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Small square black painted wooden trunk used by Jewish refugees

Object | Accession Number: 2004.322.2

Small, trunk cube with front and side openings used by Renee and Sima Schwalb when they emigrated in 1949 to the United States from Belgium. When Renee was nearly a year old, Austria, where she lived in Vienna with her parents, Sima and Nicholas, was annexed by Nazi Germany in March 1938. Anti-Jewish legislation to persecute and disenfranchise the Jewish population was soon enacted. Nicholas's clothing store was confiscated and all valuables were seized. In early 1939, Nicholas left for the US to make arrangements for the rest of the family, for whom visas could not be obtained, to join him. By late1939, Jews were being deported to ghettos and camps, so Sima decided to flee with 2 year old Renee and 11 other family members. They traveled by foot and Sima had to carry Renee most of the way. They reached Brussels, Belgium, where a Catholic couple, the Degalas, gave them refuge. After Germany occupied Belgium in spring 1940, it was too dangerous to stay together. Renee was sent to a convent for two years, and then moved to other hiding places. She was in an orphanage in Namur when the war ended there in January 1945. Sima was deported to Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943. After the German surrender in May 1945, Sima returned to Belgium and mother and daughter were reunited. In 1949, they emigrated to the United States where they finally joined Renee's father.

use:  approximately 1950
received: Belgium
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Renée Schwalb Fritz
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:17:23
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