STELLMAN Herbert - Pvt - Mat 2262
2nd Company - 4th Assault Pl
By his son Dr Henri Stellman
Pvt Herbert Stellman
2nd Coy - 4Th Pl
Herbert Stellman was born in Antwerp in 1922. He was the son of Henri( Heinrich) Stellman and Lena Rubin.
He had a happy childhood with his loving parents and younger brother Isidore.
All this came to a brutal end in May 1939 when the war broke out and the Germans invaded Belgium. He was forced to separate from his parents and brother at the age of 17, when he was called to join the Belgian army in Le Havre in France. He eventually reached England where he joined the Brigade Piron. He was trained there and had to guard the English coasts in fear of a German invasion.
On left, Herbert Stellman, GB 1943
In 1944, Herbert Stellman, soldier number 2262, of the fourth Assault Peloton of the second Motorized Company, participated in the Normandy landing and the subsequent campaign to liberate France, Belgium and the Netherlands from the Nazi oppressors.
When the Allied Forces stopped in the liberated Brussels area to regroup, he asked for permission to continue on his own to Antwerp. He was eager to find out the fate of his family whom he suspected – correctly as it turned out- to have been murdered by the Nazis because of their being Jewish (together with an estimated 25.000 fellow Belgian Jews).
He was warned that Antwerp was a dangerous place, a no-man's land with snipers roaming free. On his way, he reached the city of Mechelen. He was looking for overnight accommodation and presented himself to the local police station. They offered him to sleep in a police cell! The next morning he reached Antwerp as the first allied soldier and was able to witness surviving Jews coming out of hiding in the war-ravaged city.
His bravery was recognized by the French, Dutch, British and Belgian governments and he was awarded an array of medals.
He was very proud of his role in the war but also deeply affected by the murder of his family and the murder of six million Jews perpetrated by the Nazis. He is a true hero who contributed to halting the evil of Nazism. But for his courage- and that of his comrades in arms- this world would have been a very different place.
After the war he started an unusual and very successful business selling cowboy attire, a Western Store. The store waswell known by all and unique. He married Anna Weinstock. He was a dedicated family man for his wife and two children. Together they had a nice life, trying to forget the horrors of the war, and giving the best possible education to their children.
However the period of his life in the army and at combat left a huge impacton him
He often reminisced about his army days to his wife ,children and grandchildren, his landing in Arromanches, the fighting, the dangers, the sleeping at night in trenches in French farmer's fields, the fighting in Deauville-Trouville and the bridge that was bombed and where he lost a very dear fellow soldier.
On the day after his passing, when his remains were taken from the hospital in Antwerp, on his last trip to burial in Israel, a delegation from the Brigade Piron, veterans, comrades in arms with whom he had developed a close bond during and after the war-Jews and non-Jews-paid their last farewell to him. They saluted him by lining the route and carrying the Belgian flag in his honour.
Written by his son Henri