After fleeing from the First World War, the Second World War kills Israel and his mother.
Israel Gerschkovitsch (°12/03/1908 in Antwerp) lived in Belgium until the outbreak of the First World War, together with his mother Esther Weinstein (°15/06/1874 in Odessa, Russia). In 1914 mother and son fled via the Netherlands to London. Israel stayed there until 1924. In December of that same year he reported to the Foreigners Office in Belgium. When he registered, he stated that he was a diamond polisher’s apprentice who lived with his aunt and uncle in Korte Kievitstraat, Antwerp. In 1925 he went to work in the diamond industry and applied for an unlimited visa. Shortly afterwards he moved from his aunt and uncle’s house to Van der Meijdenstraat in Borgerhout, and then to Arendstraat in Antwerp. At the latter address his mother joined him. In the 1930s Israel finally obtained Belgian nationality.
In May 1940 Nazi Germany invaded Belgium and installed an anti-Jewish policy. This was characterised by the compulsory registration of Jews in the municipal Jewish register and compulsory membership of the Jewish association. In December 1940, Israel registered in the Register of Jews and in March 1942, he and his mother enrolled in the Antwerp Jewish Association. At that time they lived in Van Immerseelstraat. During the war years Israel was a member of the Belgian Chess Association, he played in the Circle des Echecs d’Anvers.
Israel’s mother Esther was interned in the SS-Sammellager Mecheln on 4 December 1942, and deported with transport XIX on 15 January 1943. It is possible that Israel was locked up together with his mother in the Dossin Barracks. The exact date of his arrival in the Dossin Barracks is not known. However, he belonged to a group of 37 male prisoners who were taken from the Dossin Barracks to Breendonk on 11 January 1943 by camp commander Philip Schmitt as punishment for package fraud that was discovered. In that penal camp 12 of them were murdered. Israel and the other 24 survivors were eventually brought back to Mechelen. On 5 June 1943, Israel was re-registered in the barracks, after which he was deported with transport XXIIB to Auschwitz-Birkenau on 20 September 1943. Neither Israel nor his mother survived.