November 21, 2016

Righteous Among Gentiles

Benno Gerson, USNA Class of 1961 and FOJC board member, traveled to Israel with his late sister’s family (Anni Goldberg z”l) to Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center. After much research from Anni’s husband, Stanley Goldberg, and documentation from her son, Serge Goldberg, the Commission of Designation of the Righteous, awarded the title “Righteous Among the Nations” to Marie Vandenberg Andries and her husband, Joseph Andries. At the risk of their own lives, Marie and Joseph took in Benno, age 5, and Anni, age 8, in January of 1942 from the loving arms of their parents, Luser and Pepi Gershonowitz who feared for the children’s safety. Pepi visited her children a few times before she and Luser were arrested by the Gestapo on 24 September 1942. They were sent to Auschwitz on 26 September. Pepi was immediately sent to the gas chamber and Luser died on 1 December 1942. After moving to a small town outside of Brussels, Anni and Benno were hidden in a cellar with limited time outside until Brussels was liberated in September of 1944. Marie fulfilled Luser and Pepi’s request to reunite Anni and Benno with relatives in the USA. Benno stated, “I’ve had a wonderful life because of Marie and Joseph Andries. They gave me the gift of life.”