Bijkomende meta info
- This collection contains a letter thrown out of deportation transport XXII A by Ernestine alias Esther Lupu and three pre-war photos of Bella, Arlette and Ernestine (Esther) Lupu and their mother Adela Sigal.
- Lupu-Sigal family
- Photos digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin
- KD_00372 (letter) ; Dominique De Ville, Private collection, Israel (photos)
- 7 digitised images (1 document and 3 photos)
Hascal Lupu was born on 22 October 1891 in Galati, Romania. He became a merchant and in 1918 married Adela Sigal, born in Harlan, Romania, on 11 November 1896. Together the couple fled the pogroms in Romania and settled in Paris, where, on 1st August 1919, their religious marriage was confirmed at the municipality. After the birth of oldest daughter Bella René in Paris on 14 December 1920, the family moved to Anderlecht, Brussels, where three more daughters were born : Ernestine alias Esther on 22 January 1922, Mathilde on 30 March 1924 and Arlette on 30 March 1926. The Lupu family moved frequently within Brussels, while father Hascal Lupu tried to earn a living as a scrap metal dealer.
After Nazi-Germany invaded Belgium on 10 May 1940, oldest daughter Bella convinced her parents and sisters not to register themselves as Jews in the municipal register. In October 1941, Hascal Lupu left Belgium and returned to France for business purposes. However, he became involved in an accident with a vehicle of the local Sicherheitspolizei-Sicherheitdsdienst and was subsequently hospitalized for a large part of the remainder of the war.
Meanwhile in Belgium, Adela Sigal took care of their daughters. In September 1943, she and her youngest daughters Ernestine and Arlette were denounced by a downstairs neighbour and arrested at their home at 117 Rue des Cotages in Uccle, Brussels. Bella, returning late from choir practice avoided arrest, as did Mathilde who no longer lived with her parents and sisters. Although Bella wanted to turn herself in to join her mother and sisters, the friend that accompanied her convinced her not to do so.
Adela, Ernestine and Arlette were taken to the Dossin barracks and deported via Transport XXII A on 20 September 1943. Ernestine alias Esther Lupu was able to throw a goodbye letter out of the train, addressed to Mr. Spinette, her employer for whom she worked as a seamstress when it became too dangerous for Jews to go out in the street. Every trace of Ernestine and her mother Adela disappeared upon arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau. However, camp records show that Arlette was selected upon arrival and the number 62903 was tattooed on her arm. Arlette underwent a medical examination on 10 October 1943. Her trace then leads to Buchenwald where, after the evacuations of January 1945, she was registered as prisoner 123407. Arlette subsequently disappeared from the records. She did not survive, nor did her mother or sister.
Bella Lupu in 1943-1944 moved from hiding place to hiding place, never staying long at the same address. This crushed her health and she remained fragile for the rest of her life. She did return to the sealed apartment where she had lived with her mother and sisters. Although she could not enter, Bella was able to go to the attic and retrieve a few photos and some jars of jam her mother had made before her arrest. She saved the glass jars for many years. After liberation, Bella travelled to Paris where she was reunited with her father. She brought him back with her to Belgium and both of them hoped for the return of Adela, Ernestine (Esther) and Arlette. However, no news arrived.
After the war, Bella re-established contact with her maternal aunt Golda Sigal whom had survived the war in Romania. Golda was able to emigrate to Belgium and on 7 October 1953, Hascal Lupu married her in Brussels. Hascal passed away in 1964. In 1946, Bella Lupu married Jean De Ville. Bella had children and grandchildren, and passed away on 9 November 1988.
- Dominique and Claudette De Ville, daughters of Bella Lupu, kindly donated the original letter thrown out of the deportation by their aunt Esther Lupu to Kazerne Dossin. They also permitted digitisation of the three remaining pre-war family photos. Bella Lupu collected these photos from the attic of the apartment building where she, her mother and sisters had lived after the arrest of her family members in September 1943.
- Dominique and Claudette De Ville, daughters of Bella Lupu, 2017