Sokolski-Gruszka family. Collection

Bijkomende meta info

This collection consists of photos of Adolphe Sokolski, his wife Sosia Gruszka and their three daughters Jacqueline, Arlette and Francine, as well as newspaper clippings regarding the 70th anniversary of the anti-Jewish raid in Douai and Lens, France (11 September 1942), during which the family was arrested.
Content Date
Content Location
HEDDEBAUT Monique, "Persécutions raciales dans le Douaisis pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Juifs et Tsiganes", in: Tsafon. Revue d'études juives du Nord, n°4 hors-série, October 2008.
Sokolski-Gruszka family
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin
Claude Sokolski, private collection, France
Digital copy available as collection KD_00128 at Kazerne Dossin
Level of description
Extent and medium
39 digitised images (29 photos and 4 documents)
Related units of description
The pictures of Sokolski-Gruszka family members, which are part of this collection, were also added to the Give them a Face portrait collection (KD_00017).
Administrative and biographical
Abraham alias Adolphe Sokolski was born in Warsaw, Poland, on 17 January 1898. He became a tailor and migrated to France, where he first settled in Lille and later in Douai, together with his young wife Sosia Gruszka, born in Siedlice, Poland, on 17 May 1918. The couple would have three daughters: Jacqueline (born in Lille, France, on 26 July 1936), Arlette (born in Douai, France, on 17 May 1938) and Francine (born in Douai, France, on 23 December 1939). Adolphe provided for his family working as an executive in the Cousineau clothes factory in Douai. Oldest daughter Jacqueline went to school at the local lyceum Corot, while Sosia took care of the two youngest girls at home.
The Sokolski-Gruszka family still lived at Rue du Champ-Fleuri 4 in Douai when Nazi-Germany invaded France on 10 May 1940. The northern French provinces, Nord and Pas-de-Calais, were subsequently added to the Belgian territory. On 22 June 1941, the Nazis arrested Russian citizens when invading the Soviet Union. Adolphe was also captured and detained at the citadel in Huy, Belgium. However, he was released when it was established that he was a Polish national. Adolphe was then allowed to return to his wife and children in Douai. The following year, the Sokolski-Gruszka family obeyed the anti-Jewish decrees. Both parents and oldest daughter Jacqueline all wore the yellow star.
In the early morning of 11 September 1942 the Nazi’s organized an anti-Jewish raid in northern France. Hundreds of men, women and children were arrested, including four families from Douai. Adolphe, Sosia and their daughters were first transferred to Lille and the following day to the Dossin barracks in Mechelen. The Sokolski-Gruszka family was deported from Mechelen to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport X on 15 September 1942. Since the girls were only 6, 4 and 2 years old, it is likely that they together with their mother were sent to the gas chamber upon arrival on 17 September 1942.
Adolphe Sokolski was selected as a forced labourer and survived Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was sent to Warsaw in late 1943, presumably as one of the workers who had to clear the rubble after the ghetto uprising. In August 1944, Adolphe was sent to Dachau and later that month to Mühldorf. He survived and was liberated in 1945, after which he returned to France. Adolphe Sokolski settled in Lille, remarried and had a son. Adolphe passed away in 1967.
Claude Sokolski, son of Adolphe Sokolski, kindly permitted digitisation of his family photo album in 2012.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Claude Sokolski, 2012
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