Survivor Tova Silverstein looks at a photo of herself, her sister Matylda and other children at the postwar children's home in Marquain, Belgium. Her father, Hersch Lowenbraun, stands in the background - he was one of the children's teachers at the home
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12 October 2015
A ceremony posthumously honoring Angele Larose from Villers-Poterie, Belgium, as Righteous Among the Nations took place this morning at Yad Vashem. The ceremony was attended by Holocaust survivor Theresa-Tova Silverstein, who was rescued by Larose, Tova's extended family and Belgian Ambassador to Israel H.E. Mr. John Cornet D'elzius. After a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, Director of the Department of the Righteous Among the Nations Irena Steinfeldt presented the medal and certificate of honor to André Larose, grandson of Angele Larose, in the Yad Vashem Synagogue before the inscription of Angele Larose was unveiled in the Garden of the Righteous. Mr. Larose came from Belgium especially to attend the ceremony.
Before the war, Hersch and Esther Lowenbraun, emigrants from Poland, settled in Charlerio, Belgium together with their two daughters; Sala (b. 1925) and Matylda (b. 1929). Theresa-Tova was born in Belgium in 1938. In 1942, Sala was arrested and deported on the first transport from Belgium to Poland. In an attempt to save Matylda and Theresa-Tova, Esther brought them to the Saint Joseph Hospital and Convent. There, she asked the Mother Superior, Sister Julienne Aneuse (also recognized this year as Righteous Among the Nations), to hide the girls. Before leaving, Esther instructed Matylda to recite the "Shema" prayer daily with her younger sister, in order not to forget their Jewish heritage.
In 1943, Esther decided to move the girls to a safer location. Tova was taken to the farm of Angele Larose in the village of Villers-Poterie. The Larose family treated Tova well, and the little girl benefited from the quiet life of the village, enjoying the animals. Occasionally, Esther would visit but, as Tova told Yad Vashem, "I didn't remember her as my mother, just a woman who visited and brought me a doll." Tova would accompany the Larose family to church every week, and at a certain stage asked the priest to convert her to Christianity. The priest told her she would be able to do so only when she was older. At the end of the war, Esther came to collect her daughter, and they, together with Hersch and Matylda, immigrated to the United States.
"I look at my family and I see a miracle," said Tova Silverstein at the ceremony. "Angele saved my life by her actions... my parents understood what they owed her. I did not, because I was too young. Now, however I fully understand, and I appreciate her courage, strength and humanity." "Who would've thought I would be talking about my grandmother, here in Jerusalem?" mused André Larose after receiving the certificate and medal. "Her name will forever be remembered at Yad Vashem. I am very moved to be here. It's wonderful to see Tova and all of her family."