Hakker-Wach family. Collection

Language of Description
Level of Description
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium

252 digitised images (19 documents, 151 photos and 19 objects)


Biographical History

Simon Hakker was born in Antwerp in 1912, as the son of the Dutch couple Joseph Hakker and Rachel Simons. Like his father, Simon became a pastry chef. The family had a bakery in Provinciestraat in Antwerp. In 1934, Joseph Hakker won a baking competition by creating the "Antwerps Handje", a hand shaped cookie which remains the symbol of Antwerp until this day. Before the war Simon Hakker had already met milliner Phyllis Wach, born in London in 1919. Her parents had met in the United Kingdom : Wolf fled from Antwerp, Peggy had migrated with her family from Lublin to London. In 1925, the family – in the mean time with two daughters Phyllis and Sylvia (born in 1923) - settled in Antwerp. In 1933 Sylvia Wach passed away, suffering from a kidney disease. In 1941, the engaged Simon Hakker and Phyllis Wach fled to France where they were housed by family members in the south. They got married in the main synagogue in Lyon, while Simon’s parents were stuck in occupied Belgium. Rachel Simons, Simon’s mother, would pass away in the Sint-Erasmus hospital in Antwerp on 29 October 1942. Joseph Hakker, Simon's father, was arrested on 30 November 1942 and deported from the Dossin barracks via Transport XVIII on 15 January 1943. However, he was able to escape from the train and went into hiding with the armed resistance in Wallonia. He assisted the Armée de la Libération Clandestine (armed resistance) and wrote a testimony about his captivity at the Dossin barracks. This booklet, “The mysterious Dossin Barracks in Mechlin - The Deportation Camp of the Jews”, would be the first eye witness account of the Mechelen transit camp to be published, only a few weeks after the liberation of Belgium. The father of Phyllis Wach, Wolf "Wolly" Wach, would be arrested during a raid in France and was deported via transport 51 from the Drancy transit camp to Maidanek, where he was killed. His wife Peggy Rosenzweig survived the war. In 1942, Simon Hakker and Phyllis Wach managed to flee to Switzerland. There, Phyllis gave birth to oldest daughter Rachel Hakker in December 1942 and to second daughter Joyce Sylvia in February 1945. Both were born in the Clarence-Territet refugee camp. In the summer of 1945 the family returned to Antwerp, where they were reunited with grandfather Joseph Hakker. The bakery reopened in November 1946. Simon Hakker passed away in 1991, Phyllis Wach in 1996. Both Joyce and her sister Rachel Hakker got married and have children. Joyce Bloch-Hakker still lives in Edegem today.

Archival History

Joyce Sylvia Bloch-Hakker collected her family photos in albums and added objects related to her family's bakery to the collection. The three table cloths were the only objects from Phyllis's trousseau that were recovered from their neighbour whom had stored the objects, but later on acted as if he never received anything. After contact with dr. Veerle Vanden Daelen, deputy director and curator of Kazerne Dossin, Joyce Bloch-Hakker gave Kazerne Dossin in December 2016 permission to digitize a selection of photos from the family albums. An agreement for a long term loan of the objects was also signed.


Joyce Sylvia Bloch-Hakker, daughter of Simon Hakker and Phyllis Wach

Scope and Content

This collection contains four biscuit boxes with prints referring to "Antwerpse handjes", the cookie invented by Joseph Hakker, grandfather of the donor ; seven baking tins used in the Hakker bakery, including a mould to cut "Antwerpse handjes" ; three tablecloths from Phylis Wach's trousseau ; three pieces of table silver owned by Phylis's father Wolf Wach ; documents including adds published by the Hakker bakery, several postcards sent from the Dossin barracks and the Drancy transit camp, and a booklet with notes on the illness of his mother Rachel Simons by Simon Hakker ; photos illustrating pre-war daily life of the Hakker-Simons and Wach-Rosenzweig families, portraits of the extended Hakker-Simons and Wach-Rosenzweig families, photos of the Hakker bakery in Antwerp, of family vacations, of the engagement of Simon Hakker and Phyllis Wach, of post-war holidays and daily life showing donor Joyce Sylvia Hakker and her sister Rachel Hakker.


Documents and photos will be added upon request by the Hakker family

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

Documents and photos digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin. The objects are physically stored at the Kazerne Dossin archives.

Existence and Location of Originals

  • Joyce Sylvia Bloch-Hakker, Private collection, Edegem


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.