Bijkomende meta info
- This collection contains: three pre-war photos of members of the Antwerp sports club Joodse Arbeiders Sportklub or JASK [English: Jewish Workers Sports Club (Antwerp) or YASK], including Philip Swaab and possibly a brother or future brother-in-law called Marcel ; a pre-war group photo of pupils at a school or colony, including Bertha and Eugenie alias Jennie Tygel ; two pre-war photos of Philip Schwaab with friends ; one post-war portrait of Philip Schwaab ; a certificate issued by the Dutch branche of the Red Cross in Switzerland to Philip Schwaab for passing an exam
- Swaab-Tygel family
- Digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin
- Simonne Swaab, Private collection
- Digital copy available as collection KD_00148 at Kazerne Dossin
- 8 digitised images (7 photos and 1 document)
Philip Swaab was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on 13 January 1922 as the son of Jacob Swaab (born on 2 December 1880 in Amsterdam) and Selly Jacobs (born on 2 April 1878 in Amsterdam). Philip had at least five older siblings who were all born in the Dutch capital: Samuel on 25 June 1905, Sara on 7 March 1908, Anna on 8 March 1913, Samson on 7 July 1915 and Jacques on 3 June 1918. In December 1925 Philip’s father Jacob migrated from the Netherlands to Belgium. Philip, his mother Selly and at least three of his siblings – Anna, Samson and Jacques – followed him in January 1926. It is likely that Sara had moved to Antwerp earlier on, and that Samuel remained in the Netherlands.
The Swaab family first settled at Breydelstraat 33 in Antwerp, but on 2 August 1932 disaster struck as Philip’s mother Selly passed away. Father Jacob subsequently returned to the Netherlands with Philip and Jacques, the two youngest children. When they returned to Antwerp in September 1933, they settled at Somersstraat 31. After finishing school, Philip became an apprentice goldsmith. He also joined the Yiddisher Arbeter Sport Klub (YASK) or Joodse Arbeiders Sportklub (JASK) [Jewish Workers Sports Club]. JASK was founded in Antwerp in 1936 as an inclusive sports club, accessible for all Jewish youth. The organisation was anti-fascist and neutral towards Zionism, but became strongly attached to Jewish communist circles and Prokor. Between 1936 and 1940 JASK became the central organisation for Jewish communist community life in Antwerp and during the war many of its members would join the resistance. Philip Swaab became a member of the JASK gymnastics team and participated in competitions and international events.
When Nazi-Germany invaded Belgium on 10 May 1940, Philip lived at Leeuwerikstraat 9 in Antwerp. He shared the house with his father Jacob Swaab, his step-mother Laja Garbous (born on 3 May 1893 in Pinsk, Belarus), his half-sister Selma Swaab (born on 29 June 1935 in Antwerp) and several of Laja’s children from her first marriage. Philip obeyed the anti-Jewish decrees, registering in the municipal Jewish Register on 19 December 1940 and becoming a member of the Association of Jews in Belgium in May 1942. On 9 June 1942 he married Bertha Tybel who had been born in Borgerhout on 16 July 1922. On 7 July 1942 the couple moved in together. By 16 August 1942, Philip had been claimed as a forced labourer for the German enterprise Organisation Todt. However, he and his wife Bertha were able to flee to France and to enter Switzerland on 14 October 1942, where they survived the war.
Philip lost several family members during the war. His father Jacob, his step-mother Laja Garbous and his half-sister Selma were arrested during the first large anti-Jewish raid in Antwerp in the night of 15 on 16 August 1942. All were deported form the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport IV and murdered. Philip’s sister Anna was deported from the Netherlands to Sobibor in 1943 and was killed as well.
Philip’s other siblings – Samuel, Sara, Samson and Jacques – presumably all survived the war. Samson Swaab was deported to northern France on 12 June 1942 to work as a slave labourer for the German company Organisation Todt, responsible for building the Atlantic Wall. Because of his marriage to the non-Jewish Julia Storms, he was not deported from the work camps to Auschwitz-Birkenau, but was transferred to the Dossin barracks on 26 December 1942. When, in January 1943, the camp commander of the barracks discovered that some prisoners had tangled with parcels (the so-called Jacoby affaire), he sent 37 men to the Breendonk camp for political prisoners as a punishment. Samson was among the men and tried to escape during the transfer, but he was shot multiple times by the guards. Samson was then transferred to the military hospital in Antwerp and was sent to Breendonk on 5 March 1943 after he recovered from his wounds. He was returned to the Dossin barracks on 8 June 1943 and was released on 12 June 1943 because of his marriage to Julia, with whom he had at least two children. After his release from the Dossin barracks Samson was arrested again on 25 August 1943 and was held at the Antwerp prison at Begijnenstraat until 28 September 1943 after which he was not arrested again. Samson and his family survived the war. Jacques Swaab was held at the Dossin barracks from 18 February 1943 until 8 May 1943 when he was released because of his marriage to the catholic Anna Dierckx. He was, however, caught during a black market deal and was sent to the Antwerp prison at Begijnenstraat on 21 June 1943. On 26 February or 2 March 1944 Jacques was transferred to the Saint-Gilles prison from where he was presumably deported. He survived Auschwitz and Mauthausen and was repatriated to Belgium on 18 May 1945.
- In 2008 the Swaab-Tygel family entrusted the Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance, predecessor of Kazerne Dossin, with digital copies of several photos and a document from their family archive.
- Simonne Swaab, 2008