Abramow-Menakier family. Collection

Language of Description
1 Jan 1928 - 31 Dec 1966
Level of Description
  • French
  • Dutch
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium

111 digitised images (22 photos, 1 photo album with photos, 8 documents)


Biographical History

Joseph Abramow was born in Minsk, Belarus (then Russia), on 25 November 1905 as the son of Abraham Abramow and Ethele Choulman. In 1924 Joseph requested a visa for Belgium to study at the university in Ghent. He arrived in October of that year and found living quarters at Rue de la Caverne. In 1925 Joseph obtained a permanent visa. In 1928 he moved from Ghent to Antwerp and became a clerk at a trading company although he had obtained a degree in chemical engineering. On 12 December 1931, Joseph Abramow married Dunia alias Dina Menakier, born on 7 March 1908 in Horodziej, Belarus (then Poland), as the daughter of Szymon Menakier and Bejla Schwartz. Dunia had emigrated to Belgium in December 1930 and first lived in Bressoux before moving to Antwerp. By the time of their marriage, Joseph had found employment as a chemical engineer. The couple settled at Lange Herentalsestraat in Antwerp, where on 21 May 1932, Dunia gave birth to their son Maurice. Joseph and Dunia started a pharmacy at Plantin en Moretuslei, where Joseph worked as a chemist and Dunia ran the store. They also supported Hoda Menaker, the widow of Joseph’s brother Salomon Abramow, and her son Samuel who migrated to Belgium in 1932. In 1933, Hoda married Moise Creizberg and moved out of the Abramow residence. By 1935 Joseph and Dunia had split up. While he moved to Brussels where he opened his own shop, Dunia continued the pharmacy in Antwerp together with her brother-in-law Michael Sapiro, husband of Dunia’s sister Jessel alias Lena Menakier. The Sapiro’s had two daughters: Jenny (born on 13 July 1932 in Antwerp) and Adolphine alias Tania (born on 3 September 1933 in Antwerp). As their parents often worked, Jenny, Tania and Maurice spent a lot of time together and with a caretaker. Maurice looked upon his cousins as his sisters. In the night of 13 on 14 August 1942 the apartment of the Sapiro family in Antwerp was invaded by the Nazis. Michael, Lena and their daughters were arrested and transferred to the Dossin barracks in Mechelen. They were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport III on 15 August 1942. None of the family members survived. Maurice, who was also supposed to spend the night at the Sapiro apartment, had made a fit the previous day not wanting to stay there and had subsequently been brought to the woman who regularly took care of all three children. Maurice thus avoided arrest, but would continue to feel guilty about not persuading his cousins to join him at their caretaker’s house for the rest of his life. Upon his family’s arrest, Maurice was placed in hiding by the Jewish Defence Committee under the false identity of Maurice Allart. Both Maurice Abramow and his mother Dunia Menakier survived the war, as did his father Joseph Abramow. In late 1942 Joseph had gone into hiding in Ghent, where he remained until liberation. He then joined the American Army as an engineer and was deployed to Germany. In 1949 he and Dunia officially divorced. Joseph emigrated to the United States in 1957. Maurice Abramow obtained Belgian nationality when turning sixteen and studied medicine at the Université Libre de Bruxelles [Free University of Brussels]. He became a doctor and a professor at the same university. Maurice married Luce Cremers and had a daughter. Maurice Abramow passed away in 2018.

Archival History

In 2013 Luce Cremers, wife of Maurice Abramow, kindly permitted the digitisation of selected items from her husband's private collection. She donated the original photo album to Kazerne Dossin.


Luce Cremers, wife of Maurice Abramow, 2013

Scope and Content

This collection contains: wedding photos of Joseph Abramow and Dunia Menakier; photos of the Abramow-Menakier family on holiday at the beach and in a rural setting; photos of relatives including Jesel alias Lena Menakier and her daughters Adolphine alias Tania and Jenny Sapiro as well as the Creizberg-Menaker (Menakier) family; a photo album of an unidentified family, possibly the rescuers of Maurice Abramow; a 1942 New Year’s letter from Adolphine (Tania) Sapiro to her aunt Massa Sapiro and uncle Boris Grinberg; two notebooks of Maurice Abramow used at school while in hiding as Maurice Allart; post-war letters from Joseph Abramow to his son Maurice Abramow.


No further accruals are to be expected

Conditions Governing Access

Contact Kazerne Dossin Documentation Centre: archives@kazernedossin.eu

Conditions Governing Reproduction

Contact Kazerne Dossin Documentation Centre: archives@kazernedossin.eu

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Selected items digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin

Existence and Location of Originals

  • Luce Cremers, Private collection, Belgium (photo album stored at Kazerne Dossin)

Existence and Location of Copies

  • Digital copy available as collection KD_00127 at Kazerne Dossin

Related Units of Description

  • The pictures of Jenny and Adolphine (Tania) Sapiro as well as Samuel Abramoff, which are part of this collection, were also added to the Give them a Face portrait collection (KD_00017).


This description is derived directly from structured data provided to EHRI by a partner institution. This collection holding institution considers this description as an accurate reflection of the archival holdings to which it refers at the moment of data transfer.