Szmulewicz-Kramarz family. Collection

Language of Description
1 Jan 1915 - 31 Dec 2021
Level of Description
  • French
  • English
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium

3 documentaries (26,5 minutes, 35 minutes and 35 minutes) and 25 digitised images (25 photos)


Biographical History

Hersz Wolf Szmulewicz was born in Warsaw, Poland, on 12 April 1905. He became a framer and in 1925 he migrated to Belgium. Here he changed addresses quite often, moving around the municipalities of Saint-Gilles, Anderlecht, Schaerbeek, Ixelles, Forest and Anderlecht in the Brussels area. Around 1935 he married Chana alias Anna Kramarz. She had been born in Warsaw on 14/27 April 1908 and migrated to Belgium in 1923. Hersz and Anna’s only child, Irene Szmulewicz, was born in Ixelles, Brussels, on 25 October 1936. When Nazi-Germany invaded Belgium in May 1940, Hersz, Anna and toddler Irene fled the Belgian capital. They travelled to France by train and on foot, but decided to return to their apartment at Rue de la Clinique 77 in Anderlecht, Brussels, when they had nearly reached Lille. From the end of 1940 onwards they had to obey the anti-Jewish decrees installed by the German authorities. Hersz thus registered himself, Anna and Irene in the municipal Jewish register on 22 November 1940. When mass roundups began in August 1942 Hersz and Anna started looking for a hiding place for themselves and their daughter. The three of them were taken in by a protestant resistance network and succeeded in staying together until Liberation. Hersz, Anna and Irene were hidden at multiple addresses, including the home of the Charensol family which was recognized as Righteous among the Nations after the war. In general, Irene was not allowed to leave their hiding place or to go to school. Hersz, Anna and Irene all survived the war together in hiding. In 1955 Irene went to Israel where she lived in two kibbutzim. She joined the army, got married and had a child. She returned to Belgium in March 1960. In the late sixties, after a brief visit to New York, she moved to the United States and remarried. Hersz and Anna Szmulewicz-Kramarz both came from large families. Their parents and siblings also migrated to Belgium before the war. Hersz Szmulewicz’ parents Chaim Pinkus Szmulewicz and Frajdla Zajdenfeld arrived in Belgium in 1925. Although Frajdla passed away before the war, Chaim was placed in an elderly home during the occupation, where he survived the war. Hersz left his hiding place regularly to visit his father at the institute. Hersz’ eldest sister Perla Frymet Szmulewicz survived the war, but her husband Aron Polus died in Brussels at the end of October 1942. Their two eldest children – Ita and Abe Polus – received a work order in July 1942 and reported themselves at the Dossin barracks. Hersz and Irene visited the house of Perla to say goodbye to Ita and Abe the day they left. The siblings were deported from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport I on 4 August 1942. Both were murdered. Hersz’ second sister Ruchla and her husband Szloma Czyzewski both survived the war. Hersz’ youngest sister Ida Rywka Szmulewicz also survived. Ida’s husband Abraham Landsberger was deported to northern France as a forced labourer in the summer of 1942 and to Auschwitz-Birkenau via transport XVII in October 1942. Abraham survived and was repatriated to Belgium in 1945, but passed away in 1949. He left behind his wife and their son who had been born in 1946. Anna Kramarz’ parents Shmuel alias Chmoul Kramarz and Chaya alias Haia Elenberg arrived in Belgium in 1910. Both were arrested during the first anti-Jewish raid in Antwerp, in the night of 15 on 16 August 1942, and murdered after being deported from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport IV. Anna’s eldest sister Mania alias Marjem fled to France in 1942, with her husband Ajzyk Jutkewicz (sometimes spelled Judkiewicz) and their children Marcel (officially called Pinkas Mordka) and Felix. The four of them were arrested and deported from Drancy to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport 26 on 31 August 1942. All four family members were killed. Anna’s second sister Estera, together with her husband Rafal Erlich and their children Francine and Philippe, survived the war separately in hiding. Anna’s eldest brother Rachmiel Hersch alias Harry Kramarz was caught in France while trying to flee to Switzerland. He was deported from Drancy to Auschwitz-Birkenau on 14 September 1942 via Transport 32, but escaped the train and survived the war. He returned to Brussels, remarried and had a daughter. Anna’s youngest brother Joseph and his wife Lily (officially called Regina Olga) Amegg successfully crossed the French-Suisse border and survived the war in Switzerland, where their son Charles was born.

Archival History

Gaël Krajzman Johns, grandchild of Rina Szmulewicz-Mondlin, collected and digitised family photos of Rina in preparation of a documentary on Rina’s story as a Holocaust survivor. Gaël interviewed both Rina and Rina’s cousin Francine Erlich, thus starting an interview project which resulted in two documentaries. Gaël kindly shared copies of the digitised photos as well as both documentaries with Kazerne Dossin in 2021.


Gaël Krajzman Johns, grandchild of Rina Szmulewicz-Mondlin, 2021

Scope and Content

This collection contains: the documentary “Darkness and Light” on the story of Irene alias Rina Szmulewicz-Mondlin, created by Gaël Krajzman Johns ( ; the documentary “Nous sommes là!” on the story of Irene’s cousin Francine Erlich and Francine’s husband Marcel Holender, created by Gaël Krajzman Johns ( ; the documentary “We are here!” on the story of Irene’s cousin Francine Erlich, Francine’s husband Marcel Holender and sister-in-law Louise Holender, created by Gaël Krajzman Johns ( for French and for English) ; 25 photos of the Szmulewicz-Kramarz family, including photos of Irene Szmulewicz with her parents Hersz Wolf Szmulewicz and Chana alias Anna Kramarz, photos of the extended Szmulewicz and Kramarz families, and photos of Irene and her parents with some of their rescuers among whom the Charensol family.


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

Digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin as collection KD_00602

Existence and Location of Originals

  • Irene alias Rina Szmulewicz-Mondlin, Private collection, United States

Existence and Location of Copies

  • A copy of the documentary “Darkness and Light” was also donated to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel.

Related Units of Description

  • The photos of Shmuel alias Chmoul Kramarz, Chaya alias Haia Elenberg and Ita Polus which are part of this collection, were added to the Give them a Face portrait collection (KD_00017). The photo of Felix Jutkewicz (sometimes spelled Judkiewicz) which is part of this collection, was added to the Give them a Face (France) portrait collection (KD_00350).


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.