Drawings by Sammy Rubinstein and Klaus Grünewald made during the period of 1942 until 1945

It was a wonderful surprise for me to receive this drawing, made by my chess mate Sammy Rubinstein, (in Bassines Pierre de Muyter). I had been trying to locate Sammy for some time without succes, until I read an article in the chess column of my newspaper about his father, a famous chess player. Sammy often spoke about him and one day he showed me a game in which his father offered as a sacrifice 2 castles and the queen in order to checkmate his opponent after a number of moves. This game is a famous one and is known as the "immortal of Rubinstein".

I phoned the journalist and asked him if he knew Sammy which he did. Having obtained his address, I wrote him a letter. With his reply he enclosed the drawing which he made during a drawing lesson in the open air at Bassines in 1943. Because I am not good at drawing I offered to be his model. I was glad that Sammy was not only a good chess-player but also a good artist.

Many years later when I was in Brussels I invited him for dinner in a restaurant. After dinner we went to his place to have a look at his paintings. He only painted portraits of pretty women from photographs. I was offered to choose a painting and I choose a sunset at the Cote d’Azur, the only one without a woman.

Following drawing are all made by Klaus Grünewald – He was our drawing teacher:

This drawing of Klaus is also published in the book "The tears under the mask" by Viviane Teitelbaum-Hirsch. It shows Madame van Liefferinge taking care of the little children in the dormitory. She is Georges’ mother and English by birth. She spoke French with a terribly English accent. Georges sent me the photographs of the drawings in 2006. He has got a good memory and he still remembers a lot about Bassines. There is a little book with all the sketches by Klaus at Bassines and that is in the Jewish Museum in Brussels. Klaus also made paintings but in a neurotic mood he has destroyed his own paintings.

I fear that the booklet with sketches is the only thing that still exists of Klaus.

A sketch of the castle in the midst of fields and woods.

Our drawing professor in Bassines was called Maurice Torfs, in reality Klaus Gruenewald. Originally he was German but he studied arts in the Netherlands. His knowledge of the Dutch language was perfect. In Bassines there were also two of his sisters, Margot and Laure (Madame Marys). Margot was a good friend of mine, both in Bassines and after 1994. She lived in Ann Arbor in the USA. She died in 2006.

Klaus made some sketches during the years he was in Bassines. This drawing shows a nice talk in the drawing room with Monsieur Cougnet sitting in the chair. Around him there are some teachers and two of his three sons.

Listening to the French broadcast of radio London in the room of Mrs. Van Liefferinge. In the middle on the couch mr. Brancard is sitting, teacher of classical languages.

An animated conversation in the big drawing room. You see chairs in antique style, paintings and high windows. The people are clearly recognizable, on the couch from l. to r. Monsieur Cougnet, Madame van Liefferinge, Monsieur Sasse. On the chairs from l. to r. Mr. Brancard, Mr. Freney (real name Frenkel) from Rotterdam, and Mr. Pappy, teacher of math. Madame Freney, not in this sketch, was named Von Hamburg and was a widow. Mr. Freney was her husband or her partner. She had a son, Lucien, and two daughters, all were in Bassines. The whole Freney family was deported to Auschwitz; Only the two daughters came back. Both daughter married after their return, Claudine with Pouss Cougnet and Betty with Mr. Brancard. I have had contact with Pouss and Claudine in 1992, but Mr. Brancard and his wife couldn’t talk about the war anymore. I regretted that but could understand. They have a highly talented musical daughter, she won the Reine Elisabeth Concours.

Mr. Pouss Cougnet died in 1997. I have tried several times to get into contact with Mr. Pappy, but in vain. As a professor of mathematics at the University of Brussels, he was extremely busy. I had a very lively and interesting correspondence with Marcelle Burette. Her last letter was very sad, she was very ill. I have written her but had no reply; I fear that she has died.

The little dog in Bassines was a friend of all pupils, his name was Rico. He was cripple but he slept most of the time.