfeld, Sylvain Ehrenfeld, Eliezer Friedmann, Max Friedmann, Myriam Friedmann, Ruth Friedmann and Gisela Ehrenfeld, which are part of this collection, were also added to the Give them a Face portrait collection (KD_00017).
Jacques Ehrenfeld was born in Antwerp on 9 April 1900 as the son of butcher Sigismund David Ehrenfeld (born in Nitra, then Hungary, on 23 April 1866) and his wife Jenny Hirsch (born in Csorna, Hungary, on 16 August 1867). Jacques had at least two older brothers (no further information) and a younger sister named Gisela who was born in Antwerp on 18 October 1903. The Ehrenfeld-Hirsch family was very religious and built their own house at Stoomstraat 11 in Antwerp. At the outbreak of the First World War the family fled to Scheveningen, the Netherlands. They returned to Belgium in the early 1920s. Jacques first became a diamond cutter and later a diamond dealer. He obtained Belgian nationality on 12 October 1920 and subsequently fulfilled his military service.
On 6 February 1934 Jacques married Hene Feige alias Henny Schachter. Henny had been born on 25 August 1909 at Lancut, Poland, as the daughter of David Schachter and Ester Rozen-Knobloch. Together with her parents she lived in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. It remains unclear how she and Jacques met. Perhaps during a visit of Henny to her uncle Moses Schachter in Antwerp. After their wedding the couple settled at Van den Nestlei 19 in Antwerp where Henny gave birth to their two sons: Sylvain on 13 March 1935 and Marcel on 25 September 1937. Unfortunately Henny passed away not long after. Jacques hired catholic governess and maid Anna Lambrechts to take care of his sons. She was possibly introduced to the Ehrenfeld family via her husband August Bosmans who was a diamond worker and who would later flee to Great-Britain to join the RAF. Among other activities, Anna took Marcel and Sylvain Ehrenfeld for walks and to the city park.
Jacques’ sister Gisela Ehrenfeld also built a family of her own. On 18 June 1924 she married school teacher Josef Friedmann who was born on 4 January 1898 in Rzeszow, Poland. The couple would have five children together, all born in Antwerp: Therese (born on 15 April 1925), Max (born on 28 June 1927), Eleazer (born on 19 January 1929), Myriam (born on 7 September 1935) and Ruth (21 August 1939).
When Nazi-Germany invaded Belgium on 10 May 1940 Jacques and his sons Marcel and Sylvain still lived at Van den Nestlei 19. The Ehrenfeld family obeyed the anti-Jewish decrees that were installed as of 28 October 1940. Jacques, his parents and his sister Gisela’s family registered in the municipal Jewish register, had their ID cards stamped with the words “Jood-Juif” and became members of the Association of Jews in Belgium (AJB). Not only did the Erenfelds become members, several of them excepted positions within the AJB. Jacques himself became a board member of the Antwerp branch of the AJB on 1 January 1942. As of 15 February 1942 he also headed the local AJB social services and in April 1942 he joined the AJB’s national welfare board. Jacques’ brother-in-law Josef Friedmann became a member of the educational board of the Antwerp section of the AJB, while Jacques’ sister Gisela was a teacher at several of the Jewish schools. Working for the AJB guarenteed the Ehrenfeld family, including the parents Sigismund and Jenny, protection from deportation.
However, the employment cards did not guarantee protection from arrest and the exemption from deportation for Jews who did not have Belgian nationality was redrawn quickly as well. On 31 October 1942 Jacques Ehrenfeld was arrested. On 13 November 1942 he was transferred to the Dossin barracks in Mechelen where he was registered for deportation via Transport XVIII. However, his colleagues from the AJB were able to pull him from the list. During his detainment at the Dossin barracks his sick and elderly parents who had moved in with Jacques in March 1942 were not able to take care of his sons Marcel and Sylvain, due to which the boys were placed (temporarily) at the Jewish children’s home at Lange Leemstraat 313.
During his detainment at the Dossin barracks Jacques witnessed the deportation of his sister Gisela, his brother-in-law Josef and their four youngest children. Although Josef and Gisela had been able to prevent their oldest children Therese and Max from being summoned for forced labour, their connections with the AJB were no longer able to protect them by the end of 1942. Gisela and Josef together with Max, Eleazer, Myriam and Ruth were arrested and registered at the Dossin barracks on 12 January 1943. Three days later, on 15 January 1943, all were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport XVIII. None of them survived. Jozef and Gisela’s oldest daughter Therese had been arrested on 12 September 1942 during the third large round-up in Antwerp and was killed too after being deported from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau via transport X on 15 September 1942.
On 26 and 29 June 1943 the Nazis released hundreds of Jews with Belgian nationality from the Dossin barracks. Among them also Jacques Ehrenfeld. During his detainment Jacques’ health had deteriorated due to which he visited a doctor regularly. On 15 July 1943, when Jacques was visiting a doctor in Brussels, his home at Van den Nestlei was invaded by the Nazis. Jacques’ parents Sigismund and Jenny were arrested. Jenny Hirsch was loaded onto a waiting truck and was taken to the Dossin barracks. Sigismund was so sick that he was not taken to Mechelen but was transferred to the Sint-Erasmus hospital where he would pass away on 1st November 1943. Jacques’ colleagues from the AJB tried to obtain a transfer to an elderly home for Jenny but to no avail. She was murdered after deportation via transport XXI to Auschwitz-Birkenau on 31 July 1943.
Jacques himself was arrested again later in 1943 under unknown circumstances and was registered at the Dossin barracks as person 204 on transport XXIIB (Belgians). His sons Marcel and Sylvain were registered on the same list as persons 296 and 297, although it remains unclear if the boys were arrested together with their father or separately. It is possible that their maid Anna Lambrechts was arrested together with the Ehrenfeld family and that she was tortured. However, according to information provided by Anna’s family she was released when Jacques Ehrenfeld convinced the guards that Anna was truly catholic. Transport XXIIB with Jacques and his sons left the Dossin barracks on 20 September 1943 and arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau on 22 September 1943. Jacques nor his sons survived. Anna cherished their memory for the rest of her life.
- During and perhaps even before the war Anna Lambrechts served as a maid in the household of widower Jacques Ehrenfeld, taking care of his two sons. Anna saved photos of her and the boys as well as a portrait of the Ehrenfeld family after the Ehrenfelds were all deported. When Anna Lambrechts passed away the photos were inherited by her son Guy Bosmans who entrusted them to neighbour Peter Van Hoecke. Peter and Guy kindly permitted Kazerne Dossin to digitise the original photos as well as a wartime ID card of Anna Lambrechts’ husband August Bosmans.
- Peter Van Hoecke and Guy Bosmans, 2020