Father Lipman and daughter Gertrude were expelled from Germany. They were both deported from the Dossin Barracks in Mechelen to Auschwitz-Birkenau. They did not survive.
Gertrude Pakula was born on September 27, 1922 in Kaiserslautern, Germany. She and her father Lipman Pakula were deported from Germany and had to leave the territory by July 8, 1939. On July 10, 1939, they arrived in Antwerp from Kaiserallee 41 in Aachen. Afterwards they went to live at Korte Kievitstraat 17. Gertrude was not granted a visa but a travel guide model B valid until August 15, 1939. In the meantime, she moved to Simonsstraat 10. In November 1939 she registered in the aliens’ register.
In May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded Belgium. Lipman and Gertrude obeyed the anti-Jewish laws of the occupation administration. On December 18, 1940, they enrolled in the municipal register of Jews in Antwerp. Between December 21, 1940 and February 12, 1941, 3,401 Antwerp foreigners – mostly Jews – arrived in Limburg on the orders of the German occupying authorities. They were distributed among 43 villages and towns. Daily they declared their presence in the town hall where they were accommodated. Since Gertrude lived in Herk-de-Stad at the end of 1940 – beginning of 1941, she is probably one of these 3,401 Antwerp exiles. Afterwards she came back to Antwerp and settled at Plantin en Moretuslei 86. She was employed by the Reichman-Grunspan family. There she was offered a place to stay. Benjamin Reichman was a diamond merchant and employed Gertrude as a nanny.
When the “evacuation” of the Jews began in August 1942, Gertrude was put on transport II. She accepted the Arbeitseinsatzbefehl, the employment order issued by the Sipo-SD. As a “compulsory laborer,” she was summoned to the assembly camp in Mechelen and then deported. Transport II left Mechelen on August 11 and arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau on August 13. Only three deportees on this train survived three years of captivity. Gertrude was not one of them.
Gertrude’s father, Lipman Pakula, was deported two weeks later on transport V. Unlike Gertrude, Lipman did not respond to the Arbeitseinsatzbefehl but was arrested. The circumstances of his arrest are not known to us. Transport V left the Dossin Barracks in Mechelen for Auschwitz-Birkenau on August 25, 1942. Lipman did not survive.
ADRIAENS Ward, STEINBERG Maxime (et al.), Mecheln-Auschwitz, 1942-1944. The destruction of Jews and gypsies from Belgium, 4 volumes (volume 1), Brussels, 2009.