Tag Archives: interview

Scout Bambi | Simon Gronowski


Behind the scenes iphone shots by Sonja van der Burg of our filming Simon Gronowski for the documentary film project ‘Miracles’.

Simon Gronowski — once a little scout nicknamed “Bambi” (totem name early 1940s) — telling his story in ‘Simon reads his story’ at the public performance of authors during the event ‘Voices in the Museum’, interviewed by Marjan Verplancke, in the holocaust museum Kazerne Dossin in Mechelen, Belgium, December 2017.

Other ‘voices’ filmed that weekend: Nina Landau presenting her short film ‘Lon’ (to which I could gladly contribute a little something), and Esther Naschelski reading from her biography – as shown in the film ‘Esther’s Puzzle’ (link below) .

NL – Dutch :

‘Achter de schermen’ iphone shots door Sonja van der Burg tijdens onze filmopnames van Simon Gronowski voor het documentaire project ‘Miracles’.

Simon Gronowski – ooit een kleine verkenner met de bijnaam “Bambi” (totem naam begin jaren 40) – die zijn verhaal vertelt in ‘Simon leest zijn verhaal voor’ tijdens het publieke optreden van schrijvers, geïnterviewd door Marjan Verplancke, in het Kazerne Dossin museum op zondag 3 december 2017 , ter gelegenheid van het 5 jarig bestaan van het holocaust museum (als opvolger van het Joods Museum van Deportatie en Verzet) in Mechelen , België.

Andere ‘stemmen’ gefilmd dat publieksweekend: Nina Landau bij de vertoning van haar film ‘Lon’ (waar ik graag een kleinigheid aan kon bijdragen), en Esther Naschelski voorlezend uit haar biografie – zoals te zien in de film ‘Esther’s Puzzle’ (link hieronder).

Links :

Esther’s Puzzle
https://michelvanderburg.com/2018/01/27/esthers-puzzle/

Lon’s World Premiere
https://michelvanderburg.com/2017/11/25/lons-world-premiere/

Lon’s Puppet Show
https://michelvanderburg.com/2017/07/29/lons-puppet-show/

Scout Bambi ~ Talk : Simon Gronowski at ‘Voices in the Museum’ with Marjan Verplancke | Kazerne Dossin – kazernedossin.eu ~ Film : 20201208 Sonja and Michel van der Burg | Miracles•Media

Samir Hamdard ~ Afghan Refugee Camp Brussels Beguinage Church


Samir Hamdard ~ Afghan Refugee Camp Brussels Beguinage Church ~ In March 2014 Kristen Cattell (USA) and Michel van der Burg (Holland) traveled to Brussels, Belgium to meet a group of Afghans living inside an old Catholic church – the church of Saint John the Baptist at the Béguinage (Beguinage Church). At the time, nearly one hundred Afghan refugees had set up camp within the walls of the seventeenth century compound. We made a reportage and interviewed several people including Samir Hamdard (Ahmad Samir Hamdard) .
Samir the tireless activist of peace, justice and solidarity, was the spokesperson for the afghan refugees in Belgium – he died following a terrible fire accident that happened today a year ago (July 2019).

We thank Samir Hamdard and the other Afghan refugee friends who welcomed us and gave the interviews (note : full report of the other interviews in a follow-up later). Special thanks to Isabelle Marchal and others whose works were on display in the church and are shown in this film. Félix Snyers on the Béguinage church pipe organ.

Special thanks also to priest Daniel Alliët – host of the camp – who when retiring in 2019 started a new life for the church as House of Compassion – officially March 21 , 2020 – @houseofcompassionbrussels – http://www.houseofcompassion.brussels .

More about the Beguinage Project here http://bit.ly/1HZguvY and here https://michelvanderburg.com/?s=Beguinage

Reportage by Kristen Cattell (USA) and Michel van der Burg (Holland) | Beguinage Project .
Film : Samir Hamdard ~ Afghan Refugee Camp Brussels Beguinage Church | 20200729 | Michel van der Burg | michelvanderburg.com | miracles.media

Full of Life … Escape from Transport XX


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.

Background

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

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Het Dienstmeisje Van Degrelle – Presentatie


Interview van Simone Korkus door Ingrid Vander Veken op 15 oktober 2017 in Kazerne Dossin , Mechelen , België , bij de presentatie van haar boek : “Het dienstmeisje van Degrelle. Hoe Hannah Nadel de oorlog overleefde” (Polis).
① memo 20171104 ~ Film : Michel van der Burg – michelvanderburg.com | 1-memo.com

Boek — De Joodse Hannah Nadel belandt tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog als dienstmeisje in het Brusselse huis van de zus van Léon Degrelle en ontsnapt op die manier aan de gruwelen van de Jodenvervolging. Simone Korkus wekt dit onwaarschijnlijke verhaal tot leven, ontmoet Hannahs Belgische redders en toont hoe het leven in oorlogstijd heel wat grijze zones bevat. Terwijl Simone Korkus het leven van Hannah in Brussel reconstrueert, stuit ze op familiegeheimen en loopt ze ook aan tegen haar eigen vooroordelen. Want wat is waarheid in de manier waarop we naar anderen kijken en hun gedrag beoordelen? En hoe vervormt ons geheugen trauma’s zoals die na de Tweede Wereldoorlog?
‘Het dienstmeisje van Degrelle’ is een opmerkelijk en persoonlijk verhaal dat tijdens de bezetting begint en doorloopt tot vandaag.

Interview — Twee schrijfsters, twee journalistes, verwante zielen. En eenzelfde onderwerp: de tweede wereldoorlog en het zwijgen daarover. Ingrid Vander Veken schreef eerder “Zwijgen” en interviewde nu Simone Korkus bij de presentatie van haar boek “Het dienstmeisje van Degrelle”. Harold Polis (Uitgeverij Polis waar beide boeken verschenen) introduceerde het gesprek van beide schrijfsters.

Jan Maes , die Simone op het eerste spoor bracht van Hannah’s verhaal , vertelt in de discussie hoe Simone er ook voor gezorgd heeft dat de redders van Hannah en haar moeder de Yad Vashem onderscheiding gekregen hebben.

Ik spreek Simone voor het eerst persoonlijk over de epiloog van haar boek – waarin zij vertelt hoe onze (online) samenwerking heeft geleid tot de ontdekking dat Elias Gnazik , de vader Hannah , op 19 april 1943 in de trein van Transport XX degene was , die de 3 maanden zwangere Isabella Weinreb hielp ontsnappen – door haar te omarmen en samen uit de wagon te springen.
Isabella’s dochter Viviane werd 6 maanden na de ontsnapping ‘vrij’ geboren. Viviane is ontsnapt in de buik van haar moeder , dankzij Elias – een ontsnapping waar ik samen met Viviane voor het eerst over gepubliceerd heb in 2014 op mijn site – https://michelvanderburg.com/2014/04/28/escape-from-transport-xx-to-be-born-6-months-later/ Samen met Simone heeft Viviane vorig jaar Hannah bezocht in Israël.

Binnenkort licht ik dit toe in een speciale korte versie van deze reportage (see Updates below – April 19, 2018) .

Links
Uitgeverij Polis – https://www.polis.be
Het dienstmeisje van Degrelle – Simone Korkus – https://www.polis.be/catalogsearch/result/?q=korkus&cat=0 Paperback ISBN 978-94-6310-093-9
E-book ISBN 978-94-6310-300-8
Fragment boek online – https://issuu.com/uitgeverijpolis/docs/preview_het_dienstmeisje_van_degrel

Updates

April 19, 2018 – Full of Life … Escape from Transport XX

Jan 16, 2019 – Updates section and link added