The despair of a mother left alone
Clara Léonie Cal, born in Tarcienne (Belgium) on 14 January 1925, approached the Immigration Police in December 1942 to request the release of her husband, Zolo Karoli, imprisoned in the prison in Rekem (Limburg) since 19 October 1942. About to give birth, Cal had to look after her son Xavier, born on 13 July 1941, all by herself and keep the business going – the Cal families were involved in horse trading. On 16 December 1942, the director of the Immigration Police, Robert Standaert, had her letter filed away with the official remark that Clara Cal’s parents could help her.
On 18 March 1943 she gave birth to her son Louis Joseph. Six weeks later, her husband was released. The whole family was arrested in Tournai (Belgium) in November 1943 and sent to the transit camp in Mechelen, from where they were deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp. Her husband and both her sons died there. Clara Cal was one of the 32 survivors of a group of 351 persons deported to Birkenau after raids throughout Belgium and northern France in the autumn of 1943. Upon her return, she was entirely alone. Her confiscated possessions were not returned to her, nor did she receive any compensation for her imprisonment and the loss of her family. She died in a sanatorium in Bonheiden on 29 January 1959, aged just 34.