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Frank Siegel papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2001.206.1

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    Frank Siegel papers

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    The Frank Siegel papers include biographical materials, correspondence, and photographs documenting Frank Siegel’s parents and their families in Poland and Belgium before the war, his mother’s deportation to Auschwitz, and his relationship with his father in Belgium after the war.
    Biographical materials include a 1942 school certificate and 1962 restitution case decision for Frank Siegel, prescriptions for ear drops for Cudyk Zygielman, Rozia Zygielman’s passport, a certificate attesting to her moral standing, and notes documenting her transport to Auschwitz.
    Correspondence primarily includes postcards Cudyk and Rozia Zygielman received from friends and family before the war and letters Frank Siegel wrote to his father from various boarding schools in Belgium after the war. Correspondence also includes a letter from Cudyk Zygielman’s mother and a greeting card from a friend of Rozia Zygielman congratulating the couple on their marriage.
    Photographs depict Frank Siegel with his parents and classmates in Belgium, Cudyk and Rozia Zygielman and their relatives in Poland, and Erna Bialer Zygielman at a displaced persons camp in Germany around 1945 and on the Italian liner “Christopher Columbus” on her way to the United States in 1951. Cudyk Zygielman received the photographs of his relatives while in Belgium and kept them while in hiding.
    inclusive:  1922-1948
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Frank Siegel
    Collection Creator
    Frank Siegel
    Francois Zygielman (later Frank Siegel) was born on October 7, 1933, in Antwerp, Belgium, to Cudyk and Rozia Schreiber Zygielman. Cudyk was born on January 29, 1901, in Lublin, Poland, where his family had lived since at least 1740. Rozia was born on June 5, 1905, in Lemberg, Austro-Hungary. In 1918, it was known as Lwow and was part of Poland (present day L’viv, Ukraine). Circa 1928, Cudyk and Rozia immigrated to Belgium. They married on September 25, 1929.

    In May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded Belgium. Francois and his family tried to escape to Great Britain during the evacuations from Dunkirk, but had to return to Belgium. The German military administration immediately enacted anti-Jewish policies. Jews were banned from many professions and their property was confiscated. In 1942, all Jews over age six had to wear Star of David badges at all times. Many were made to perform forced labor. Deportations to concentration and slave labor camps in the east also began in 1942. Rozia had to be taken to the hospital in 1942. German authorities then sent her to Mechen (Malines) transit camp. She was deported in October to eastern Europe. Cudyk and Francois went into hiding in separate locations soon after that. That September, Francois had been given the name Henri Teugends, using the certificates of a child who had died. Cudyk took Francois to Madame Pierlot, who cared for and also hid orphaned children. Cudyk then decided to find a more secure place for Francois to hide and placed him in a Catholic orphanage in Namur. Francois did not like it there, as one the nuns would tell him and the other children that "You Jews suffer because you crucified Christ." In late 1943, he was moved to a home in Ciney, with the help of Abbe Joseph Andre. Cudyk lived in hiding in Brussels. Belgium was liberated in September 1944. Cudyk came to get Francois two days after liberation.

    The war did not end until May 1945 when Germany surrendered. Cudyk and Francois were reunited. They learned that Rozia had been sent to Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland and killed. All of Rozia and Cudyk’s family in Poland perished. Cudyk sought visas for them to go to the United States. Francois was on the Belgian quota and received one quickly. Cudyk was on the Polish quota and had to wait two years. Francois lived in a series of orphanages run by Aid to Jewish Victims of the War. Cudyk and Francois emigrated to the United States in 1949. Cudyk married Erna Bialer in 1951. Erna was born on February 11, 1941, to Boruch and Gisia Rois Bialer in Warsaw, Poland. She was a survivor of Majdanek, Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps. She had relocated to Belgium in 1946 and emigrated to the United States in 1951. The family settled in Brooklyn. Francois Americanized his name to Frank Siegel. He became a teacher, married, and had two children. Cudyk, 78, died in 1979. Erna passed away on May 22, 2000.

    Physical Details

    17 folders
    System of Arrangement
    The Frank Siegel papers are arranged as three series:
    I. Biographical Materials, 1923-1962
    II. Correspondence, 1929-1948
    III. Photographs, approximately 1924-1951

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The Frank Siegel papers were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by Frank Siegel in 2001 and 2003. Accessions previously cataloged as 2001.224.1, 2001.312.1, and 2003.348.1 have been incorporated into this collection.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this collection has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Primary Number
    Record last modified:
    2023-04-11 09:37:33
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