Helene de Franssu

born 13.05.1965 in Brussels

Daughter of Anne (Lily) de Gerlach 20.10.1923 near Ghent – 02.03.2020, Ravensbrück: September 1944 – April 1945

Helene De Franssu, Foto: J. Bochat
Helene De Franssu, Foto: J. Bochat

Helene de Franssu is a daughter of Anne (Lily) de Gerlach (20.10.1923 - 02.03.2020); Ravensbrück: September 1944 – April 1945

Anne van Oost (nickname Lily) was born on 20. October 1923 near Ghent, Belgium. Like her father, the textile industrialist Georges van Oost, her mother, Marie-Douville de Franssu and her brother Henri, she was an active member of the resistance from 1940 onwards, supporting the Belgian underground army as a courier of dispatches and weapons. In July 1944 she was arrested by the Gestapo and in September deported to Ravensbrück were she was imprisoned as a political prisoner. There she fell ill with typhoid. Before the war ended, she was evacuated by the Red Cross. After recovery in Sweden and Switzerland she returned to Belgium. In 1946, Anne van Oost married the polar researcher, Gaston de Gerlache de Gomery, with whom she had five children. In 1968, she founded the World Rose Society and for 40 years was president of the Royal National Rose society, Belgium. She was a member of the Legion d’Honneur. She wrote about her experiences in her autobiography, “Le Faux Silence”. (source: Meggi Pieschel, Insa Eschebach, Amélie zu Eulenburg “The roses of Ravensbrück”, S. 114; 2015 Metropol-Verlag; ISBN: 978-3-86331-256-5)