Bijkomende meta info
- This collection contains: the testimony of Rachel Hakker-Furcage regarding her family history ; photos of the Hakker-Simons, Wach-Rosenzweig and Hakker-Wach families, including photos of the Hakker pastry shop at Provinciestraat, wedding photos, vacation photos and a photo of the tombstones of Joseph Hakker and Rachel Simons ; documents, including a false ID and one of the last letters sent by Rachel Simons to her husband Joseph Hakker regarding the visit of their son Simon Hakker in the hospital.
- Hakker-Wach family
- Digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin
- Rachel Hakker-Furcage, Private collection, Belgium
- A digital copy of collection KD_00537 is available at Kazerne Dossin
- 1 interview and 35 digitised images (16 photos and 4 documents)
- Rachel Hakker-Furcage's sister Joyce Hakker-Bloch kindly donated both original items and digital reproductions of items from her family archive to Kazerne Dossin. These items are catalogued as collection KD_00362.
Rachel Hakker was born in Switzerland on 9 December 1942. Her family originated from Antwerp. Rachel’s father Simon Hakker was born in the Belgian port city in 1912, as the son of the Dutch couple Joseph Hakker and Rachel Simons. Like his father, Simon became a pastry chef. The Hakker family had a bakery at Provinciestraat in Antwerp. In 1934, grandfather Joseph Hakker won a baking competition by creating the "Antwerps Handje", a hand shaped cookie which remains the symbol of Antwerp until this day.
Before the war Simon Hakker had already met milliner Phyllis Wach, born in London in 1919 as the oldest daughter of Wolf Wach and Peggy Rosenzweig. In 1925, the Wach family, including youngest daughter Sylvia (born in 1923) settled in Antwerp, where in 1933 Sylvia passed away, suffering from a kidney disease.
The Hakker and Wach families still lived in Antwerp when Nazi-Germany invaded Belgium on 10 May 1940. In 1941, the engaged Simon Hakker and Phyllis Wach fled to France, where they got married in the main synagogue in Lyon, while Simon’s parents Joseph and Rachel were stuck in occupied Belgium. Rachel Simons would pass away in Antwerp on 29 October 1942, while Joseph was arrested on 30 November 1942 and deported from the Dossin barracks via Transport XVIII on 15 January 1943. However, he was able to escape from the train and went into hiding with the armed resistance in Wallonia. He assisted the Armée de la Libération Clandestine (armed resistance) and wrote a testimony about his captivity at the Dossin barracks which was first published in the Liège clandestine newspaper Le Coq Victorieux in July 1943. His articles were published as “The mysterious Dossin Barracks. The Deportation Camp of the Jews” only a few weeks after the liberation of Belgium in September 1944. This booklet thus became the first officially published eye witness account on the Mechelen transit camp.
Meanwhile Simon, Phyllis and Phyllis parents’ Wolf Wach and Peggy Rosenzweig were clandestinely living in France. Unfortunately Wolf "Wolly" Wach was arrested after which he was deported via transport 51 from the Drancy transit camp to Maidanek or Sobibor, where he was killed. His wife Peggy Rosenzweig survived the war in France.
In 1942, newlyweds Simon Hakker and Phyllis Wach managed to flee to Switzerland. There, Phyllis gave birth to their two daughters: Rachel later in 1942 and Joyce in 1945. Both were born in the Clarence-Territet refugee camp. In the summer of 1945 the family returned to Antwerp, where they were reunited with grandfather Joseph Hakker. The family bakery reopened in November 1946. Simon Hakker passed away in 1991, Phyllis Wach in 1996.
- In 2019 Rachel Hakker-Furcage kindly permitted Kazerne Dossin to interview her regarding her family history. During her visit she also allowed Kazerne Dossin to digitise several original items from her family archive. These scans were subsequently added to her archival collection stored digitally at Kazerne Dossin.
- Rachel Hakker-Furcage, 2019