Regine Krochmal, nurse, Jewish resistance, survivor XXth convoy

 

 

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One evening, Bob, Harry (members of the resistance) and myself were stencilling the resistance-leaflets. In the middle of the night, the Gestapo busted into the building. Quick as thought, we tried to hide the stencilling apparatus and the leaflets. My two fellows succeeded in getting away. To prevent the Gestapo from searching the apartment, I admitted immediately my Jewish descent. Together with other Jews, I was driven in a truck to the Louizalaan, n° 453, the building of the Gestapo. It was January 20th, 1943.

 

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Regine with her Partisan company „Osterreicher Freiheit Front“ -  September 1944

 

A couple of days later, I was taken to Mechelen, to the Dossin Barracks. Terms of abuse (“Schweine Juden”), strokes with a stick, shouting, ... That’s how we were received in Mechelen. At our arrival, we were taken to a room, where there was a line of tables. Behind each table was a prisoner standing. One by one we had to give in all of our possessions: identity-papers, money, pictures, jewels, luggage, keys, ... Our identity was taken away from us. From that moment on, I was just n° 263.

 

How we were afraid, on that April 19th, in 1943. Of course, we couldn’t sleep. The uncertainty of what was there to come, was too big. What was it going to be? Maybe work? Or worse than here? It was very much open to question.

Early morning, the cattle-wagons were ready. Because I was a nurse, I was assigned to the infirmary-wagon, together with a young doctor. Before I could get in the train, Doctor Bach, a German Jew, responsible for the health of the prisoners, came right beside me and gave me stealthily a large knife. I just had the time to conceal it in my cloak, while he whispered in my ear: “Make sure you can escape. You and all those bunglers are destined to be gassed and burned.”

 

More than ever, I was determined to try to escape. An SS-soldier gave me a little flag. I was supposed to hang it outside the window, to indicate every decease or attempt to escape. Immediately after the closing of the doors, I talked to the young doctor, who was also assigned to take care of the ill. I told him I was a member of the resistance and that I wanted to continue my task. I urged him to flee from the train. He refused. “As a medical doctor, it is my duty to assist the ill, not to escape from them.” He was still reasoning like it was peacetime. I no longer insisted on him trying to escape and started to saw the bars in front of the window with the knife I had got. Luckily the bars were only made of pinewood.

 

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Regine in Sept 1944

The train slowed down, I jumped ... and the train stopped. Rattling from hand machineguns ... Savage roaring by the Germans. Probably there are other attempts to escape. I tried to hide close to -or is it in- the ground and I was loosing all notion of time. Without moving I laid down, I barely dared to breathe. Minutes passed by like they were hours. All of a sudden, the train started moving again.

 

Cautiously I got up ... the knife in my hand. The little house of a crossing-guard is nearby. In that little house was a young man. I sneaked towards him and told him that I was Jewish, that I had jumped out of the train and that I needed help.

 

Without saying anything, he put his finger on his mouth to make me clear I had to shut up. He took me by the arm and brought me to a meadow, right behind the station, where there were a couple of haystacks. He pushed me into one of the haystacks and covered me with hay. In great haste, he returned to his little house.

 

I heard the Germans approaching with their dogs. My guardian angel gave them something to drink and assured them he hadn’t seen anything suspicious. The Germans didn’t seem to be in a rush, they were strolling around, drinking, smoking, and talking. Finally, they took off.

 

When the coast was clear, the guard got me out of my hideout. He gave me something to eat and told me that a little further, a 20-minute walk, there was a tram stop. The tram could take me from Haacht to Brussels. I headed towards the terminus of the tram and so I reached the Rogierplein in Brussels.

 

Transcript from: “Het moet verteld worden zodat de herinnering van de moed tegenover afgrijselijkheid nooit vergeten wordt” (It ought to be told so the remembrance of the courage in front of the horror will never be forgotten). Testimony concerning the Dossin Barracks and the XXth convoy, by Regine Krochmal (private publication, 1995)

 

Regine Krochmal was taken into custody for a second time. First she was locked up in the Fort van Breendonk. Three days later, she got back in the Dossin Barracks. There, she was locked up in a prison-cell for political prisoners. Inmates freed her on September 3rd, 1944. She’s now living in Brussels and she’s 81 years old (in 2001).

 

September 3rd, 2001.

 

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Regine in December 2001

 

 

 

Androgyne déf

 

 

 

"Tant qu'à moi-même et à nous tous,

 

des ailes ne nous auront pas poussé

 

à la place des omoplates,

 

nous pouvons être certains

 

de ne pas encore avoir suffisamment appris

 

à aimer.

 

En secret, je vous dis que moi-même,

 

je n'ai toujours pas d'ailes."

 

 

Régine Krochmal, 2012:

"L'Androgyne ? C'est la joie !"

page 32

 

Régine Krochmal

 

28 juillet 1920 - 11 mai 2012

 

http://www.cclj.be/regards/img/bxl/pict_58.jpg

 

 

Nous vous donnons rendez-vous,

Lundi 21 mai 2012

 

Cérémonie d'adieu à 11 h 30

Atelier Marcel Hastir

Rue du Commerce 51, 1000 Bruxelles

 

Inhumation à 14 h - Cimetière d'Ixelles

 

Réunion-souvenir à 15 h 30

Atelier Marcel Hastir

 

 

 

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