Hidden Children Of The Holocaust by Suzanne Vromen

2357af8e5fa9d3e.jpg Author Suzanne Vromen
Isbn 9780199739059
File size 3.8 MB
Year 2008
Pages 215
Language English
File format PDF
Category history


HIDDEN CHILDREN OF THE HOLOCAUST This page intentionally left blank HIDDEN CHILDREN OF THE HOLOCAUST Belgian Nuns and Their Daring Rescue of Young Jews from the Nazis SUZANNE VROMEN 1 2008 1 Oxford University Press, Inc., publishes works that further Oxford University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education. Oxford New York Auckland Cape Town Dar es Salaam Hong Kong Karachi Kuala Lumpur Madrid Melbourne Mexico City Nairobi New Delhi Shanghai Taipei Toronto With offices in Argentina Austria Brazil Chile Czech Republic France Greece Guatemala Hungary Italy Japan Poland Portugal Singapore South Korea Switzerland Thailand Turkey Ukraine Vietnam Copyright Ó 2008 by Oxford University Press, Inc. Published by Oxford University Press, Inc. 198 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016 www.oup.com Oxford is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Oxford University Press. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Vromen, Suzanne. Hidden children of the Holocaust : Belgian nuns and their daring rescue of young Jews from the Nazis / Suzanne Vromen. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-19-518128-9 1. Jewish children in the Holocaust. 2. World War, 1939–1945—Jews—Rescue. 3. Holocaust survivors—Interviews. I. Title. D804.48.V76 2008 940.53'183508309493—dc22 2007037557 1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2 Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper In memory of my parents, Ella Weinberg and Joachim (Imek) Donner For my grandson Adam This page intentionally left blank ‘‘THOU SHALT NOT BE A PERPETRATOR; THOU SHALT NOT BE A VICTIM; AND THOU SHALT NEVER, BUT NEVER, BE A BYSTANDER.’’ —YEHUDA BAUER 2000 International Forum Conference on the Holocaust, from Beyond the ‘‘Never Agains,’’ edited by Eva Fried (Government of Sweden, 2005), page 9 This page intentionally left blank CONTENTS Acknowledgments xi Introduction 1 CHAPTER 1 The Children 9 CHAPTER 2 The Nuns 47 CHAPTER 3 The Escorts and the Resistance 81 CHAPTER 4 Memory and Commemoration 119 Epilogue 143 Appendix: Nuns Honored as Righteous Among the Nations 149 Notes 153 References 163 Index 173 Photo gallery follows page 92 This page intentionally left blank ACKNOWLEDGMENTS hat this book has been written is due to three people: Georges Schnek, Deborah Dash Moore, and Mark Lytle. After I retired from Bard College in 2000, I contacted Georges Schnek, a friend I had known since 1947, when he was the head of the Jewish students’ association at the Free University of Brussels. When I wrote to him about my intended research, he replied with enthusiastic encouragement and included in his letter a list of people I should interview. His name opened doors. He had been honored with the title of Baron for his activities on behalf of the Jewish community in Belgium, and he was at the time the head of its Consistory. Throughout my stays in Belgium he remained an unwavering support. Deborah Dash Moore, a friend with whom I had team-taught the first Holocaust course ever offered at Vassar College, is at present Director of the Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies and Professor of History at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. When early on I showed her some of the results of my research and told her that I intended to do a comparative study of hidden children in Belgium, France, and Poland, she was impressed with the richness of the Belgian material. She convinced me to focus solely on the Belgian case and persuaded me that my work would be a significant contribution to Holocaust studies. Mark Lytle, Professor of History and one of my former colleagues at Bard College, found great interest in the summary that I forwarded to him. He offered to direct me to Oxford University Press and smoothed the way. He also carefully read and commented on the nearly finished manuscript. T xi xii Acknowledgments I am deeply thankful to these three persons for their interest, their abiding encouragement, and their confidence in me. My friends Joanna Gillespie and Andrew Bush read parts of the manuscript at different times, and generously offered me the benefit of their incisive comments. I am also indebted to David Kettler and Judith Gerson, whose questions and challenging remarks led me to think more in depth. In Brussels, besides