Accession Number: NEKHC:2016.11

Object: Wooden Box

Category: Nicole David; Poland; Belgium; Hiding; Auschwitz 

Physical Description:  Hard wood box; varnished; engraved. Complete. 

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This wooden box was given as a gift to Nicole David's parents, Chawa and Munisch, on their engagement in 1931. The family were Jewish and lived in Belgium, after the invasion by Nazi Germany in May 1940, the persecution of Jewish people placed them in increasing danger. Nicole’s mother was arrested, and later deported to Auschwitz. Nicole and her father were helped to escape by members of the Belgian Resistance and put into hiding separately, which saved their lives.

Further Information: This wooden box was given as a gift to Nicole David's parents, Chawa and Munisch, on their engagement in 1931. It is engraved with ‘1931’ and the word 'Zakopane', the name of a ski resort in Poland. Nicole's parents had been married in Poland, and had their honeymoon in Ostend, Belgium. Nicole was born in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1936. The family were Jewish and lived in Belgium, after the invasion by Nazi Germany in May 1940, the persecution of Jewish people placed them in increasing danger. By 1942 the danger was such that Nicole’s parents decided to go into hiding, Nicole was hidden in a Catholic orphanage, while her parents were hidden in the attic of a Belgian family. During her stay in the orphanage Nicole had tonsillitis, which at that time meant the orphanage could not keep her due to the risk of infection for the other children. The family moved back into the home they had been living in prior to hiding with intention to stay for one week so Nicole could have an operation to remove her tonsils before returning to hiding. The day before Nicole’s operation, 7 October 1942, while she and her father went to a shop, Nicole’s mother was arrested and later deported to Auschwitz. Nicole and her father were helped to escape by members of the Belgian Resistance, which saved their lives. They were hidden separately and this time Nicole was hidden with a Catholic famiy, however after 18 months Nicole had to move due to the risk of bombing nearby. She was quickly moved on again as the village had become too dangerous. American forces arrived in September 1944, and Nicole was reunited with her father. They moved to Brussels to escape ongoing fighting, where after arriving homeless Nicole was placed in a convent. Her father visited every day, and the pair lived separately in Brussels until the end of the Second World War.