This work by the Belgian sculptor Etienne Desmet is a tribute to the brave attack in Boortmeerbeek by the three young men Youra Livschitz, Robert Maistriau and Jean Franklemon , on the ‘Transport XX’ deportation train – a cattle car train crammed with Jewish passengers, heading for Auschwitz. The story is told in the documentary film “Transport XX to Auschwitz” – https://michelvanderburg.com/2013/04/19/transport-xx-to-auschwitz/ With ‘Last Post’ by Boortmeerbeek’s trumpet player Freddy Verschuren .
① memo 20180429 ~ Hands ~ Filmed last Sunday at the Transport XX commemoration April 22 , 2018 in Boortmeerbeek , Belgium
75 years later at the site of the attack on the deportation train ‘Transport XX’ – a cattle car train crammed with 1631 Jewish passengers, heading for Auschwitz.
Here in the woods near Haacht in Boortmeerbeek , Belgium, the night of April 19, 1943, three young men from Brussels – Youra Livschitz, Robert Maistriau and Jean Franklemon – attacked and stopped this cattle car train, succeeded in opening one of the cars and liberate 17 people. Another more than 200 others could jump out also before the train reached the German border.
Site was filmed (Sony Alpha A7 III with Sennheiser MKE 440) ca 50 meters from the rails into the woods , last Sunday April 22, 2018, Boortmeerbeek , Belgium
Note , last sunday another video called ‘Mood’ showed the attack site at the rail. ① memo 20180424 ~ Into the Woods
The story is told in the documentary film “Transport XX to Auschwitz” – https://michelvanderburg.com/2013/04/19/transport-xx-to-auschwitz/
Image taken at the site of the attack of the 20th convoy “Transport XX” , and music by the swinging Koninklijke Fanfare Albert (Royal Brass Band Albert) during the commemoration of Transport XX in Boortmeerbeek , Belgium ① memo 20180422 ~ Mood ~ Michel van der Burg | Miracles.Media
① memo 20180419 ~ Full of Life … Escape from Transport XX ~ Today 75 years ago , that night of April 19th, 1943 in Belgium , Elias Gnazik helped jump the pregnant Isabella Weinreb from the fast moving 20th train heading for Auschwitz. Viviane – meaning ‘full of life’ – was born 6 months later.
Discussion – moderated by Ingrid Vander Veken – of Simone Korkus’ dutch book “Het dienstmeisje van Degrelle” on 15 oktober 2017 in Kazerne Dossin , Mechelen , Belgium.
This new short film (with english captions / partly english spoken) highlights our discussion in that ‘Literary Cafe’ on Oct. 15, 2017 in Kazerne Dossin, of Elias’ rescue of Isabella and Vivian ; it continues with our visit later to the Kazerne Dossin portrait wall (portrait’s of deported people) with Simone Korkus and Jan Maes (the first to point Simone to Hannah’s story) ; and ends with me having a short improvised talk in english with a visitor’s couple .
Film ① memo 20180419 ~ Full of Life ~ Michel van der Burg | michelvanderburg.com | 1-memo.com | miracles.media
Isabella Weinreb Castegnier was three-months pregnant that night – 75 years ago – on April 19th, 1943 in Belgium – when she froze the moment she had to jump from the fast moving 20th train heading for Auschwitz ( Transport XX to Auschwitz ). The man waiting in line behind her , did not hesitate for a moment , and embracing her from behind , pushed her out – jumping together they both landed in a ditch.
Isabella escaped with a broken wrist and bruises all over her body, but otherwise without major injuries. Her daughter Viviane – meaning “full of life”, and named so for her will to live and hold tight in her mother’s womb – was born six months later on October 30, 1943.
That man saving Isabella and Viviane was Elias Gnazik – we discovered recently in a joint effort – when Simone Korkus had almost finished her book about the life of Elias’ daughter Hannah Gnazik , and contacted me to find out who that woman was that Elias Gnazik helped jump and escape from that cattle car of Transport XX to Auschwitz. For Simone it was a great honor to bring Hannah and Viviane together – the child of the rescuer , and the child of the rescued pregnant woman.
This new story became the epilogue in Simone’s book , written in dutch , called ‘Het Dienstmeisje Van Degrelle’.
During the discussion at the presentation of Simone’s newest book – interviewed by Ingrid Vander Veken – in the Kazerne Dossin museum I asked Simone to tell us something about this spectacular story of the probably youngest that escaped that death train.
Simone Korkus (author , reporter) contacted me via facebook messenger May 2016 asking for information about Mrs Lilly (Wolkenfeld) Schwartz , and telling me Mrs Schwartz had escaped from Transport XX from the same car as Elias Gnazik , the father of Hannah (Gnazik) Nadel.
