Nelly’s family name is ‘Quintart’ , and misspelt ‘Quintard’ on the Righteous MedaI (Ref 1) minted posthumous for Nelly by Yad Vashem in 1999 to honor Nelly for hiding and rescuing the Jewish Frankenthal family in her home in Brussels during the holocaust. Date of Recognition 30 Dec 1998 by Yad Vashem (Ref 2, 3).
Righteous Medal | 20200820 | Miracles•Media
August 2016, this Righteous Medal from Yad Vashem with the name ‘Nelly Quintard’ was presented to me by researcher Janiv Stamberger, during this interview I filmed at the Wiki Loves Art event in Kazerne Dossin , Mechelen , Belgium.
I posted that interview August 2020 at michelvanderburg.com with the following information (Ref 4) :
“Medal of the Righteous Among the Nations – from the Yad Vashem holocaust center in Israel for the Righteous helping Jews during the Holocaust – with the inscription in French ” The grateful Jewish people” and the French translation of the Jewish saying “Whoever saves a single life, saves an entire universe”.
This medal was minted for Nelly Quintard, a widow in her fifties during the war, who hid the Frankenthal family (Abraham, Esther, and daughter Scheindel) in her home in Brussels, Belgium, from September ’42 until the end of the occupation.”
That information was based in part on the Yad Vashem database (Ref 2) and on a dossier in the Felix archive in Antwerp of correspondence by Mrs. Scheindel Frankenthal – Kalwary , ‘Sally’ the daughter of the Frankenthal family , who had requested Yad Vashem that honorific title Righteous Among the Nations (Juste parmi les nations) for Madame ‘Nelly Quintard’ (Ref 5).
Message from Nelly’s Godchild Renée Cassin
November 1, 2020, shortly after publishing that August 2020 post on the Righteous Medal, I got a message (via the contact form at michelvanderburg.com) from Nelly’s goddaughter ‘Renée’ – the granddaughter of Nelly’s brother René Quintart – who wrote me :
“What an extraordinary moment when we discovered totally by chance that you had some information about Nelly Quintart!!
She is my great aunt as well as my godmother. We had found out about her name being on the Wall of Righteous, but despite our research, we could not find out thanks to who…
My grand father, René Quintart had gone to London to join de Gaulle, and being single without children, Nelly moved into his big house in Brussels, where he also had his practice (he was a doctor), and stayed there during the whole war.
I myself have , as a child in the 50’s, spent many years in that house and used to play in that attic where , we were told, so much had happened…. I would love to learn more, kind regards,
That same day, Renée and I started sharing more on Nelly Quintart …Renée handed me a short story she had written in 2015 on Nelly Quintart…and I shared the information I had on Nelly ‘Quintard’ , both from Yad Vashem , and the dossier in the Felix archive in Antwerp of correspondence by Mrs. Scheindel Frankenthal – Kalwary .
I further decided to do more research for this upcoming update of Nelly’s story…now knowing Nelly’s family name is actually spelled ‘Quintart’.
Below first what is known from the letters of Scheindel – Sally – Frankenthal in the Felix archive.
The Felix city archive of Antwerp, Belgium, has a dossier (Inventory number AJHA-SB#64) with the correspondence of the Frankenthal daughter Scheindel (Salomée , aka Sally) , who had requested the medal first december 1995 for Nelly in her letters to Yad Vashem via the Antwerp city council…my translation/paraphrasing :
“I have the honor to apply for the title of ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ for Mrs. Nelly Quintard who hid us, my parents Abraham and Esthére Frankenthal, as well as myself Scheindel Frankenthal from September 1942 until the end of the occupation of Brussels. We were hiding in her brother’s house, 13 rue Marie-Thérèse in Brussels … Madame Nelly Quintard died without leaving any descendants, I would like to honor her memory posthumously.
…S. Frankenthal – Kalwary …
In a second letter (28 dec 1995) Sally Frankenthal details on her family and …. “aunt Nelly”… :
” I was born on December 23, 1934. My parents and I lived in Antwerp, 19 rue Van Lerius, at the beginning of 1942 we left for Brussels, where we lived, rue Cervantes.
We stayed at this place for a few months with false names and false papers. In September 1942 we went to live with Madame Nelly Quintard who hid us until the liberation of Brussels. We stayed all the time without going out, Madame Quintard left every morning equipped with an attaché case and went each time to different merchants to do the shopping for food, so as not to arouse suspicion. She came back every day with her little suitcase filled and no one could suspect that she was feeding four people instead of one.
