Family Meyer- Kupperman

Family Meyer- Kupperman
Helena Kupperman

Helena Kupperman (born 26/10/1905 in Kety, Poland) travelled to Belgium in July 1931 for a spa treatment. Initially she indicated that she wanted to stay in Belgium for three months. At the end of the year, however, she changed her plan as she announced that she wanted to stay in Belgium for an indefinite period. She lives in Berchem with her uncle Tobias and her aunt Torre Gutmann in Milistraat and starts working as a Hebrew teacher. Helena applied for permanent residence in Belgium but was rejected. This marked the beginning of a long period in which Helena was repeatedly asked to leave the country. In 1934 she applied for permission to stay in Rotterdam, but this was also refused. Her uncle and aunt wrote a letter to the Belgian authorities to show that it was very important to them that Helena could stay in Belgium. Tobias and Torre have lived in Belgium for more than 50 years and their children are married. The two are already very old and count on Helena’s care. Tobias also writes that they will provide her with shelter, food and clothing so that the Belgian state will certainly not suffer. However, the letter has no impact; Helena still has to leave the country.

This changed in 1935 when Helena married the Belgian Samuel Arthur Meyer (°04/12/1894, Antwerp). Helena and Samuel got married on 25 June 1935 and as a result she obtained Belgian nationality. The couple moved to the Gitschotellei in Borgerhout and welcomed their son Moritz Joseph (°10/01/1938, Berchem) in 1938.

In May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded Belgium and implemented a strict anti-Jewish policy. Initially, Jews of Belgian nationality were spared. The Meyer-Kupperman family was eventually interned twice in the Dossin Barracks. Samuel Arthur was already registered in November 1942. Because he had Belgian nationality he was protected against deportation. In January 1943, as a result of package fraud discovered, he was transferred from the Dossin Barracks to the Breendonk penal camp. At the beginning of June 1943, he was sent back to the Dossin Barracks.

We do not know when Helena and her son were registered in the SS-Sammellager Mecheln – possibly together with Samuel in November 1942 – but on 26 June 1943 mother and son were released from the Dossin Barracks together with Samuel and 300 other Belgian Jews. Their freedom was short-lived: in the night of 3 to 4 September 1943 they were rounded up again during Aktoin Iltis, the raid aimed at Jews with Belgian nationality. This time their Belgian nationality did not save them from deportation. On 20 September Samuel Arthur, Helena and Moritz Joseph were deported with transport XXIIB. None of them survived.

Kaatje Langens