Mejlech Dunkelblau and Ryfka Schwarz were both born in Rzeszów, Poland. Anna Dunkelblau was born on November 15, 1906. Mejlech and Ryfka lived unofficially separated. Mejlech was deported on transport XXIV from the Dossin Barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau and was murdered there. Ryfka and Anna were not deported and survived the war.
Mejlech Dunkelblau and Ryfka Schwarz were both born in Rzeszów, Poland. Mejlech on December 28, 1880 and Ryfka on June 13, 1882. They married on December 29, 1904 in the same city. Two years later, on November 15, 1906, daughter Anna Dunkelblau was born in Berlin. On June 1, 1926, father Mejlech arrived in Belgium and settled on Barastraat 1 in Anderlecht. Mother Ryfka and daughter Anna continued to live in Berlin at Kommandantenstrasse 62.
Mejlech moved on November 22, 1926, to Grensstraat 48 in Sint-Joost-ten-Node. There he lived with Marguerite-Louise Radunzel. Together with her, they had a clothing store in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek. Presumably he and Ryfka were unofficially divorced. In June 1927 he moved to Ostend but in September 1927 Mejlech settled on Opzichterstraat 83 in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek. Mejlech’s path between 1927 and 1938 is unclear. In 1938 he lived on Boulevard Leopold II in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek with his daughter Anna who came to Belgium on December 27, 1938.
Ryfka also came to Belgium on May 10, 1939 and settled on Plantenstraat 79 in Sint-Joost-ten-Node. She declared herself to be a political refugee and received a travel guide valid until July 7, 1939, but it was constantly extended. However, Ryfka still had the Polish nationality so the Belgian authorities informed her that she had to return to Poland. The Assistance Board for Jewish Refugees intervened and asked the authorities to register her in the population register. On October 28, 1939, Ryfka was then registered in the register of aliens. This allowed her to remain in Belgium pending emigration abroad. On March 1, 1940, Mejlech applied for permanent residence for Ryfka in Belgium. Ryfka’s entry in the aliens’ register was subsequently renewed. However, Mejlech and Ryfka continued to live separately.
In May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded Belgium. For more than three years Mejlech was able to stay out of the hands of the Nazis but on September 22, 1943, at the Dossin Barracks, he was entered on the deportation list of transport XXIV under the number 80. Transport XXIV left for Auschwitz-Birkenau on April 4, 1944. Mejlech, at the age of 63, was one of the 99 deportees over the age of 50 on transport XXIV. Consequently, he was not ‘fit to work’ and may have been sent to the gas chamber immediately upon arrival on April 7, 1944. Ryfka and Anna were not deported and survived the war.
ADRIAENS Ward, STEINBERG Maxime (et al.), Mecheln-Auschwitz, 1942-1944. The destruction of Jews and gypsies from Belgium, 4 volumes (volume 1), Brussels, 2009.