Ger (actual name Gerard) Schmook was born in the Antwerp boarding house ‘De drij kauwen’ on 17 August 1898. When he was four years old, his father died of tuberculosis. He grew up with his grandparents in Mortsel.
He and Adeline, the girl next door who later became his wife, completed teachers’ training together in 1917. In late 1918, however, Ger was deleted from the list of those to be assigned as teachers, because he had signed a petition to use Flemish at the University of Ghent. His father in law-to-be Louis Terneus, a diamond cutter and active member of the Antwerp Diamantbewerkersbond [General Diamond Workers’ Association of Belgium, ADB], arranged a job for him with the ADB administration, where Ger earned twice what his wife was paid as a schoolteacher.