Madame Nelly Quintard was a widow, childless, approaching her fifties, to my recollection no profession, receiving a pension from the Belgian state, because her husband had been a civil servant in the Belgian Congo. During this period Madame Nelly Quintard lived at 13 rue Marie-Thérese in Brussels, therefore just behind the Gestapo located rue de la Loi.
The house in rue Marie-Thérèse belonged to her brother who had fled the occupiers, so that’s where we hid without going out until the liberation of Brussels.
This hiding place had been planned for my grandfather Frankenthal and his wife, as he did not want to leave his house in Antwerp, we went there in his place.
Mrs. Nelly Quintard did this out of greatness of soul and out of love for her neighbour, without any profit motive.
We had the whole house at our disposal, but we had to be quiet, don’t turn on lights when Madame Quintard was away.
In September 1942 I had not yet reached the age of eight, so I have a very vague memory of the events occuring at that time.
I would like to be able to quote you witnesses of this horrible time there are no more survivors, my parents died as well as all other people who could have given you details, they were all much older than me.
I searched in Brussels for people with the same name, without any results, unfortunately there is no one from her family with whom we could have honored her memory and her bravery.
I remember very friendly relations between my parents and Madame Nelly Quintard whom I called ‘aunt Nelly’.
From time to time we received a visit from her father, an [old] gentleman, who had been a station master, he cultivated the little garden which gave us extra vegetables.
My parents were financially well-off, which allowed them to hold on throughout the war. There was also a foreman from my grandfather’s factory who brought us a little meat from the country every week.
I remember that one day despite the prohibition to approach the windows, having done so, the neighbor opposite saw me and reported it to Madame Quintard, despite the great risks she was taking, she bravely continued to hide us, it was thanks to her that my parents and I had survived this horrible war and that I had the happiness of being able to start a family. My daughter lives in Antwerp with her two sons, my son has made Aliyah, fourteen years ago, lives in Israel where he served in the army, married … and in turn founded a family with his two sons.
I sincerely hope that you will be able to help me fulfill a wish that is very dear to me to posthumously honor the memory of the person to whom, after my parents, I owe the happiness of being alive.
In the hope that you will consider favorably my request, please accept Mr. Zal, the assurance of my respectful sentiments.”
In this picture above : Nelly Quintart & Esther Frankenthal (left to right) , as shown in The Album (Les Justes en Image) exposition by David Inowlocki / Hidden Child Association Belgium (Ref 6).
Nelly Quintart – Story by Renée Cassin
That same day Renée first contacted me, she sent me her short story on Nelly Quintart, her godmother …she wrote to leave a family trace…
Below excerpts from that story (originally written in French, Feb. 2015) selected, and translated, by me:
A Righteous Among the Nations
August 24, 1894 – December 6, 1986
« Tante Nelly » (Aunt Nelly) was the older sister of René Quintart, the famous Doctor Quintart …
Nelly, in addition to being Renée’s godmother, was everyone’s “Aunt” … in the family, we often referred to her as “my aunt”, for example, her brother could say “did my aunt call today?”
She had a very strong personality, and without doubt her main character trait was independence of character, opinion, speech. She didn’t mince her words and made as many enemies as friends. She was also infinitely generous with her time, her efforts, and also the means at her disposal, which varied according to the different periods of her life.
When she was young, she had gone to the Congo for a few years to teach [ local children ] .
She had met there the one who would briefly become her husband, Jean Delgof … the couple never had children. After this period, she returns to live in Brussels (14 rue Rossini) in a large house in which her parents live with her (whom she takes care of)…
The war breaks out. It is the Appeal of General de Gaulle in June 1940. René Quintart decides to join him in London …
He entrusts his house and his medical practice, located at 13 rue Marie-Thérese, to his sister Nelly. She remained there until his return in 1944.
It was during this period that she showed courage, selflessness and inventiveness that saved many lives.
In the family, we knew that she had been a very first-rate “resister” and had met this young Jewish man whom she had hidden for eighteen months in this big house. He was of Polish origin and was called “Bolek”. Unfortunately, we did not retain his surname. He often came back to see her from Antwerp where he had married Rachel. They had a daughter Claudine. He had become a diamond dealer, and one day, much later, he had brought her a ring with eighteen small diamonds, each symbolizing a month of hiding that Nelly had allowed him to take advantage of. And there were all the others, anonymous, whom she helped by hiding them, for a few days or a few months.
We learned much later … that Nelly had also been very active within the “Comet” network which came to the aid of British pilots.
This is how she hid a Scottish pilot, named John Brown, for several weeks, thus allowing him to escape the search that the Germans had launched against him.
