Extent and Medium
Over 2000 (digitised) memoirs.
Scope and Content
The Memoir collection of the Leo Baeck Institute holds thousands of mostly unpublished autobiographical accounts and memoirs. Around a quarter of them were written by women. Searching the Center for Jewish History database, we find that the descriptions of a few dozens of memoirs contain the words such as “Belgium”, “Brussels”, “Antwerp” etc. The memoirs relevant for this guide contain descriptions of, for example, life in Belgium (mostly in the interwar period), emigration to and temporary residence in Belgium after 1933, the situation of the German-Jewish refugees in Belgium, experiences during the war (hiding, arrest, deportation, life in the concentration camps), … Some manuscripts describe events for which information is rather scarce – see for example the diary of Philipp Schlesinger (ME 569), depicting his experiences as a German-Jewish soldier in Belgium and France during the First World War.
The LBI Memoir collection is made accessible via the CJH-database; see http://search.cjh.org .
The EHRI project, in cooperation with the National Archives of Belgium, selected Holocaust-relevant archival descriptions from the finding aid G. DESMET & P. FALEK-ALHADEFF, P.-A. TALLIER (dir.), Bronnen voor de geschiedenis van de Joden en het Jodendom in België (19de-20ste eeuw) - Sources pour l'histoire des populations juives et du judaïsme en Belgique (19e-20e siècles), Brussel, Algemeen Rijksarchief, 2015. Please note that this guide focuses on Belgium-related archival materials in the respective descriptions.