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How an Antwerp tailor survived the camp

Ide Leib Kartuz, a Tailor in Auschwitz

Dirk Verhofstadt & David Van Turnhout

David Van Turnhout, along with Dirk Verhofstadt, follows the trail of his Jewish grandfather, Ide Leib Kartuz, who fled Poland in 1929 to escape rising anti-Semitism and violence. He settled in Antwerp as a tailor. Every one of the relatives he left behind perished in the concentration camp at Treblinka. Kartuz joined the resistance, but in 1942 he was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. On arrival there, his wife and two children were immediately gassed.

A story as horrifying as it is unique
Gazet van Antwerpen

Kartuz survived in Auschwitz because as a tailor he was useful. He spent 29 months in the camp. After the war he returned to Antwerp and resumed making suits for bankers, diamond dealers and other members of the rich élite. He remarried and fathered two children. His final battle was waged against the Belgian state, a fight for recognition as a Belgian, as a resistance fighter and as a war victim.

As well as reconstructing the remarkable life story of Ide Leib Kartuz, this book describes the research efforts of the two authors. In the archives of Auschwitz they discovered unpublished testimony by the tailors of Block 1. Their discovery of a cousin of Ide’s in Florida came as a complete surprise. She survived as a child by going into hiding in an attic in Brussels. This book finally puts a face to a previously unknown story.

I particularly appreciated the fact that the authors did not limit themselves to the story featured, but constantly offered a broad context based on thorough and wide-ranging research.
Historian Bruno De Wever
These stories need to be told again and again. So that we may never forget.
Het Nieuwsblad