Meisel-Goldstein family. Collection

Bijkomende meta info

This collection consists of: photos of Leon Meisel, his wife Rachel Goldstein and their children Catherine alias Katja and Philippe Meisel who were all deported and murdered ; a photo of family friend Florence Ciparisse who tried to rescue Philippe Meisel ; a photo of Sacha Goldstein, cousin of Rachel Goldstein, who visited Namur in the 1960s to look for traces of his deported relatives ; a business card of one of the Meisel-Goldstein family friends who assisted Sacha Goldstein in his search ; three letters from Sacha Goldstein to the Ciparisse sisters commemorating the deportation of his relatives and recounting his research ; three newspaper clippings on the death of abbé Joseph André, Righteous among the Nations from Namur.
1933-1973
Sacha Goldstein, cousin of the Meisel-Goldstein family
French
Latin
Digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin
Alain Guilitte, Private collection, Belgium
Digital copy available at Kazerne Dossin as KD_00574
KD_00574
Collection
25 digitised images (13 photos and 8 documents)
The pictures of Catherine alias Katja and Philippe Meisel which are part of this collection, were also added to the Give them a Face portrait collection (KD_00017).
Leon Meisel was born in Sambor, Poland, on 29 October 1908 as the son of Gittel Meisel (father unknown). He became a book printer apprentice and moved to Krakow. In 1929 he found a job with the Belgian printing company Jakubovitz at Terliststraat in Antwerp. In March that year, Leon migrated to Belgium. He settled at Somersstraat 61 in Antwerp, but quickly moved to Spa and changed jobs earning a living as a knitwear dealer. His neighbours at Rue Albin Body 24 in Spa were siblings Herman and Rachel Goldstein. Rachel was born in Sambor, Poland, on 25 October 1910 and had moved to Belgium in 1932 to study at the university in Liège. Rachel and Leon fell in love. In 1934, Leon moved to Namur where he found a house at Rue des Carmes 57. He opened a shop and Rachel followed him to the city. She moved in with Leon and worked in the store as a saleswoman. On 29 May 1935 the couple married in the city hall and on 18 April 1939 Rachel gave birth to a baby girl in Liège. Although the child was officially named Catherine she would be called Katja.
The Meisel-Goldstein family still lived in Namur when Nazi-Germany invaded Belgium on 10 May 1940. Leon tried to provide for his family while obeying the anti-Jewish decrees. In November 1940 he registered himself and his family in the municipal Jewish Register. On 24 September 1941 Rachel gave birth to a son named Philippe who was immediately added to his father’s entry. The following years life for the Meisel-Goldstein family became more and more restricted. They received support from non-Jewish friends such as the Red Cross nurse Florence Ciparisse and her sister Marie-Antoinette Ciparisse who brought the family food when it became too dangerous to leave their house.
In the early morning of 6 October 1942, Leon, Rachel, Katja and Philippe were arrested at 41 Avenue de Marlagne in Namur. They were held at the Namur prison before they were escorted to the local train station. Florence Ciparisse, after receiving an anonymous phone call informing her about the arrest, hurried to the station where she met the Meisel-Goldstein family. The German guards let her play with the children, but when Florence tried to run away with baby Philippe in her arms they stopped her and forced her to leave the child behind. On 7 October 1942 Leon, Rachel, Katja and Philippe were registered at the Dossin barracks as persons 198 to 201 on the deportation list of transport XIII. Three days later, on 10 October 1942, the train left for Auschwitz-Birkenau. Leon was probably separated from his family at the station of Kosel where all able-bodied men were hurdled out of the train to be sent to labour camps. Leon Meisel perished under unknown circumstances. Rachel together with Katja and Philippe arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Since Katja was only 3,5 years old and Philippe 13 months, all three of them were presumably sent to the gas chamber immediately. None of the Meisel-Goldstein family members survived deportation. Florence and Marie-Antoinette Ciparisse and their families have cherished the memory of their Jewish friends for the rest of their lives.
When the Meisel-Goldstein family was arrested, several of their photo negatives stayed behind at photography studio Piron located at Rue de Bruxelles in Namur. In 1965 Sacha Goldstein, cousin of the Meisel-Goldstein family who fled to Colombia before the war, visited the city. Before and after he wrote several letters to the Ciparisse sisters. During his stay, Sacha together with Marie-Anne Guilitte-Chantraine, the daughter of Marie-Antoinette Ciparisse, discovered the photos at the Piron studio. Several friends of the Meisel-Goldstein family, including sisters Marie-Antoinette and Florence Ciparisse as well as misses Hsmann-Hennuy, then assisted in identifying the members of the Meisel-Goldstein. Sacha Goldstein subsequently created a small commemorative album in honour of his family. Alain Guilitte, son of Marie-Anne Guilitte-Chantraine, kept the letters and photographs. He kindly donated copies of the items to Kazerne Dossin in 2019.
Alain Guilitte, grandson of Marie-Antoinette Ciparisse who befriended the Meisel-Goldstein in Namur, 2019

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