Belgian Holocaust survivor Henri Kichka dies of coronavirus

His son Michel wrote, 'a small microscopic coronavirus succeeded where the entire Nazi army had failed'

Yahrzeit candle (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Yahrzeit candle
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Henri Kichka, one of Belgium's last remaining Holocaust survivors, passed away over the weekend from coronavirus.
Henri, born on April 14, 1926, in Brussels fled with his family after the German invasion of Belgium in May 1940 to southern France, but were eventually deported back to Brussels.
In August 1942, his 15-year-old sister Bertha was deported to the Mechelen transit camp and then to Auschwitz, where she was murdered. The rest of his family was arrested a month later and sent to the Mechelen and Cosel camps. His sister, mother and aunt were sent to Auschwitz and murdered. Henri and his father were sent to the Sakrau camp and then the Tarnowitz camp where Henri was hospitalized. In March 1943, Henri was sent to the Annaberg and Shoppinitz camps and, two months later, was reunited with his father at the Blechhammer camp.
In January 1945, Henri and his father were sent on a death march to Gross-Rosen and then Buchenwald, where his father died.
After the war, Henri returned to Brussels, where he met his wife Lucia and started a family.
A drawing of the seven dwarfs from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by Henri made during the Holocaust was displayed at Yad Vashem's "New on Display" exhibition in April 2019. The drawing was made on March 8, 1941, as Henri was traumatized by the harsh decrees and restrictions imposed on Belgian Jewry. He found comfort in the magic of fairy tales, explained Yad Vashem.
Henri is survived by two children, Michel and Irène, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Michel, a world-renowned author and cartoonist, eulogized his father online on Saturday, writing, "a small microscopic coronavirus succeeded where the entire Nazi army had failed. My father had survived the Death March. But today he ended his March of Life."
Henri had just celebrated his 94th birthday at an elderly home in Brussels. Michel added that he was able to speak to Henri one last time on the phone on the morning that he died.
Irène, his sister, who was by Henri's side, told Michel that their father was wearing a shirt that Michel had drawn for him for his 90th birthday: "my father at the foot of the Kichka family tree."