Maurice Horoit. Interview

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In this interview Maurice Horoit alias Horowitz talks about: his youth in Antwerp, Belgium ; antisemitism in Antwerp ; his friends at the Tachkemoni school ; fleeing to and hiding in France ; making his way to Switzerland with his brother and surviving there ; the reunion with his parents and their repatriation to Belgium.
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Maurice Horowitz. Interview
Maurice Horoit, interviewed by Dorien Styven (researcher at Kazerne Dossin)
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin
Level of description
Extent and medium
1 interview (1 part - 46 minutes)
Administrative and biographical
Maurice Horoit was born as Maurice Horowitz on 11 July 1928 in Antwerp, Belgium. His parents Sachar Horowitz (born on 26 March 1898 in Dukla, Poland) and Mariem Stern (born on 8 January 1900 in Dukla, Poland) emigrated from Poland to Belgium in 1920 and 1925. Sachar was a diamond trader and was well known in the diamond business, Mariem took care of the household. The family was observant religious although not orthodox. Every Friday they celebrated Shabbat at the house of Maurice’s grandparents Jacob Horowitz and Rosa Zins. The family lived at Plantin and Moretuslei 43 in Antwerp. A year after Maurice’s birth, on 11 July 1929, his mother Mariem gave birth to a second son who was named Julien. Maurice had a normal childhood, going to school at Tachkemoni, and playing with his friends.
On 10 May 1940, Nazi-Germany invaded Belgium. The Horowitz family tried to continue life as usual, but obeyed the anti-Jewish measures. Sachar registered his family in the municipal Jewish Register and the family members wore the yellow star. Maurice himself, however, never experienced any antisemitism directed towards him in Antwerp although one of his teachers joined the Flemish SS and was sent to the eastern front.
After the raids in Antwerp in August 1942 the Horowitz family hid away in their own home until they fled from Belgium to France in September that year. A female Jewish human traficker who was also a member of the resistance escorted them on a train to Nice, France, where the local Cismone family housed them. Both families had to communicate by sign language since they didn’t speak each other’s language. In Nice, the Horowitz family lived freely and Maurice was able to go to school.
Upon the German occupation of Nice in October 1943, Sachar and Mariem went into hiding in the city, moving from hiding place to hiding place. Maurice and Julien were sent to Switzerland with a group of 20 other children. Maurice was 15 years old and the oldest group member. When arriving at the Suisse border, the group illegally crossed into the country. Maurice Horowitz and his brother Julien were housed in several refugee and work camps in Switzerland. In September 1944, after the liberation of France, the brothers were reunited with their parents in Nice.
In 1945, Maurice and his family returned to their apartment in Antwerp. Maurice returned to school, but only found four former friends from his class. The other 31 pupils had all been deported and killed. He also lost several family members who became victims of the Holocaust. Later on Maurice opened his own restaurant, married and changed his name from Horowitz to Horoit. In 2017 he identified on a photo of the Tachkemoni school his former classmates thanks to which their portraits could be added to the commemoration wall at Kazerne Dossin.
On 19 December 2018 Maurice Horoit permitted the staff of Kazerne Dossin to interview him.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Maurice Horoit, 2018
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