1930-1944 | Naissance: | Arrestation: | Résidence:


Estelle Fanny Kalinsky was born on April 19, 1930 at 90 rue de Notre Dame in Nancy, in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department of France. She was born into a Jewish family with Polish and German roots. She had three sisters, Sylvia (born on 29/09/1939), Rosa (born 03/07/1936) and Renée (born 07/06/1927). Estelle and Rosa were both schoolgirls, while Renée was a seamstress. As for her parents, her father Maurice Kalinsky (born 04/10/1905 in Cologne, Germany) was a hairdresser, and her mother Machla Baila (born in Lask on August 17, 1908) was a housewife.

Both parents were arrested in October 1942 and deported to Auschwitz on Convoy 42, when the Final Solution was put into effect. The children were then sent to the Lamarck children’s home, which was run by the UGIF (Union Générale des Israélites de France, or General Union of French Jews) on October 12, 1943. It was there that they met Denise Holstein, the children’s group supervisor at the UGIF home enter in Louveciennes, who they regarded as their nanny. The Prefectures and the Gestapo made it compulsory for all Jews to join the U.G.I.F. At the same time, all pre-existing Jewish organizations were closed down. The U.G.I.F. ran its own children’s homes, the first of which were founded at the time of the Vel d’Hiv round-up on July 16 and 17, 1942. Children who were “liberated” from the camps at Drancy, Pithiviers, Beaune-la Rolande and Poitiers had to be placed in U.G.I.F. homes. Estelle was one of these so-called “blocked” children, entrusted to the U.G.I.F. Blocked children’s names were listed in a special police register, and these particular “liberations” were, in reality, a sham. Such children could only be sent to UGIF homes, it was the German authorities who decided where to place them, and they and the Vichy regime kept strict control over them. They were thus assigned to the various UGIF homes: Louveciennes, the Rothschild orphanage, the Zysman boarding house in La Varenne, Saint-Mandé, Neuilly, rue Vauquelin and the vocational school on rue des Rosiers in Paris, and in Montreuil.

Estelle was the victim of a roundup that took place on July 22, 1944. Aloïs Brunner, the commandant of Drancy camp, issued the order for a series of roundups of all the UGIF homes for Jewish children, in retaliation for the failed attempt on Hitler’s life on July 20, 1944, and for various Resistance operations in France. On the night of July 21-22, 1944, the Gestapo carried out a sweep of the U.G.I.F. children’s homes, which housed the children of French Jews, most of whom had already been deported and murdered, and some foreign Jewish children. During this crackdown, eight children’s homes were raided, and both residents and staff were taken prisoner and subsequently deported. More than three hundred innocent children were arrested that night.

Estelle and two of her sisters, Renée and Rosa, were deported on Convoy 77 on July 31, 1944. This was the last large convoy to leave Drancy, carrying a large number of children from a number of different countries and arranged at short notice. It was bound for the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, where it arrived on the night of August 3, 1944. Along with her sisters, Estelle, who was fourteen years old, was murdered in the gas chambers as soon as she arrived at the camp. Her official date of death was later declared to be August 5, 1944, this being the date used by the French authorities for all of the 847 people who were deported on Convoy 77 but not selected to work in the camp.

Of the Kalinsky family, only Estelle’s little sister, Sylvia, escaped with her life. She survived because she was adopted by a couple called Pivault from a nursery in Neuilly, who called her Christiane in order to avoid raising any suspicions. As a result, she also avoided being arrested during the round-ups that took place in Paris in July.


Further reading:


This biography was researched and written by the 12th grade students at the Victor Hugo high school in Poitiers, in the Vienne department of France, with the guidance of their teacher, Cédric Germain.

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