Full of Life … Escape from Transport XX


① memo 20180419 ~ Full of Life … Escape from Transport XX ~ Today 75 years ago , that night of April 19th, 1943 in Belgium , Elias Gnazik helped jump the pregnant Isabella Weinreb from the fast moving 20th train heading for Auschwitz. Viviane – meaning ‘full of life’ – was born 6 months later.
Discussion – moderated by Ingrid Vander Veken – of Simone Korkus’ dutch book “Het dienstmeisje van Degrelle” on 15 oktober 2017 in Kazerne Dossin , Mechelen , Belgium.
This new short film (with english captions / partly english spoken) highlights our discussion in that ‘Literary Cafe’ on Oct. 15, 2017 in Kazerne Dossin, of Elias’ rescue of Isabella and Vivian ; it continues with our visit later to the Kazerne Dossin portrait wall (portrait’s of deported people) with Simone Korkus and Jan Maes (the first to point Simone to Hannah’s story) ; and ends with me having a short improvised talk in english with a visitor’s couple .
Film ① memo 20180419 ~ Full of Life ~ Michel van der Burg | michelvanderburg.com | 1-memo.com | miracles.media

Isabella Weinreb Castegnier was three-months pregnant that night – 75 years ago – on April 19th, 1943 in Belgium – when she froze the moment she had to jump from the fast moving 20th train heading for Auschwitz ( Transport XX to Auschwitz ). The man waiting in line behind her , did not hesitate for a moment , and embracing her from behind , pushed her out – jumping together they both landed in a ditch.

Isabella escaped with a broken wrist and bruises all over her body, but otherwise without major injuries. Her daughter Viviane – meaning “full of life”, and named so for her will to live and hold tight in her mother’s womb – was born six months later on October 30, 1943.

That man saving Isabella and Viviane was Elias Gnazik – we discovered recently in a joint effort – when Simone Korkus had almost finished her book about the life of Elias’ daughter Hannah Gnazik , and contacted me to find out who that woman was that Elias Gnazik helped jump and escape from that cattle car of Transport XX to Auschwitz. For Simone it was a great honor to bring Hannah and Viviane together – the child of the rescuer , and the child of the rescued pregnant woman.
This new story became the epilogue in Simone’s book , written in dutch , called ‘Het Dienstmeisje Van Degrelle’.
During the discussion at the presentation of Simone’s newest book – interviewed by Ingrid Vander Veken – in the Kazerne Dossin museum I asked Simone to tell us something about this spectacular story of the probably youngest that escaped that death train.

Background

Simone Korkus (author , reporter) contacted me via facebook messenger May 2016 asking for information about Mrs Lilly (Wolkenfeld) Schwartz , and telling me Mrs Schwartz had escaped from Transport XX from the same car as Elias Gnazik , the father of Hannah (Gnazik) Nadel.
Simone had actually finished the writing of the story of Hannah (Gnazik) Nadel for her new dutch book “Het dienstmeisje van Degrelle.” but felt she would like to get to know more about Hannah’s father Elias activities in the war.
Mrs Lilly (Wolkenfeld) Schwartz had helped me and Richard from 2011 with our documentary Transport XX to Auschwitz (published 2012, a film by Karen Lynne & Richard Bloom and Michel van der Burg). Mrs Schwartz, unfortunately, had passed away in 2014 .
However , I could help Simone with the story of Mrs Schwartz’s friend Isabella – who had escaped too , right after Mrs Schwartz’s jumped from that car – while being pregnant – with a baby born 6 months after that escape, and named Viviane , meaning ‘full of life’ !
That miraculous story I had first worked on and published together with Viviane in 2014.
Further research by Simone , with the help of Viviane and the researchers of Kazerne Dossin, let Simone to the insight that Isabella had been that pregnant woman Elias Gnazik had helped jumping , and he thus , too had saved Viviane’s life !
Simone Korkus details this beautiful finding and miraculous story in a final chapter – the Epilogue – of her new book , the research , findings , conclusion and her witnessing the emotional meeting of the daughters of the rescuer and rescued in Ramat Gan , Israel.

