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Gisele Warshawsky (second from left) poses with a group of children while in hiding at a convent in Sugny, Belgium.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 09380

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    Gisele Warshawsky (second from left) poses with a group of children while in hiding at a convent in Sugny, Belgium.
    Gisele Warshawsky (second from left) poses with a group of children while in hiding at a convent in Sugny, Belgium.

    Overview

    Caption
    Gisele Warshawsky (second from left) poses with a group of children while in hiding at a convent in Sugny, Belgium.
    Date
    1944
    Locale
    Sugny, Belgium
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Gisele Soldinger Warshawsky

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Gisele Soldinger Warshawsky
    Source Record ID: HCC-Montreal

    Keywords & Subjects

    Photo Designation
    RESCUERS & RESCUED -- Belgium

    Administrative Notes

    Biography
    Gisele Soldinger (now Gisele Warshawsky) is the daughter of Moses and Hinda Rose Soldinger. Her parents were both Polish Jews who had moved to Germany in the interwar period. Gisele was born on April 9, 1934 in Leipzig, where her father earned a living as a linen merchant. She had two older siblings, Edgar David (b. 1924) and Ida (b. 1925). In October 1938 the Soldingers were rounded-up in the middle of the night, along with thousands of other Polish born Jews, for deportation to Poland. They were, however, able to convince the police that they were no longer Polish citizens and were allowed to remain in Germany for the time being. Fearful for the future, Gisele's father fled over the border into Belgium, but was caught and sent to prison. Two weeks later he contracted pneumonia and was moved to a hospital in Antwerp. Owing to the gravity of his illness, Gisele's mother was allowed to join him in Belgium. Moses died, however, three days after she arrived in March 1939. Edgar came to attend to the funeral arrangements, and in May, Gisela and Ida entered Belgium on false papers escorted by a Belgian guide. The four Soldingers lived together in Antwerp for the next year. However, in May 1940 following the German invasion, they were ordered to leave the city and move to the village of Bilzen in the Limburg district in preparation for their deportation back to Germany. Though the Soldingers were allowed to live in the village rather than the nearby refugee camp, they were required to report daily to the local authorities and were prohibited from leaving the immediate area. In Bilzen Gisele was able to attend school, while her mother worked as a housekeeper and her siblings found jobs in a local cafe and barbershop. In the early summer of 1941 the family was allowed to move to Brussels, but their situation continued to deteriorate as more and more anti-Jewish measures were put into effect. In July 1942 Ida and Edgar were summoned to the Mechelen transit camp for forced labor. Two days after their arrival they were deported to Auschwitz where they perished. Soon after Ida and Edgar's deportation Gisele and her mother went into hiding in separate locations with the assistance of their neighbor, Charles De Rudder. At first Gisele was placed at a Catholic orphanage in Longlier, where 35 of the 90 children were Jewish. But most were soon transferred due to the poor food and sanitation conditions at the home. Gisele was then placed at the Le Foyer Reine Astrid Catholic boarding school in Sugny (near the French border). The school had its own farm and food was plentiful. During this period Gisele was able to correspond with her former neighbor, Charles De Rudder, who assured her that her mother was safe. After the war Gisele was transferred to a Catholic orphange in Brussels, where she was soon reunited with her mother. In November 1947 Gisele's aunt and uncle sponsored her to come to the United States. Her mother had to wait a further two-and-a-half years before her American relatives could sponsor her immigration as well.
    Record last modified:
    2004-05-27 00:00:00
    This page:
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