Family Lisak-Kaplan

Moses Lisak and Esther Kaplan were born in Kalisz, Poland. They arrived in Belgium in January 1939 as a stopover to emigrate to Uruguay. On January 19, 1935, they had a daughter: Ruth. Moses and Lisak were deported on transport XXIII from the Dossin Barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Ruth was not deported and survived the war.

Family Lisak-Kaplan
Moses Lisak

Moses Lisak and Esther Kaplan were both born in Kalisz in Poland. Moses was born on April 25, 1896 and Esther on October 23, 1901. In 1932 Moses and Esther were religiously married in Cologne and three years later they had their first and only child: Ruth Lisak. She was born on January 19, 1935, in Cologne. At the end of January 1939, the Lisak-Kaplan family arrived in Belgium and went to live at Edelknaapstraat 58 in Ixelles. They saw Belgium as a stopover for emigrating to Uruguay.

The Belgian authorities granted them a laissez-passer which expired on March 10, 1939. So, the family had to leave Belgium before that date. However, after this period Moses, Esther and Ruth were still living in Ixelles. Moses declared that he had lost his Polish nationality, which made a return to Poland impossible. Moses and his family were issued with a travel order valid until April 20, 1939, that was subsequently renewed. In June 1939, Moses declared that he could not provide proof that he was effectively stateless. The authorities therefore decided that he and his family had to leave Belgium within 15 days.

Family Lisak-Kaplan
Esther Kaplan

The Lisak-Kaplan family did everything possible to be allowed to stay in Belgium. At the end of August 1939, for example, Moses received a travel permit for eight days, but he did not leave and instead applied again for a stay of two to three months. In his letter to the authorities, he cited several reasons why he should stay: he had lived in Belgium since January 26, 1939, he was allegedly stateless, his brother-in-law in Uruguay had done the necessary to make the emigration possible, and his wife Esther and daughter Ruth deserved mercy.

On August 19, 1939, Moses and Esther were legally married in Ixelles. The couple was also entered in the aliens register. Their residence permit would be renewed annually. Moses, Esther and Ruth moved successively from Rue du Livorno in Ixelles to Rue du Warchat in Charleroi and back to Ixelles to settle at Rue du Livorno 105. In May 1940 Nazi Germany invaded Belgium. The Lisak-Kaplan family obeyed the anti-Jewish laws of the occupation authorities. On December 19, 1940, they registered in the municipal Register of Jews and in 1942 they became members of the Jewish Association.

Father Moses and mother Esther were arrested and on November 10, 1943, put on the list of transport XXIII under numbers 420 and 421. Transport XXIII left on January 15, 1944, together with a special transport for Roma, from the Dossin Barracks in Mechelen to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Moses and Esther did not survive the war. Daughter Ruth was not deported and survived the war. Afterwards she migrated to the United States.


Publication info:

ADRIAENS Ward, STEINBERG Maxime (et al.), Mecheln-Auschwitz, 1942-1944. The destruction of Jews and gypsies from Belgium, 4 volumes (volume 1), Brussels, 2009.

Dieter Porton