Borowski-Wajuryk family. Collection

Bijkomende meta info

This collection contains eight photos including a pre-war photo of Zima Herman Borowski with friends Eva Kupferstein and Malvine Reisenfeld, a pre-war photo of Nathalie Borowski's friend Pinkus (Paul) Fremder, a war-time photo of Zima Herman Borowski wearing the yellow Star of David, a photo from Nathalie Borowski's cheder (Hebrew and religious school) in Seraing when celebrating Hanukah in 1941, a wartime photo of Zima Herman Borowski wearing a priest's clothes while in hiding at a Jesuit monastery, and three post-war photos of the leftist Zionist youth movement Dror in Seraing and Liège.
Content Date
Nathalie Borowski, daughter of Jacob Borowski and Zelma Wajuryk
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin
Nathalie Borowski, private collection, Israel; Beit Hatfutsot - The Museum of the Jewish People, Israel
Digital copy available as collection KD_00129 at Kazerne Dossin
Level of description
Extent and medium
8 digitised images (8 photocopied photos)
Related units of description
See the collection of interviews by Johannes Blum (KD_00016) for the testimony of Nathalie Borowski
Administrative and biographical
Nathalie Borowski was born on 5 June 1926 in Seraing, Belgium. Her father Jacob Borowski (born on 26 May 1897 in Warsaw, Poland) had emigrated to Dortmund, Germany, in 1920. There he met and religiously married the Polish Zelma Wajuryk (born on 17 April 1898 in Michow, Poland) who had arrived in Germany in 1921. A son named Zima Herman was born on 13 February 1923. In 1924 Jacob Borowski moved to Belgium. His wife and son followed a year later. The family settled in Seraing, where daughter Nathalie was born. Jacob first worked as a miner, later as a textile dealer travelling the markets with his own stall. He also became the president of the synagogue in Seraing. The Borowski family had a very active social life including many friends, participating in services, social events and the leftist Zionist Dror youth movement. Although several relatives left for Palestine, the Borowskis remained in Belgium.
When Nazi-Germany invaded Belgium on 10 May 1940, the Borowski family first fled to Mouscron, Belgium, then to Toulouse, France. Unable to reach Spain, they returned to Belgium in June 1941. Nathalie continued school in Liège, while the family obeyed the anti-Jewish decrees, registering with the Association of Jews in Belgium and wearing the yellow star. In July 1942 they received word that families which sent one of their sons to work on the Atlantic Wall would be left unharmed. On 3 August 1942 Zima Herman Borowski was deported to northern France as a forced labourer for Organisation Todt. On 31 October 1942, Zima Herman was deported from France via the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau on Transport XVI. However, he was able to jump from the train and went into hiding in a Jesuit monastery wearing a priest’s clothes. Zima Herman Borowski thus survived the war and remained in contact with his rescuers after liberation.
Meanwhile father Jacob Borowski hid in a catholic hospital, while Nathalie and her mother Zelma worked in the FN arms factory in Herstal. The women were nearly arrested during a raid in Seraing, but were able to flee their house after neighbours convinced the Germans that they were not home. The family then went into hiding on a farm in Jemeppe-sur-Meuse. From 1943 until liberation Nathalie was placed as Nicole Boulanger with the Van Roy family in Couette-Saint-Pierre.
The Borowski family was reunited in Liège at the end of 1944, although their home was ransacked and they lost everything. Nathalie and her brother quickly reconnected with their friends. They re-joined the Dror youth movement and became active as leaders in the Seraing branch. They also helped re-establish the movement in Liège. Nathalie married in 1950, started a family and emigrated to Israel in 2004, her father Jacob having passed away in Liège in 1981, her mother Zelma in 1985 and her brother Zima Herman in 2003.
At the end of 1944 Nathalie Borowski, her parents and brother returned to their ransacked family home in Seraign, where they salvaged as many damaged photos from the rubble as they could. From then on, Nathalie carefully kept all future photos. She provided Kazerne Dossin with digital copies of a selection of items from her collection.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Nathalie Borowski, 2003
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