The last word from Malines
The last word from Malines

 

Translation of the letter written by Victor Guicherd to Yad Vashem explaining why he did not wish to receive a Righteous hero's medal.


"Having received your letter of the 19th, I wish to inform you that I will be unable to attend the meeting in Paris.

On one hand, I cannot leave my wife who is disabled, while on the other my age does not make such a journey possible.

You ask me for a testimony on behalf of the Jews during the years of occupation.

I helped as much as I could those who were in distress and as I have already told you, I consider that as natural and simple human solidarity.

You are asking me for memories: those I prefer are those that concern the two children, Berthe and Jacques, who were confined to our trust for three years. It is their aunt who brought them to us when their mother had been deported with her baby. We did our best to educate them, to give them instruction and, in one word, to love them.

We were very sad to have to give them back to their father and since then we have always been in touch with them.

Today, Jacques is a doctor in Paris, married and the father of three children, Berthe went to Israel, lives in Jerusalem, is married to a journalist, Mr, Eppel and is the mother of two children.

Their affection is the best reward for what we have done for them."

Perla, Paula and Michel

The last word from Malines on the day Perla and Michel were sent to Auschwitz. The card, from Paula Lasman is in the Simon Weisenthal Center archives. No word was received from Perla or her baby son. Their last journey was with Paula Lasman.

Seventeen-year old Paula
Lasman was a member of the Jewish Students Group in Brussels, Belgium. Paula was rounded up by the Gestapo in early 1942 at the train station upon her arrival in Antwerp from Brussels, and was sent to Malines (Mechelen), a transit camp. Her knowledge of French, Flemish and German helped her to get a job in the camp's office. On September 15, 1942, Paula was deported on the 10th convoy to Auschwitz concentration camp, where she perished. This farewell postcard was written on September 14, 1942, one day before she was deported, and mailed from Malines. Since Paula had heard nothing from her parents, who were deported earlier with her brother, she addressed her postcard to the Zylberminc family. Mrs. Zylberminc was her mother's sister and the Zylberminc's vacant house was used as a base for communication among members of the Jewish
Students Group. This card is the last known message from anyone on the convoy from Malines to Auschwitz. While there is no such indication, we can assume, from Paula's concern, that she  may have met Perla and her baby as they waited  and would have given them warm clothes, had the parcel she sought arrived on time.

 From. Joseph Goebbels diaries, August 1942 (one month before)
 
 
A report from Paris informs me that a number of those who staged the last acts of terror have been found. About 99 per cent of them are eastern Jews [Ostjuden]. A more rigorous regime is now to be applied to these Jews. As far as I am concerned, it would be best if we either evacuated or liquidated all eastern Jews still remaining in Paris. By nature and race they will always be our natural enemies anyway. 

Hitler's last words, dictated just before his death.

Above all I charge the leaders of the nation and those under them to scrupulous observance of the laws of race and to merciless opposition to the universal poisoner of all peoples, International Jewry.

Given in Berlin, this 29th day of April 1945, 4:00 A.M.

 


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