Borgerhout - Stolpersteine

Information: Wikipedia

A Stolperstein literally "stumbling stone", metaphorically a "stumbling block" is a sett-size, 10 by 10 centimetres (3.9 in × 3.9 in) concrete cube bearing a brass plate inscribed with the name and life dates of victims of Nazi extermination or persecution.

 

The Stolpersteine project, initiated by the German artist Gunter Demnig in 1992, aims to commemorate individuals at exactly the last place of residency—or, sometimes, work—which was freely chosen by the person before he or she fell victim to Nazi terror, euthanasia, eugenics, was deported to a concentration or extermination camp, or escaped persecution by emigration or suicide. As of 29 March 2018, over 67,000 Stolpersteine have been laid in 22 countries, making the Stolpersteine project the world's largest decentralized memorial.

 

The majority of Stolpersteine commemorate Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Others have been placed for Sinti and Romani people (then also called "gypsies"), homosexuals, the physically or mentally disabled, Jehovah's Witnesses, black people, members of the Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party, and the anti-Nazi Resistance, the Christian opposition (both Protestants and Catholics), and Freemasons, along with International Brigade soldiers in the Spanish Civil War, military deserters, conscientious objectors, escape helpers, capitulators, "habitual criminals", looters, and others charged with treason, military disobedience, or undermining the Nazi military, as well as Allied soldiers.

 

Tuesday 5 March 2019, Gunter Demnig, the German artists and creator of the Stolpersteine, was in Antwerp to lay 26 stones with the names of victims of Nazism.

 

List of Stolpersteine in the district of Borgerhout

Kroonstraat 205: HEYNOCH SMIETANA

                               HANA TAUBA SMIETANASTEINKELER

Marinisstraat 3: MARCEL MERMELSTEIN

                             PAULA MERMELSTEIN

Moorkensplein 2: ELIEZER (LEON) HELFGOTT

                                SIMON HELFGOTT


Kroonstraat 205

hier woonde

HEYNOCH SMIETANA

geb. 1889 Polen

aangehouden 1.8.1942

geinterneerd Mechelen

gedeporteerd 1942

Auschwitz

vermoord

Kroonstraat 205

here lived

HEYNOCH SMIETANA

born 1889 Polen

arrested 1.8.1942

internated Mechelen

deported 1942

Auschwitz

murdered

Kroonstraat 205

hier woonde

HANA TAUBA

SMIETANA-STEINKELER

geb. 1899 Polen

aangehouden 1.8.1942

geinterneerd Mechelen

gedeporteerd 1942

Auschwitz

vermoord

Kroonstraat 205

here lived

HANA TAUBA

SMIETANA-STEINKELER

born 1899 Polen

arrested 1.8.1942

internated Mechelen

deported 1942

Auschwitz

murdered


Marinisstraat 3

hier woonde

MARCEL

MERMELSTEIN

geb. 1937

aangehouden 1944

Izieu

gevangen Montluc, Drancy

weggevoerd 1944

vermoord

Auschwitz

Marinisstraat 3

here lived

MARCEL

MERMELSTEIN

born 1937

arrested 1944

Izieu

imprisoned Montluc, Drancy

deported 1944

murdered

Auschwitz

Marinisstraat 3

hier woonde

PAULA

MERMELSTEIN

geb.1934

aangehouden 6.4.1944

Izieu

gevangen Montluc, Drancy

weggevoerd 20.5.1944

vermoord

Auschwitz

Marinisstraat 3

here lived

PAULA

MERMELSTEIN

born 1934

arrested 6.4.1944

Izieu

imprisoned Montluc, Drancy

deported 20.5.1944

murdered

Auschwitz

Paula or Paulette Mermelstein (January 10, 1934, Borgerhout, Antwerp, Belgium-May 23, 1944, Auschwitz) is one of the 44 Children of Izieu arrested during the April 6, 1944 Rafle, deported and murdered at Auschwitz. Her younger brother, Marcel Mermelstein, deported by the same convoy No. 74, dated May 20, 1944, knows the same fate. Their mother, Frieda Mermelstein, is also deported by Convoy No. 74.

 

Paula is the daughter of Max Mermelstein and Frieda Mermelstein (née Gutmann), born March 6, 1912, in Warsaw, Poland. Max Mermelstein is a butcher. Paula Mermelstein has a younger brother, Marcel Mermelstein.  Marcel  was born on January 14, 1937, in Borgerhout, Antwerp, Belgium. 

 

With the invasion of Belgium in the spring of 1940, the Mermelstein family fled to France on May 14, 19404. On June 28, 19424, the Mermelstein family was arrested and interned for a short time at Camp de Rivesaltes. The father, Max Mermelstein, manages to flee and joins the Resistance. The mother, Frieda Mermelstein, hides in the South of France.

 

Marcel Mermelstein is released from Camp Rivesaltes, September 9, 1942. On the official document, the Camp is named Accommodation Center Rivesaltes (Pyrénées-Orientales)

 

Arrested with the other Children of Izieu, during the Rafle of April 6, 1944, but unlike the majority of them, deported by Convoy No. 71, Paula was deported by Convoy No. 74, dated May 20, 1944, from the Drancy Camp to Auschwitz. Her brother, Marcel Mermelstein, is part of the same convoy. Marcel is 7 years old, Paula is 10 years old. They are murdered on May 23, 1944.  The death of the Mermelstein children is evoked by the American rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who mentions that Max Mermelstein was a great-uncle of his wife.

 

Shortly after the Rafle d'Izieu, the mother, Frieda Mermelstein, was arrested in Pau.  She joins her children at Camp de Drancy. She is deported to Auschwitz by Convoy No. 74, with her children.


Moorkensplein 2

hier woonde

ELIEZER (LEON)

HELFGOTT

geb. 1919

weerstander

gearresteerd 8.1942

gedeporteerd

vermoord mei 1943

Auschwitz

Moorkensplein 2

here lived

ELIEZER (LEON)

HELFGOTT

born 1919

resistance

arrested 8.1942

deported

murdered mai 1943

Auschwitz

Moorkensplein 2

hier woonde

SIMON HELFGOTT

geb. 1920

weerstander

vermoord 23.4.1943

Deurne

Moorkensplein 2

here lived

SIMON HELFGOTT

born 1920

resistance

murdered 23.4.1943

Deurne

Esther alias Hana Pschetizki (b. 10/02/1894 in Mlawa, Poland) had been widowed before the war. Esther and her deceased husband Joseph Helfgott had four sons :

Abraham (b. 06/04/1913 in Borgerhout, Antwerp),

Isaak (b. 09/07/1916 in Antwerp),

Eliezer (alias Leon, b. 09/03/1919 in The Hague, the Netherlands) and

Israel (alias Simon, b. 10/05/1920 in Antwerp).

 

Although Esther Pschetizki survived the war in Belgium, she lost all of her sons.  Isaak Helfgott was able to flee to the United Kingdom and became a sailor in the British navy. He was killed when the St. Elwyn was attacked by a German U-boat on 28 November 1940.  Israel alias Simon Helfgott, member of the communist party before 1939, became a leading figure among the armed partisans in Antwerp known as “Rikske”. He was killed in action in April 1943.  Abraham and Eliezer were both deported from Drancy, France, in 1944 : Abraham Helfgott to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport 66, Eliezer Helfgott to Kaunas via Transport 73. Both perished.