Aronsfrau-Hollander family. Collection

Language of Description
1 Jan 1867 - 31 Dec 1957
Level of Description
  • Hebrew
  • French
  • Dutch
  • German
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium

128 digitised images (43 photos, 31 documents and 2 precious prints)


Biographical History

Leon Aronsfrau is born on 8 December 1887 in Bochnia, Poland, as the son of Syna Aronsfrau and Eleonore Landau. During the First World War he serves in the Austro-Hungarian army. On 3 November 1919 he marries Eva Hollander in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. Eva was born on 28 July 1893 in Radomysl, Poland, as the daughter of Norbert and Regina Hollander. The couple migrates to Germany where their three children are born: Leonore on 8 September 1920 in Dresden, Norbert on 24 December 1921 and Siegbert alias Cina on 12 June 1923, both in Essen. Father Leon earns a living as a merchant. From 1927, he travels regularly to Belgium on business and visits his emigrated family there. In December 1930 Leon Aronsfrau moves to Belgium, where he works as a representative for La Gaine, a manufacturer of underwear. On 6 October 1931, his wife Eva Hollander and their three children also migrate. The family settles in Brussels and moves several times until they settle at 47 Rue Jourdan in Saint-Gilles. From 1932 Leon works as a representative in clothing for his brother Mozes Aronsfrau's company, and in 1933 he starts his own business manufacturing children's and baby articles. The Aronsfrau family is well-to-do. Leonore, Norbert and Siegbert study. From 1939 Leonore and Norbert are also members of the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes. That same year grandmother Regina Hollander flees from Nazi Germany to Belgium. Leon and Eva take her in. When Nazi Germany invades Belgium in May 1940, the Aronsfrau family still lives in Rue Jourdan. During the next two years, they obey the anti-Jewish decrees. At the end of 1940, the family members register in the municipal Jewish Register. In 1941, the “Jood-Juif” stamp is put on their identity cards. Norbert Aronsfrau is forced to leave the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Free University of Brussels) where he studies medicine. Presumably Leon also has to close his flourishing business and the family members wear the yellow star. After the start of the deportations in the summer of 1942, the family goes into hiding on Rue du Pacifique in Uccle. They receive help from their good friend Simone alias Monique Goossens-Magnée (born in Belgium in 1908). Although Simone is married and the mother of a young son, she remains in contact with the Aronsfrau family, putting her own life at risk. In 1943, the Germans locate the hiding place of the Aronsfrau family, possibly after they have been denounced. Leon, Eva, Leonore and Regina are arrested and taken to the Dossin Barracks. Transport XX takes them to Auschwitz-Birkenau on 19 April 1943. Regina, almost 70 years old, is probably sent to the gas chamber immediately upon arrival. Leon, Eva and Leonore manage to jump out of the train at Halle-Booienhoven, Belgium. Eva is hit by a bullet and dies on the spot. Leon and Leonore are also injured during the escape. Leon suffers a gunshot wound, Leonore breaks her arm. Father and daughter are arrested again and taken to Sint-Jan Hospital in Tienen. On 4 May 1943, the partisans undertake a liberation attempt, which fails due to the presence of a traitor in their unit. Leon Aronsfrau and his daughter Leonore are taken back to the Dossin Barracks the same day. On 31 July 1943, they are deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in the special wagon of transport XXI, reserved for those who had previously escaped from trains. Neither survives. Siegbert and Norbert Aronsfrau escape arrest when their parents, sister and grandmother are discovered in their hiding place at the Rue du Pacifique. The brothers sleep in the attic, and can escape via the rooftop during the raid. They manage to contact Simone Goossens. Simone is an independent woman and helps the brothers during the rest of the war. She first lets them hide in her own house at Rue Franz Merjay 149 in Ixelles without her husband knowing about it. She then finds a new hiding place at Rue Vilain XIIII in Brussels. Norbert Aronsfrau survives the war in hiding. Siegbert Aronsfrau joins the resistance. He assumes a false identity and becomes Jean de la Roche or Cina Arents. Since Siegbert speaks perfect German and has blond hair, he poses as a German officer and distributes false marching orders. However, he is discovered, arrested and taken to Saint-Gilles prison, where he is tortured. Simone Goossens visits him. Siegbert shows her his mutilated hands. On 10 August 1944, Siegbert is taken to the Dossin Barracks in Mechelen. Simone brings him parcels and sends him letters. Together with the other prisoners Siegbert is liberated in the barracks on 4 September 1944. After Liberation the Aronsfrau brothers first return to Rue Vilain XIIII in Brussels. Later they move in as tenants with Simone Goossens in her house on the Chaussée de Vleurgat 256 in Ixelles. Siegbert works as a restorer of old furniture, Norbert becomes a diamond dealer. Siegbert and Norbert Aronsfrau change their names to Jacques and Dick Arents. Simone Goossens and her family consider them as their relatives. For Mathieu Magnée, Simone's grandson, Jacques and Dick are his uncles. Both men talk little about their deported parents and sister, although they do ask Mathieu to keep the memory of their family alive. Siegbert Aronsfrau passes away in 1992, Simone Goossens in 2001, Norbert Aronsfrau in 2002.

Archival History

Simone Goossens saved photographs and documents for the Aronsfrau family during the war. After her death her grandson Mathieu Magnée moved into her house. He found the items and kept them safe until he kindly donated the originals to Kazerne Dossin in 2020.


Mathieu Magnée, grandson of Simone Goossens-Magnée, 2020

Scope and Content

This collection consists of: photos of the Aronsfrau-Hollander family, including photos of siblings Leonore, Norbert and Siegbert Aronsfrau as children and adults, photos of parents Leon Aronsfrau and Eva Hollander, photos taken during family vacations, a photo of Leon Aronsfrau during his military service and a photo of Norbert Aronsfrau with his rescuer Simone Goossens ; documents regarding the Aronsfrau-Hollander family, including Siegbert Aronsfrau’s fake ID, a letter sent to Siegbert Aronsfrau while detained at the Dossin barracks from his rescuer Simone Goossens, a post-war letter from Lucy Van Malderghem containing a postcard sent to her by Leonore Aronsfrau while Leonore was detained at the Dossin barracks, post-war letters from family members in the USA and Latin-America regarding the fate of the Aronsfrau family in Belgium during the war, documents regarding the recognition of Siegbert Aronsfrau as a political prisoner, post-war documents regarding the possible migration of Norbert and Siegbert Aronsfrau to the United States post-war documents from the Ministry of Reconstruction regarding the fate of Eva Hollander ; two pre-war prayer books.


No further accruals are to be expected

Conditions Governing Access

Contact Kazerne Dossin Documentation Centre:

Conditions Governing Reproduction

Contact Kazerne Dossin Documentation Centre:

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The prayer books in the collection are in mediocre condition.

Existence and Location of Copies

  • Digital copy available as collection KD_00591 at Kazerne Dossin


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.