the constant and warm hospitality of Georges Schnek and his wife, Sarah Deutsch, I enjoyed the friendship and steady help of Annette and Berti Apelbaum-Szyke, both formerly hidden children, who adopted my work as their mission and made every effort to respond to my endless requests. Jenny and Ralph Stein cared for my well-being with great kindness. Louisette Kahlenberg offered neighborly companionship and a model of how to age gracefully. Early on, my old friend, Rose Leszczynski, drew my attention to her convent experiences. At the Center for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society, Fabrice Maerten was generous with his time and valuable advice, for which I thank him wholeheartedly. I am also grateful for helpful conversations with Anne-Dolore`s Mercelis, Jean-Philippe Schreiber, and Hanne Hellemans. The latter provided me with an online copy of a manuscript she was working on. I had a fruitful correspondence with Alice Dermience, who read an early draft of my chapter on the nuns. Professor Luc Dequeker provided useful leads in the early days of my research. I thank Maxime Steinberg, Laurence Schram, Johannes Blum, and Sophie Rechtman for granting me interviews, and my old-time friend Maurice Woitchik for his assistance. Helene Potezman at the Israeli Embassy in Brussels, Dr. Mordecai Paldiel, and Irena Steinfeldt at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem kindly responded to some of my inquiries about the Righteous Among the Nations (honored non-Jewish rescuers) among the Belgian clergy. I am very thankful to the U.S. Fulbright Program for two Senior Specialist grants. Though these grants were specifically intended for teaching at the Buber Institute of the Free University of Brussels, they gave me an opportunity to enhance my understanding of the intricate Belgian social context. The librarians at Bard College were welcoming and efficient. I thank them all, particularly Betsy Cawley, Jane Dougall, and Jane Hryshko. At Bard College, I was a member of the sociology department and later its chair. In 1979 I also cofounded the women’s studies program and later directed it for a number of years. I owe much to the students in the classes I taught throughout my twenty-two years at the college, especially those in Holocaust, women’s studies, and social theory classes. It was challenging and stimulating to respond to their keen interest and fresh questions. May they find some answers here. I also remember fondly some of my adult students enrolled in the Continuing Studies program and have been awed by their accomplishments. Acknowledgments xiii Father David Mickiewicz kindly answered my queries. Marlene Yahalom generously offered help. Yaffa Schlesinger, a friend since graduate school, gave me the benefit of her erudition. After having heard my presentation on the book’s topic at the Association for Jewish Studies meetings in Washington, D.C., in 2005, Genya Markon from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum offered to request for me access to a transcript of an extensive interview with a Jewish child hidden in Belgium who became a nun. I thank her for her support. Reed Sparling patiently eliminated some of my French stylistic quirks but was careful to leave me my own voice. May he find here my most sincere appreciation for his skill and also for his kind support whenever my energy flagged. I am very grateful to Cynthia Read, senior editor at Oxford University Press; Meechal Hoffman, her assistant; and Christine Dahlin, production editor, for their care throughout the publishing process. Over the years Tammy Valentino has used much energy and devotion to keep my body and soul together. Janice Bernath, Doug Ewing, and Tom Towey, each in their own way, have skillfully helped to run our household and willingly responded to any urgent appeal. My dear friends Elayne and Hal Seaman and Marcia and Ralph Preiss have provided a stream of unfailing encouragement. By now they have become my extended family and immeasurably enriched my life. Ben, my husband of more than half a century, has steadfastly stood by me and knows what I owe him. My children and their spouses, Galina and Doron, Jonathan and Sue, have sometimes wondered why I have not really retired. I love them all dearly, but looking to the future, this book is dedicated to my grandson Adam. Finally, I am indebted to all the formerly hidden children and to the nuns who told me their stories. In translating and transcribing all the interviews myself, I hope to have done