- BIRNBAUM, Anne-Marie P T
- BIRNBAUM, Chaja Tauba/Theophila née CYPRES P A
Age 76 | Visa #1858
- BIRNBAUM, Daniel P T
- BIRNBAUM, Gisele Augustine née BLANKSTEIN P A
Age 30 | Visa #1857
- BIRNBAUM, Josephine née BANDES P A
Age 42 | Visa #987
- BIRNBAUM, Judith P
- BIRNBAUM, Leopold P A
Age 44 | Visa #988
- BIRNBAUM, Sylvain P A
Age 46 | Visa #1859
- DORMAELS, Gabrièle
About the Family
The BIRNBAUM family received visas from Aristides de Sousa Mendes in Bordeaux on May 25 and June 17, 1940.
Leopold and Josephine BIRNBAUM crossed into Portugal with their children Daniel and Judith, and subsequently sailed on the ship George Washington from Lisbon to New York in June 1940.
Sylvain and Gisèle Augustine BIRNBAUM crossed into Portugal with their daughter Anne-Marie, and Leopold and Sylvain's mother, Chaja Tauba. They subsequently sailed on the ship Manhattan from Lisbon to New York in July 1940.
Gabrièle DORMAELS worked for the family as a cook, and sailed on the Lourenço Marques from Lisbon to New York in January 1941.
Page of Sousa Mendes Visa Registry Book listing this family and others - Courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs archives, Lisbon
Testimonial of Daniel Birnbaum
written in 1942 (age 10)
One morning I woke up with great surprise to hear bombs bursting all around me. My father and the rest of the family thought the Belgian air force was practicing. After a while, my father heard someone say "Les Boches sont la." My father then decided to go to La Panne which is near Dunkirk. After waiting at the Belgian-French border for three days sleeping in the car at night, we left Belgium and traveled through France by car, not sleeping in the same bed twice. When we got near enough to the French-Spanish border, we took a taxi and left the car parked on a street. After getting across the French-Spanish border, we were in Spain. We then took a train across Spain to Portugal. We stayed in Portugal for about two weeks waiting for a boat to America. At last a boat came by the name of S. S. Washington. After being on the boat for a day, one morning a German U-boat tried to sink us thinking we were an English boat, but luckily we were able to signal the U-boat with our search light that we were an American boat. We did not have any more trouble excepting that there was a danger of hitting a mine.
Testimonial of Anne-Marie Levine née Birnbaum
Excerpt from her book, Reculer Pour Mieux Sauter
FLIGHT May 9 [sic: should be 10], 1940.
At 5 AM my father heard noises. He went outside. He met a neighbor. They looked up at the sky. Bombs, said my father. We'd better get out of here, they agreed. They each had a wife and an infant daughter. My father went back inside and woke my mother. Get your things, he said, we're getting out of here. Since my mother had not wanted an engagement ring (this wife of a diamond merchant considered jewelry too ostentatious) Sylvain had given her a Buick. Thus, they rode away, carrying my father's mother, Theophila; the Flemish cook Gaby from Louvain; my mother Gisèle, and me, Anne-Marie. I was precisely one and a half years old.