Attestation by by Jeanne Demeulenaere

Attestation [copy]

Archival Item

Resource TypeDocuments
Date of Creation1962
GenreCorrespondence & Philatelic Materials
Identifier96.020.002
Administrative/Biographical HistoryInge (Kollmann) Manes was born in Vienna, Austria, on August 19, 1933. Her sister, Lydia, was born July 17, 1930. Their parents were Stefka Taube Kollmann (nee Lande, born in Natasov, Poland) and Hubert Kollmann (born 1903, in Vienna, of Czech parents). The Kollmanns owned a general store in Heidenreichstein, a small border town between Czechoslovakia and Vienna.
 
The family fled to Belgium in 1939, in response to mounting attacks against Jews, and lived at 39 rue l'Ascension in Brussels. Stefka worked as a housekeeper, and Hubert cared for their two daughters. They became good friends with their neighbour, Lydia Wegielski.
 
In 1942, Inge and her sister went into hiding with help from Lydia Wegielski and her cousin, Alice Schiffer, who was married to a policeman, René Van Weymeersch, and was a member of the resistance. Alice Schiffer agreed to take Inge and her sister to her small village of Anzegen and protect them until the occupation ended.
 
Shortly after the children’s departure, Hubert was captured and deported to France. He was imprisoned in Drancy, then transferred to Auschwitz, where he died in 1943.
 
In the summer of 1942, the Gestapo came to arrest the Kollmann family and seal off their apartment. Stefka escaped by hiding downstairs with her neighbour. Schiffer worked with Fernande Henrard, a member of the resistance and teacher at Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, in Brussels; both helped Stefka find a live-in job as a receptionist with a doctor and his wife. At this job, Stefka met Jeanne Demeulenaere, who helped her find continued safe live-in employment until the end of the war. Jeanne Demeulenaere was later recognized with a commemorative medal for her service in the resistance.
 
Schiffer adopted Inge and her sister in 1942 and had them baptized, which enabled them entry into the Catholic convent Li’Institut St. Vincent de Paul. There the girls took new names, Maria and Angela Van Weymeersch, and learned the Catechism. Throughout the war, Schiffer visited and cared for the girls, visiting them and relaying news. In 1943, Fernande Henrard took the girls into her care. In the Orphelinat des Filles de la Charité in Brussels, Inge was recognized as Jewish by a former classmate, and Henrard arranged for them to be moved to l'Institut du Sacre-Coeur in Namur, where they took the name Colman. Henrard was imprisoned for her work helping to hide Jewish families during the war.
 
After the war, Inge and her sister were reunited with Stefka; they moved to Israel in 1949.
 
In 1979, Alice Schiffer De Ruyck was recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations for hiding Inge and her sister. She and Inge remained in touch in the years following the war. Alice Schiffer died in September, 1996.
 
Extent & Medium1 document
Scope & ContentItem is a copy of a certified attestation detailing the life of Stefka Kollmann (nee Lande) during the Second World War in Belgium.
LanguageEnglish
Statement of ResponsibilityJeanne Demeulenaere