Frieda Beirnaert and Van Beylen family. Collection

Bijkomende meta info

This collection contains : digitised copies of two pages from the poetry album of Frieda Beirnaert with drawings created by her Jewish school mates Rosa Seewald and Miriam (Maria) Hauser ; a digitised copy of a page from the poetry album of Frieda Beirnaert with autographs of several British soldiers which signed the album after the Liberation ; a table cloth given by a Jewish family to Frieda Beirnaert’s aunt for safekeeping during the war ; a post-war newspaper clipping regarding the city of Antwerp and the persecution of its Jewish population.
Content Date
Frieda Beirnaert and Van Beylen family
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Poetry album and newspaper article digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin ; table cloth stored in textile collection at Kazerne Dossin.
Frieda Beirnaert, Private collection, poetry album and newspaper article. Table cloth donated to Kazerne Dossin
Level of description
Extent and medium
5 digitised images (3 pages from a poetry album, 1 newspaper article, 1 object)
Administrative and biographical
Frieda Beirnaert was born in 1926. As of September 1940, she attended the “school voor handel en administratie” (school of commerce and administration) at Durletstraat 8 in Antwerp, Belgium. Frieda befriended her Jewish class mate Rebecca Weinstein (b. 14/06/1926 in Antwerp, Belgium) during her first year at the school (1940-1941) and Jewish class mates Rosa Seewald (b. 17/12/1926 in Krakow, Poland) and Miriam (Maria) Hauser (b. 03/08/1926 in Antwerp, Belgium) during her second year at the school (1941-1942). In July 1942, Rosa and Miriam signed Frieda’s poetry album.
All three of Frieda Beirnaert’s Jewish friends would be killed in the Holocaust. Both Miriam Hauser and Rosa Seewald were deported from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz Birkenau via Transport II on 11 August 1942, not even a month after they wrote their messages of hope in Frieda Beirnaert’s poetry album. Miriam Hauser was arrested in 1943 and was killed after deportation from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport XXIIB on 20 September 1943. Frieda Beirnaert survived the war and continued to use her poetry album. It was signed by several British soldiers she encountered after Liberation.
On 10 September 1949, Frieda Beirnaert married Jules Van Beylen. Frieda’s aunt, misses Huyskens, had been the concierge of one of the apartment buildings at Steenbokstraat (number 28 or 30) in Antwerp, where a lot of Jewish families lived. One of these families gave misses Huyskens a tablecloth for safekeeping before their deportation. However, the family never returned and misses Huyskens gave the tableware to Frieda as a wedding gift. Jules Van Beylen asked his wife not to use it out of respect for the deported Jewish family, so they never did. Jules passed away in 2000. Frieda still lives in Antwerp.
Frieda Beirnaert permitted the digitisation of three pages from her poetry album in 2013. She also donated a tablecloth, a wedding gift Frieda received from her aunt, misses Huyskens, in 1949. The tablecloth had belonged to a Jewish family that had given it to misses Huyskens for safekeeping before their deportation. None of the family members returned.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Frieda Beirnaert and Van Beylen family, 2013
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