Sources / links

Viviane Castegnier Yarom & Michel van der Burg (2014) Escape from Transport XX – to be born 6 months later – Viviane’s story.
Michel van der Burg online publication (michelvanderburg.com) link https://wp.me/p14gqN-nq

Simone Korkus (2017) “Het dienstmeisje van Degrelle. Hoe Hannah Nadel de oorlog overleefde” Paperback ISBN 978-94-6310-093-9 / E-book ISBN 978-94-6310-300-8
Polis publisher – fragment online – https://issuu.com/uitgeverijpolis/docs/preview_het_dienstmeisje_van_degrel

Book presentation – On Oct. 15th , 2017 , Simone Korkus presented her book in Kazerne Dossin , in a ‘Literary Cafe’ conversation with colleague author Ingrid Vander Veken. I published a full video report of that conversation Nov 4, 2017 . All in dutch. Het Dienstmeisje Van Degrelle – Presentatie – link https://wp.me/p14gqN-nhp

Documentary film “Transport XX to Auschwitz” (2012) A film by Karen Lynne & Richard Bloom and Michel van der Burg https://wp.me/p14gqN-hA

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PUSH Coming to Brussels Opera House Monnaie | Munt

① memo 20180319 ~ PUSH Coming to Brussels Opera House Monnaie | Munt ~
Good news ! The community opera PUSH (written by composer Howard Moody) inspired by the true story of Simon Gronowski , a boy whose mother pushed him off the ‘Transport XX’ train heading to Auschwitz in 1943 – an action that saved his life and gave the opera its name – is now programmed in Simon’s hometown in March 2019 in the De Munt | La Monnaie opera house of Brussels .

Howard had met Simon, now in his 80s, in Brussels and promised to write an opera based on his life. PUSH tells this story but also deals with much broader themes of persecution.
After the world premiere of PUSH in 2016 in the UK , and a recent second performance in , Howard Moody once again brings together professional musicians and amateur performers – both adults and children – from the UK and Belgium in a unique theatrical experience.

Push! Push!
Push your child off the edge!
[…]
My mother gave birth to me twice
Pushing me towards freedom and life

More info / links

PUSH in Brussels 2019

The full film ‘Transport XX to Auschwitz’ is presented online here at this site

PUSH opera premiere in the UK, 2016

Ma vie n’est que miracles. My life is only miracles

A full documentary on Simon’s life , the film Miracles is in production now – more soon on Miracles.Media

Miracles


① memo 20180215 ~ Miracles ~ Today ‘Miracles’ is announced : our title for the upcoming documentary on Simon Gronowski and Koenraad Tinel !

Today, also, we announce the birth of the Miracles•Media site and new film house !
Miracles•Media is first and foremost for promotion of the Miracles documentary film, and will further serve as platform and online portfolio of other productions.

“Ma vie n’est que de miracles” – My life is only miracles – Simon Gronowski.

Good Night


① memo 20171025 ~ Good Night ~ Flowers last night , from the ASF België / Belgique (Belgian ASF association of Action Reconciliation Service for Peace) and the Atelier , for both the Piano trio Vincent Tohier, Daniela Giovanna Becerra Pérez, and Elisabeth Sturtewagen , and for Koenraad Tinel & Simon Gronowski after the interview by Walter Pauli at the Atelier Marcel Hastir in Brussels , Belgium

Blues Duet


① memo 20170426 ~ Blues Duet ~ Blues with a jamming piano duet by ‘Boogie Boy’ Paul Ambach and Simon Gronowski together with Dennis Jacquemyn (guitar) and drummer Jamal Thomas at the Transport XX commemoration last Sunday April 23 , 2017 , were music was the theme this year – Boortmeerbeek , Belgium

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(video edit update 20170601 : sound volume increase and slight image exposure edit)