It is said that in order not to arouse suspicion, she shopped in several shops in the neighborhood, each time buying only the quantity of food that the hardened bachelor that she was could have needed!
Extreme courage or recklessness, she maintained good relations with one of the colonels of the Commandery whom she happened to invite to lunch! She was a heroine for many, but we all experienced this as “normal”…
At the end of the war, she becomes again a respectable lady of a certain age, without history,
and resumes her “before life”. .
Aunt Nelly ended her life in a retirement home in Ostend on December 6, 1986.
She was neither buried nor cremated, having “donated her body to Science”
She was definitely someone extraordinary.
More than thirty – five years later … we learned that in 1999, Nelly Quintart had been recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations”. Unfortunately, we do not know who took steps to have her acts of courage recognized. We think it may be the Scottish aviator John Brown, or the famous Bolek who never forgot her, visiting her several times a year. We knew that Bolek had lost his parents during the war, and that he was very attached to the one who had saved his life.
More research online …
Donald Duck | Comète | Andrée ‘Nelly’ QUINTART ….
After reading more on Nelly’s activities in Renée’s story, I understood that Nelly had been very active in the resistance , and I continued searching online (Nov 4, 2020) for more information on her work within the “Comète” network , and learned at cometeline.org that “QUINTART Andrée ‘Nelly’ participated in the ‘Escape’ service of William Halot” … called ‘Donald Duck’ … “evacuating soldiers to France and Switzerland through various routes.” ….”She lived at 13 Rue Marie-Thérèse, then at 14 Rue Rossini. She hosted a Scottish soldier named John Brown.” (Ref 7).
Actually – as described in Renée’s story, Nelly first lived at 14 Rue Rossini and then moves to 13 rue Marie-Thérese , the house with medical practice that her brother René Quintart entrusts to Nelly, when he leaves for England following the Appeal of General de Gaulle in June 1940.
More research online and reading (later in Sep. 2021) the published war journals of Tinou Dutry-Soinne, I learned , that Doctor René Quintart arrived at the heart of the Belgian government in London during the Second World War , sharing the apartment building with Tinou Dutry-Soinne who worked at the Belgian Parliamentary Office ‘OPB’, and described him as a charming man, a good comrade with a heart of gold and a cheerful character… always ready to tell stories and be of service.” (Ref 8).
Nelly was known as a widow of Jean Delgof, who had been working in the Belgian Congo.
The announcement in 1948 that Nelly received a 2nd Class Civic Medal 1940-1945 from the Belgian Ministry of the Interior in the Belgian official journal , also mentioned ‘widow of Delgof’ (Ref 10).
Not known, and fascinating to discover , when searching online for ‘Andrée’ and ‘Quintart’ , was the finding that Nelly had been married before , and actually, became a widow first at the age of 20 …when her first husband Georges Rimez was reported to probably have died as a soldier early in World War I on October 22, 1914 (Ref 12, 13).
Whether her first love was missing in action forever … is unknown …
Tribute to Nelly
Little boxes telling stories , made by Renée Cassin …. her niece and god daughter.
Many thanks to Sally Frankenthal for her persistence over years for Nelly Quintart to be recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations” and … Renée Cassin and her family now hope for contact with the family of Sally (Scheindel / Salomée) Frankenthal – Kalwary , who in her correspondence with Yad Vashem mentioned her daughter and son … with grandchildren !
A new medal from Yad Vashem with the right spelling Nelly Quintart would be great , I will ask Yad Vashem .