justice to their voices. I have chosen not to reveal the children’s names or, by request, the name of the nun who left her order many years after the war. My appreciation goes also to Andre´e Geulen-Herscovici, one of the escorts in the Resistance, for our lengthy conversations and friendship. Sadly, Paule Renard-Andriesse, the second Resistance escort I met, and Father Julien Richard, the only priest I was able to interview, have both died since we talked. This page intentionally left blank Ieper/ Ypres Calais Kortrijk/ Courtrai St. Omer Boulogne Turnhout Brugge/ Bruges Ghent/ Veurne/Furnes Gent/Gand Dunkerque Antwerp/ Antwerpen/Anvers Mechelen/ Malines Hasselt Schelde Leuven/ Aalst/Alost Brussels/ Louvain St. Truiden/ Brussel/Bruxelles St. Trond Montrevil Som me Maastricht Aächen Tournai/Doornik St. Quentin Amiens Bouillon Sedan FRANCE 50 GERMANY Liège/Luik Verviers e s Meu Huy Spa Mons/Bergen La Louvière Namur/ Valenciennes S Malmédy Charleroi Namen Douai E N N Dinant E Arras La Roche D R Avesnes A Cambrai Couvin Rochefort Lille 0 Eindhoven n Oostende/Ostende Tilburg Rhei NETHERLANDS Breda NORTH SEA Neufchateau Arlon Luxembourg Virton 100 Km Belgium and Northern France under German rule, 1940–1944. This page intentionally left blank HIDDEN CHILDREN OF THE HOLOCAUST ‘‘Hope is a little wisp of a girl Yet a girl who spans the worlds It is she, this little one, who draws all . . . And who runs the whole world.’’ —Pe´ guy This little girl, I would like to give superabundantly to my dear Suzanne as she steps towards life. . . . Give it to her and whatever happens, may she never lose it. With it, may she step confidently towards her Ideal. With much affection, S.M. Tharcisius E/v 1 Institut Marie Jose´ Sept. 45 1 [customary abbreviation for Elisabethville] TRANSLATION Inscription by Soeur Tharsicius, Institut Marie-Jose´, Elisabethville (now Lubumbashi), Belgian Congo, in Souvenirs, by Charles Pe´guy (1934), a gift to the author on the occasion of her departure for Palestine, September 1945. (Suzanne Vromen)

Author Suzanne Vromen Isbn 9780199739059 File size 3.8 MB Year 2008 Pages 215 Language English File format PDF Category History Book Description: FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrDiggMySpaceShare In the terrifying summer of 1942 in Belgium, when the Nazis began the brutal roundup of Jewish families, parents searched desperately for safe haven for their children. As Suzanne Vromen reveals in Hidden Children of the Holocaust, these children found sanctuary with other families and schools–but especially in Roman Catholic convents and orphanages. Vromen has interviewed not only those who were hidden as children, but also the Christian women who rescued them, and the nuns who gave the children shelter, all of whose voices are heard in this powerfully moving book. Indeed, here are numerous first-hand memoirs of life in a wartime convent–the secrecy, the humor, the admiration, the anger, the deprivation, the cruelty, and the kindness–all with the backdrop of the terror of the Nazi occupation. We read the stories of the women of the Resistance who risked their lives in placing Jewish children in the care of the Church, and of the Mothers Superior and nuns who sheltered these children and hid their identity from the authorities. Perhaps most riveting are the stories told by the children themselves–abruptly separated from distraught parents and given new names, the children were brought to the convents with a sense of urgency, sometimes under the cover of darkness. They were plunged into a new life, different from anything they had ever known, and expected to adapt seamlessly. Vromen shows that some adapted so well that they converted to Catholicism, at times to fit in amid the daily prayers and rituals, but often because the Church appealed to them. Vromen also examines their lives after the war, how they faced the devastating loss of parents to the Holocaust, struggled to regain their identities and sought to memorialize those who saved them. This remarkable book offers an inspiring chronicle of the brave individuals who risked everything to protect innocent young strangers, as well as a riveting account of the “hidden children” who lived to tell their stories.     Download (3.8 MB) Women In Christianity Amazons, Wives, Nuns, and Witches Auschwitz Death Camp (images Of War) The Wiley-Blackwell History of Jews and Judaism Women In Pastoral Office: The Story Of Santa Prassede, Rome Load more posts

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