These small, brass memorial plaques (Stolpersteine or stumbling stones) commemorate:
* Juliëtte Nisenbaum, born 1932, arrested 19 January 1943, detained in Malines, deported 1943, Auschwitz, murdered.
* Laja Lea Wejntraub, born 1901, arrested 19 January 1943, detained in Malines, deported 1943, Auschwitz, murdered.
The spellings of the names vary in different sources: Juliëtte, Juliette; Nisenbaum, Nüsenbaum, Nuesenbaum, Nusenbaum; Wejntraub, Weintraub. Birthdates and locations are consistent.
Juliette Nisenbaum was born in Brussels and was a 10-year-old pupil when she was arrested. She was held in Malines/Mechelen for 3 months until she was deported on 19 April 1943 on Transport XX to Auschwitz.
Laja Lea Wejntraub was a seamstress who was born in Poland. Her father’s post-war testimony states that Wejntraub was her maiden name; she married a Nisenbaum (first name Reuven; another source suggested his name started with H). She also was on Transport XX from Malines/Mechelen.
No information was found on the relationship between Juliëtte Nisenbaum and Laja Lea Nisenbaum née Wejntraub. However, the dates of their arrests and arrival at Malines/Mechelen were the same. Also, they were together on the typed transport list of deportees for Transport XX: "Laja Wejntraub Epse de Nusenbaum H" was number 54, and Juliëtte was number 55.
Transport XX, a frieght train, left Malines/Mechelen on 19 April 1943, headed for Auschwitz, with 1,631 deportees. Members of the Belgian resistance attacked that train from the outside (breaking open locks on several cars) and from the inside (some deportees broke holes in the floor of a freight car with tools they had smuggled aboard). Of the 233 who escaped, 26 were shot dead or died of their injuries. On arrival at Auschwitz, 877 deportees were murdered immediately; the rest (276 men and 245 women) were tattooed with ID numbers and sent to work. Only 153 of the original 1,631 deportees on Transport XX survived the war.
"Stolpersteine" is an art project for Europe by Gunter Demnig to commemorate victims of National Socialism (Nazism). Stolpersteine (stumbling stones) are small, 10x10cm brass plaques placed in the pavement in front of the last voluntary residence of (mostly Jewish) victims who were murdered by the Nazis. Each plaque is engraved with the victim’s name, date of birth, and place (mostly a concentration camp) and date of death. By doing this, Gunter Demnig gives an individual memorial to each victim. One stone, one name, one person. He cites the Talmud: "A human being is forgotten only when his or her name is forgotten."
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