You can contact Renée Cassin via the contact form at the web site(s) miracles.media or michelvanderburg.com — Michel van der Burg | Miracles•Media
License info : Story of Righteous Nelly • Quintart aka Quintard | 20230526 | Renée Cassin & Michel van der Burg | Miracles•Media
References & Notes
1. “Righteous Among the Nations” Yad Vashem medal in Kazerne Dossin , Mechelen , Belgium , August 18, 2016. This image was uploaded as part of Wiki Loves Art Belgium in 2016. Image by Michel van der Burg – michelvanderburg.com – CC BY-SA 4.0 | URL https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Medaille_van_Rechtvaardigen_onder_de_Volkeren.png
2. Quintard Nelly . The Righteous Among the Nations Database – File number M.31.2/8314 | Yad Vashem | URL https://righteous.yadvashem.org/?search=quintard&searchType=righteous_only&language=en&itemId=4017080&ind=0
3. Righteous Among the Nations Honored by Yad Vashem by 1 January 2022 – Belgium – Name : Quintard, Nelly | No 8314 | Year 1999 | URL https://www.yadvashem.org/yv/pdf-drupal/belgium.pdf
4. Righteous Medal | 20200820 | Michel van der Burg | michelvanderburg.com | Miracles•Media | URL https://michelvanderburg.com/2020/08/20/righteous-medal/
5. Dossier van Yad Vashem over Nelly Quintard | Felix Archief (Antwerp, Belgium) Invent AJHA-SB#64 / Isadfiche: BE SA 28528 / Yad Vashem #8314 | URL https://felixarchief.antwerpen.be/detailpagina?invnr=AJHA-SB_64
6. Nelly Quintart & Esther Frankenthal (left to right). Photo source : Sally Frankenthal-Kalwary | The Album (Les Justes en Image) exposition by David Inowlocki / Hidden Child Association Belgium (L’Enfant Caché). URL : http://www.enfant-cache.be/sites/default/files/exposition-site-ec.pdf . Photo edit : Michel van der Burg, Miracles•Media. Note : Original caption in The Album : Madame Nelly Quintard avec, à sa droite, Madame Esther Frankenthal. Madame Nelly Quintard a caché et sauvé les époux Adolphe et Esther Frankenthal avec leur fille Sally. Photo : Sally Kalwary-Frankenthal
7. List of people who have helped airmen who have passed through Comète. ABC HELPERS – Site COMETE NETWORK | Association “LIGNE COMETE LINE – REMEMBRANCE” / Comète Kinship belgium . URL http://www.cometeline.org
8. Les méconnus de Londres: Journal de guerre d’une Belge, 1940-1945, by Tinou Dutry-Soinne. Volume I (2006, Éditions Racine, ISBN 9782873864835) & Volume II (2008, Éditions Racine, ISBN 9782873865047). | Note : In her war journal, Tinou Dutry-Soinne describes how almost a year later , in 1941, she and others felt , when they accompanied René Quintart to Kings Cross Station in London before leaving for the Dominican Republic (my translation) : “All very moved. His departure really saddens us, because he is a charming man, a good comrade with a heart of gold and a cheerful character… always ready to tell stories and be of service.” After the liberation, René Quintart returns via London to Belgium, were he received the official authorization in 1946 to exercise the functions of Consul General of the Dominican Republic in Brussels (Ref 9).
9. Moniteur Belge | Belgisch staatsblad , Nov 24, 1946 – p9601 – Consulats Étrangers en Belgique .. | A la date du 5 novembre 1946, M le Dr R. Quintart a reçu l’exequatur nécessaire pour exercer les fonctions de Consul Général de la République Dominicaine à Bruxelles
10. Belgian official journal (Belgisch Staatsblad | Moniteur Belge) of Nov 18, 1948 page 9211 was announced Quintart, Nelly-C-A-G, widow Delgof, in Anderlecht [Brussels] received a 2nd Class Civic Medal 1940-1945 from the Belgian Ministry of the Interior. https://books.google.nl/books?id=E6chEqWzOuwC&pg=PA9211&lpg=PA9211 | Note : The name Delgof J. is listed as european personnel (situation in the year 1904) working there at station Ibali in the district Lac Léopold II – in the publication Mai Ndombe (Ref 11)
11. The name Delgof J. is listed as european personnel (situation in the year 1904) working there at station Ibali in the district Lac Léopold II – in the publication Mai Ndombe (2019) | ISBN : 978-9-4926-6955-1 | www.africamuseum.be URL https://www.africamuseum.be/sites/default/files/media/docs/research/publications/rmca/online/monographies-provinces/vol12_Mai_Ndombe.pdf
12. Searching online for ‘Nelly’ as Andrée QUINTART , I discovered she had been married before , reading in the 22 June 1922 Belgian official journal (Belgisch Staatsblad | Moniteur Belge) the following announcement by the Ministry of Defense – Military Graves Service – on her husband : Georges Rimez – soldier, 8th line regiment, born in Monceau-sur-Sambre, July 3, 1891, domiciled there, son of Vital and Copin, Marie-Sidonie, husband of Quintart, Nelly-Cécile- Andrée-Ghislaine, presumed dead in Stuyvekenskerke (Tervaetehoek, October 22, 1914. | Note : Georges Rimez is also listed as : RIMEZ Georges Gédéon Ghislain | birth place : Monceau sur Sambre | birth date : 03/07/1891 | place died : Stuivekenskerke -Tervatebocht | date died : 22/10/1914 at the Pervijze.be website in the pdf : “In Gesneuvelden op het grondgebied van Pervijze, Stuivekenskerke, Oostkerke en Lampernisse” URL http://www.pervijze.be/gesn/lijstgesneuveld.pdf