Bijkomende meta info
- This silk handkerchief shows the following embroidery: a forearm with the number 51825 and small triangle, the words "Auschwitz! Buchenwald! Belsen! N'oublions jamais…" and a red decorative border. On the back, in pencil, the words "Un jour à Laurenskirche" appear.
- Sarah Goldberg
- This object is stored in the textiles collection.
- 3 digitised images (1 object and 1 document)
- The family of Sarah Goldberg has donated her archival collection (KD_00300), containing photos and documents, to Kazerne Dossin.
Sarah Goldberg was born on 1st January 1921 in Radoszyce, Poland, as the daughter of Bereck Goldberg and Jenta Ejsenstejn. Jenta passed away only a few months after Sarah’s birth, leaving Bereck behind with five children: Estera (born on 10 June 1903 in Warta, Poland), twins Szypra alias Charlotte and Elja Lejba alias Leon (born on 1st October 1910 in Radoszyce), Chaja Dwojra alias Helene (born on 5 May 1916 in Radoszyce) and Sarah. Bereck was a Cohen and remarried Rywka Frenkel (born in 1885 in Lodz, Poland) in 1927. The Goldberg family lived several years in Lodz, before migrating to Belgium in 1929. Sarah Goldberg followed her father and older siblings in September 1930. The family settled in Anderlecht where Sarah went to school. Her brother-in-law Marcus Lustbader, husband of Estera Goldberg, made sure Sarah could go to the Marius Renard institute to study commerce. As a teenager, she became politically aware and developed an affinity with communism. She joined sports club Unité which served as a cover for political education and sold pins to collect money in support of the International Brigades fighting in the Spanish Civil War.
Upon the German invasion of Belgium on 10 May 1940, Sarah Goldberg fled south with her sister Estera and brother-in-law Marcus. The family ended up in Revel, France, where Sarah worked for the police commissioner, drafting lists of wanted republicans who had fought in the Spanish civil war and who had escaped from French internment camps. Sarah was able to warn several of the men before returning to Belgium later in 1940 where she joined the Jeunes Gardes Socialistes Unifiés and was involved in spreading clandestine leaflets. In 1941, Sarah joined the communist espionage network known as the Red Orchestra after being in contact with Herman Isbutsky. She took on the false name ‘Lily’, learned to operate a radio and how to send messages in Morse code. Many of her comrades were arrested, tortured and murdered. After Herman Isbutsky’s arrest in the summer of 1942, Sarah joined the armed partisans as ‘Denise’ and became a courier. She was also involved in the elimination of collaborators and snitches.
In the night of 4 June 1943 Sarah Goldberg was arrested in her hiding place in Forest, Brussels, together with her fiancée Chaim Hersz alias Henri Wajnberg (born on 29 December 1921 in Warsaw, Poland). The couple only admitted to being Jewish and was sent to the Dossin barracks where they were reunited with several of their friends from the resistance. On 31 July 1943, Sarah and Henri were deported from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport XXI. An en route escape attempt failed. Henri would be killed on 25 January 1944 after five months of slave labour in the Jaworzno camp. Sarah, upon arrival and after being selected as a forced labourer, joined the camp resistance and became part of the group of Mala Zimetbaum and Mala’s cousin Gitel alias Giza Wachspress. Sarah survived typhoid fever and the death marches to Ravensbrück and Malchow in January 1945. She was eventually liberated in April 1945 and repatriated to Belgium.
Upon her return, Sarah Goldberg learned her only surviving relative was her oldest sister Estera Goldberg who had survived the war hidden in a monastery in Tienen with her baby boy Marc Lustbader. Estera’s husband Marcus Lustbader had been deported from the Dossin barracks via Transport XX but survived and was repatriated from Buchenwald. Sarah’s father Bereck Goldberg and stepmother Rywka Frenkel did not survive deportation via Transport XI on 26 September 1942. Her three other siblings were also killed.
In 1949, Sarah married Icek alias Jacques Goldberg, widower of Anne Dorn, and father of Paul and André Goldberg. Jacques (born on 3 May 1916 in Warsaw, Poland) and his family had survived the war with the help of priest Laurent Couppé, posing as the Goffin family. In 1942, when the Sicherheitspolizei-Sicherheitsdienst had come to arrest Jacques’ brother Simon who was a resistance fighter, their father Pinkas Goldberg had been arrested instead of his son and Couppé had tried to intervene but without any luck. Pinkus would not survive deportation from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport V. Simon Goldberg too would be arrested and deported. He perished in Dachau a few days before the liberation. However, Couppé was able to rescue Jacques who was involved in distributing illegal newspapers, as well as Jacques’ mother Falle Mendelson and siblings Mina and Henri Goldberg by finding them different hiding places. In 1974, Laurent Couppé was recognised as a Righteous amongst the Nations by Yad Vashem.
After the marriage of Sarah Goldberg and Jacques Goldberg which would lead to the birth of two more sons named Michel and Simon, the couple remained in close contact with Laurent Couppé until Couppé’s death in 1986. Sarah and Jacques became very active members of associations of former resistance fighters and deportees, including the association of the Independent Front or Front de l’Indépendance. Sarah was recognised as a political prisoner and received medals for her resistance activities. The couple continued to fight for human rights and Sarah became one of the first members of the Belgian branch of Amnesty International. She was a much appreciated witness who spoke to many school groups about her experiences during the war. Jacques Goldberg passed away in 1994, Sarah Goldberg in 2003. In 2013 a street in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, Brussels, was named after them.
- While recovering in Blankenberge from 9 October to 31 December 1945 camp survivor Sarah Goldberg met general practitioner Jozef Van Damme (1912-1965). Sarah herself presumably gave him a handkerchief with her tattoo number embroidered on it as a token of her appreciation. After the death of Jozef Van Damme his widow Godelieve Ketele (1912-1998) cherished the object, although the identity of the donor remained unknown to her. The handkerchief was wrapped in silk paper with the inscription "from a patient - war 1940-45" in Godelieve’s handwriting. After the passing of Godelieve in 1998, the item was recovered by her son Piet Van Damme. Kazerne Dossin helped Piet to identify the creator of the handkerchief, after which he kindly donated the original item to Kazerne Dossin in 2019.
- Piet Van Damme, son of Jozef Van Damme, 2019