Fela and Chaim Perelman papers

Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 2006.432.1
  • 2016.570
1 Jan 1919 - 31 Dec 2001
Level of Description
  • French
  • Polish
  • English
  • Hebrew
  • German
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium


oversize boxes

oversize folders

book enclosures






Biographical History

Fela Perelman (1909-1991) was born Fajga Estera Liwer in Bedzin, Poland and married Chaim Perelman in 1935. She studied history at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and wrote a doctoral thesis on the Belgian Revolution and Poland in 1830. During the war, she welcomed Jewish children who had been excluded from the public schools by German order at the "Nos Petits" kindergarten, and in 1942 she turned those children over to the underground Comité de Défense des Juifs to protect them from deportation. Her book Dans le ventre de la baleine describing her resistance work was published in 1947. After the war she worked with Aide aux Israélites Victimes de la Guerre to house refugees and assist illegal immigration to Palestine. She was on the board of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, which awarded her an honorary doctorate, and she was appointed to the Belgian baronage in December 1983.

Chaim Perelman (1912–1984) was born in Warsaw, Poland. His father was a diamond trader, and his family immigrated to Antwerp, Belgium in 1925. He married Fajga (Fela) Estera Liwer in 1935 and obtained Belgian nationality in 1936. He studied at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, earned two doctorates, and became a full professor by the end of the war, although he was not allowed to lecture during the German occupation. He served with the Association des Juifs en Belgique and helped found the Comité de Défense des Juifs to assist the Jewish underground during the war. After the war he helped found Aide aux Israélites Victimes de la Guerre to aid refugees. He was an ardent supporter of Israel, helped found les Amis Belges de l’Université Hébraïque de Jérusalem to support the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which awarded him an honorary doctorate. He made his career in the field of philosophy of law and argument and was the director of the National Center for Research in Logic at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. In recognition of his academic and civic accomplishments, Perelman was appointed to the Belgian baronage in December 1983.

Archival History

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Noémi Perelman Mattis

Funding Note: The cataloging of this collection has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

Dr. Noémi Perelman Mattis donated this collection to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on Oct. 17, 2006 with the assistance of her daughter, Olivia Mattis.

Scope and Content

The Fela and Chaim Perelman papers consists of photographs, correspondence, biographical materials, personal narratives, published works, and printed materials, documenting the work of Drs. Fela and Chaim Perelman on behalf of the resistance during World War II, aiding refugees after the war, and in support of the state of Israel as well as their intellectual work in the fields of history and philosophy of law and argument.

System of Arrangement

The Fela and Chaim Perelman papers are arranged as eighteen series: Series 1: Photographs of the Perelmans, circa 1937-1990 Series 2: Chaim and Fela Perelman, prewar, 1919-1981 Series 3: Nos Petits, 1940-1968 Series 4: Wartime, 1940-1982 Series 5: Noémi Perelman Mattis, 1940s, 1990 Series 6: Immediate post-war, 1942-1970 Series 7: Personal correspondence, 1944-1990 Series 8: Postwar correspondence, 1927-1991 Series 9: Books written by the Perelmans, 1934-1979 Series 10: Books and articles written by others, circa 1959-1988 Series 11: Subject files, 1950-1990 Series 12: Les Amis Belges de l’Université Hébraïque de Jérusalem, 1948-1991 Series 13: Post-war honors, 1946-2000 Series 14: Fela Perelman’s personal narratives, 1947-2001 Series 15: Post-war personal items, 1945-1996 Series 16: Newspaper clippings, circa 1948-1971 Series 17: Condolences, 1984-1992 Series 18: Additional correspondence and subject files, 1926-1990




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.