Simone had actually finished the writing of the story of Hannah (Gnazik) Nadel for her new dutch book “Het dienstmeisje van Degrelle.” but felt she would like to get to know more about Hannah’s father Elias activities in the war.
Mrs Lilly (Wolkenfeld) Schwartz had helped me and Richard from 2011 with our documentary Transport XX to Auschwitz (published 2012, a film by Karen Lynne & Richard Bloom and Michel van der Burg). Mrs Schwartz, unfortunately, had passed away in 2014 .
However , I could help Simone with the story of Mrs Schwartz’s friend Isabella – who had escaped too , right after Mrs Schwartz’s jumped from that car – while being pregnant – with a baby born 6 months after that escape, and named Viviane , meaning ‘full of life’ !
That miraculous story I had first worked on and published together with Viviane in 2014.
Further research by Simone , with the help of Viviane and the researchers of Kazerne Dossin, let Simone to the insight that Isabella had been that pregnant woman Elias Gnazik had helped jumping , and he thus , too had saved Viviane’s life !
Simone Korkus details this beautiful finding and miraculous story in a final chapter – the Epilogue – of her new book , the research , findings , conclusion and her witnessing the emotional meeting of the daughters of the rescuer and rescued in Ramat Gan , Israel.
Sources / links
Viviane Castegnier Yarom & Michel van der Burg (2014) Escape from Transport XX – to be born 6 months later – Viviane’s story.
Michel van der Burg online publication (michelvanderburg.com) link https://wp.me/p14gqN-nq
Simone Korkus (2017) “Het dienstmeisje van Degrelle. Hoe Hannah Nadel de oorlog overleefde” Paperback ISBN 978-94-6310-093-9 / E-book ISBN 978-94-6310-300-8
Polis publisher – fragment online – https://issuu.com/uitgeverijpolis/docs/preview_het_dienstmeisje_van_degrel
Book presentation – On Oct. 15th , 2017 , Simone Korkus presented her book in Kazerne Dossin , in a ‘Literary Cafe’ conversation with colleague author Ingrid Vander Veken. I published a full video report of that conversation Nov 4, 2017 . All in dutch. Het Dienstmeisje Van Degrelle – Presentatie – link https://wp.me/p14gqN-nhp
Documentary film “Transport XX to Auschwitz” (2012) A film by Karen Lynne & Richard Bloom and Michel van der Burg https://wp.me/p14gqN-hA
The Josefov Jewish Cemetery (Jewish Museum in Prague) here filmed March 30, 2012 , is among the oldest surviving Jewish burial grounds in the world and along with the Old-New Synagogue, it is an important site in the Jewish Town – Josefov – the former Jewish Ghetto in Prague, Czech Republic – ① memo 20180330 ~ Old Jewish Cemetery
Old New Synagogue
Staronová synagoga (Alt Neu Shul) Europe’s oldest still active synagogue , once called New Synagogue , in the jewish quarter (Josefov) in Prague , Czech Republic – ① memo 20160217 ~ Old New Synagogue
Filmed Friday afternoon March 30, 2012 by Michel van der Burg | Miracles.Media
① memo 20180319 ~ PUSH Coming to Brussels Opera House Monnaie | Munt ~
Good news ! The community opera PUSH (written by composer Howard Moody) inspired by the true story of Simon Gronowski , a boy whose mother pushed him off the ‘Transport XX’ train heading to Auschwitz in 1943 – an action that saved his life and gave the opera its name – is now programmed in Simon’s hometown in March 2019 in the De Munt | La Monnaie opera house of Brussels .
Howard had met Simon, now in his 80s, in Brussels and promised to write an opera based on his life. PUSH tells this story but also deals with much broader themes of persecution.
After the world premiere of PUSH in 2016 in the UK , and a recent second performance in , Howard Moody once again brings together professional musicians and amateur performers – both adults and children – from the UK and Belgium in a unique theatrical experience.
Push your child off the edge!
My mother gave birth to me twice
Pushing me towards freedom and life
More info / links
Ma vie n’est que miracles. My life is only miracles
A full documentary on Simon’s life , the film Miracles is in production now – more soon on Miracles.Media
Portraits of 17 people liberated from a cattle car of Transport XX to Auschwitz, 19 April 1943 in Boortmeerbeek, Belgium, by three young men – Youra Livschitz, Robert Maistriau and Jean Franklemon. Video of a photomontage (still) submitted today for The Art of War exhibition in Kazerne Dossin (BE) by Michel van der Burg