The Aufrichtig Family
The Belgium Files
According to most sources, immediately prior to the outbreak of World War II there were more than 100,000 Jews in Belgium, chiefly in Antwerp (55,000) and Brussels (35,000). as well as smaller communities in Ghent, Liege, Arlon, Mons, Charleroi, Namur and Oostende. An estimated 20 per cent of these were refugees from Germany and Austria who, along with thousands of other nationals, were hoping to flee to safety from Nazi persecution. These numbers highlight the confidence of relative security felt by the Jewish migrants who had made their way to Belgium from neighbouring European countries
It is also similarly recorded that Germany invaded Belgium on May 10, 1940, forcing a Belgian surrender just 18 days later on May 28, with anti-Jewish measures following in late summer/early autumn of that year.
Less publicised is the fact that on the very day of the German invasion, Belgium became the only country in Europe to unilaterally begin deporting Jews to the Saint Cyprien internment camp in the south of France. While the Nazis ensured that St Cyprien would eventually house up to 8,000 Jewish refugees, plans for the camp's first influx from Belgium had been drawn up prior to the May 10 invasion.
It was, however, because of the more popularly accepted backdrop of greater safety and shelter that members of the Aufrichtig family chose to leave homes and loved ones in a bid to escape to freedom. We are grateful to:
Marcel Bervoets, the author of La liste de Saint-Cyprien, whose father, Hans Tragholz, was one of those deported to the camp on May 10, 1940. Marcel spent years researching his invaluable work, which unflinchingly outlines the facts and the role of the Belgian authorities in helping seal the fates of the deportees.
Louis-Philippe Arnhem, Assistant Administratif Recherches Historiques at the Office des Etrangers, Brussels who made available the large volume of documents, from which this Belgium Files section has been assembled, and without whose assistance it would not have materialised.
Evelyn Haendel, who tirelessly made special trips to obtain copies of all documents and provided English explanations of their contents. Most of the pictures used in this Belgian section have been extracted from Evelyn's photocopies, and for this we are especially grateful.
Marie Lejeune, Attaché Archivist at the Social Security Department of War Victims, Brussels. Thanks to Marie and the War Victims Service (http://www.warvictims.fgov.be/), the list provides several previously unrecorded facts.
On completion, translations of files will be set out in chronological order for each of the featured subjects who will be alphabetically listed. They include Adolf Drahos-Fleissig, Alice Aufrichtig, Berthold Stein, Karel [Charlie] Aufrichtig, Jeanette Aufrichtig, Karoline Aufrichtig, Max Stein, Pauline Aufrichtig, Siegfried Aufrichtig , Sigmund Stein.
Belgium Files Homepage
Karoline Aufrichtig & Family
Pauline Aufrichtig & Adolf Drahos-Fleissig
Department of Social Security War Victims File
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