From the Children's Home to the Gas Chamber: And how some avoided their fate


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When the Nazis raided a Belgian orphanage on October 30, 1942, it was unthinkable that the arrested Jewish children, soon to be deported, would still be alive more than 78 years later. They lost their parents and siblings to the death camps, but when it was time for these orphans to be deported, fate intervened. In early 2021, they finally reunited.

Just 13 of the 39 Jewish children of the Antwerp orphanage Meisjeshuis survived the Second World War. While all Jewish children above the age of five were sent from the children’s home to the gas chambers in Auschwitz, almost all Jewish children below the age of five avoided their fate. 10 of the Jewish children were rescued and hospitalized under false pretenses, and went into hiding among the dying patients. But even in the hospital the Nazis found and arrested many of them.

In this book, the author and the surviving orphans now finally uncover a history that remained hidden for almost 80 years. Other Jewish orphans, all connected to Belgium and who survived in all kinds of ways, also tell their story. In total, this book contains more than 50 testimonies, including a testimony of one of the last still living survivors deported from Belgium to Auschwitz.

Reinier Heinsman (1996, Apeldoorn) is a law student and author from the Netherlands who traced, interviewed and reunited the Jewish orphans from Belgium. Earlier he wrote Rumoer aan de Kaap (2015) and Vergeten is het grootste verlies (2020) in Dutch.

Aantal pagina’s
Eerste editie
01 januari 2021

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