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Recent Belgian initiatives Education | Remembrance | Research Material and moral reparations



CREDITS.|,.in.cooperation.with. the.FPS.for.Foreign.Affairs,.the.Institut.des.Vtrans.-.INIG,.the.Flemish.Community,.the.Wallonia-Brussels.Federation.and. the.German-speaking.Community.of.Belgium.

Editorial supervisor.|.Franoise.Audag-Dechamps,.acting.President.of.the.Management.Committee. Illustrations.| Pages.24.:..Kazerne.Dossin.-.Pages.23-26-34-37.:..Jewish.Museum.of.Belgium..Brussels. Graphic design.|.Kaat.Flamey,.KA.AD.-.Printing.|.Lowyck Legal deposit.|.D/2012/9737/4

I. Introduction.................................................................................... 5 II. Overview of the initiatives....................................................... 6
A. Initiatives in the areas of education, remembrance and research 1. In general 2. Teaching, Remembrance education i. In Flanders ii. The French Community iii. The German-speaking Community 3. Remembrance 4. Research B. Initiatives in the area of material reparations 1. The Study Commission into the fate of the Belgian Jewish . Communitys assets which were plundered or surrendered or . abandoned during the 1940-1945 war 2. The Indemnification Commission for the Belgian Jewish . Communitys assets that were plundered, surrendered or . abandoned during the 1940-1945 war 3. Cultural goods, works of art and judaica: a continuous study i. Cultural goods and works of art in general ii. Judaica 4. The Belgian Judaism Foundation C. Initiatives in the area of moral compensation Welfare programmes 1. Welfare Programmes - Federal Public Service Social Security . Directorate-General War Victims 2. The Belgian Judaism Foundation 6 6 10 11 14 18 21 26 28 28 30 31 31 32 34 35 35 36

III. Practical information. .......................................................... 38





INTrOduCTION .nancial. compensation, .nished. Lastly, political.and.parliamentarian.leaders.showed.interest.and.concern.for.the.subject.. In.the.past,.public.apologies.were.made.on. various.occasions.on.behalf.of.the.Government,.Belgium.and.the.local.authorities.for. the.interested.and.concerned.reader,.at.the.,.

The.Holocaust.was.for.all.humankind,.and.,.an.extreme.historic. experience,.which.stretches.the.human. to.keep.the.memory.of.that.painful.period.,. at.federal,.federated.and.local.level..Beyond. that.commitment, rooted.throughout.society, overview.of.the.most.important.actions. Belgian.authorities.and.institutions.concerning.the.Holocaust..These.initiatives.are.,.namely.the.,.remembrance.and.research, .eld. .nancial.compensation.and,. lastly,

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II. Overview of the initiatives

A. Initiatives in the areas of education, remembrance and research War (IV-INIG). IV-INIG has developed activities which preserve and remember the Holocaust, other Nazi crimes and acts of Resistance. For example, the Institute organised a meeting with 2,000 young people and Veterans from all over Europe at the Buchenwald Concentration Camp in April 2008. 450 participating young people from Belgium went to this meeting by a special train travelling from Brussels to Weimar. The following projects are further worth mentioning: The exhibition Deportation and Genocide, a European Tragedy Since 2010, the Institute has been making the travelling exhibition Deportation and Genocide, a European Tragedy available to schools free of charge. This exhibition presents and analyses the different functions assigned to the concentration system in the Nazis ideological project. The exhibition follows that system chronologically from the first improvised camps, passing through the rapid establishment of the Dachau model followed by an internationalisation of the system and its spectacular growth after the outbreak of the Second World War, to end in the murderous chaos of the death marches. Map of Nazi Concentration Camps and Other Detention Centres On 1 April 2011, the Institute presented the second edition of this map to the Humboldt

1. In general Belgium is an active member of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research.2 This network represents a prime international platform for the exchange of educational projects, experiences and material on the Holocaust. Belgiums participation is based on a joint effort between the Federal government and the Communities that together decided to submit this countrys candidacy for the presidency of the Task Force. At the request of the Belgian authorities, Belgium will hold the presidency in 2012. The presidency (inter alia) will coincide with the opening of the new Museum in Mechelen (see below). That presidency will make it possible for Belgium to share the Belgian experience in the areas of education, remembrance and research, but also, more importantly, to emphasise its significance for the future. A deeply rooted commitment to the duty of Holocaust remembrance will be further enhanced by that presidency. Belgium is firmly committed to the principles of the Stockholm Declaration. At the federal level, two main government bodies are working in cooperation with NGOs on projects implemented within this scope: Let us firstly mention the National Institute for Invalids of War, Veterans and Victims of


AFTER THE HOLOCAUST | Overview of the initiatives 7 this.subject..It.mentions.over.2,200.places. Those.places.include.21.concentration.camps,. 6.extermination.camps,.838.Kommandos,.509. prisons,.498.camps.(non.KZ),.95.stalags,.46. ofl . ags, transit.or.labour.camps.for.racial.deportation,. 6.euthanasia.centres.and.24.camps.for. Gypsies..All.the.places.have.been.meticulously. listed,.categorised.and.indexed..This.project. is.the.outcome.of.two.years.research.and. the.result.of.fruitful.cooperation.between.the. Belgian.National.Institute.for.Veterans.INIG. and.the.National.Geographical.Institute3... Train of 1000 .,.the.Institute,.the. Auschwitz.Foundation.and.the.International. Federation.of.Resistance.Fighters.will. organise.the.gathering.and.the.journey. of.1, Auschwitz,.in.a.train.specially.chartered.for. the.occasion:.the.Train.of.1,000. . Leaving.from.Brussels,.this.train.will.also. will.therefore.carry.about.a.thousand.young. Belgians.and.other.Europeans.who,.in.the. presence.of.the.Camps.last.survivors,.will. commemorate.the.victory.of.democratic.forces. over.Nazi.Germany.

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In addition to the commemoration, the journey has several objectives: > Educational: to make it possible for those 1,000 young people to visit the Auschwitz Museum and the Birkenau extermination camp and to have firsthand awareness of the Nazi concentration camp and genocide system, > Memory: to visit the camp in the company of survivors and witnesses, > Social awareness: to raise self-awareness about the subject of concentration camps and consequently of the absolute negation of Human Rights. The meeting also wishes to receive media coverage as much as possible so as to highlight that massive and symbolic mobilisation of European youth gathering together for Democracy and against political extremism. The second Federal institution is the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism (hereafter referred to as the Centre). The Centre therefore plays a role in the fight against Holocaust denial and, more precisely, within the framework of the Act of 23 March 1995. Since 1995, Belgium has enacted a law aimed at repressing Holocaust negationism (Act of 23 March 1995 tending to repress the denying, minimalising, justifying or approving of the genocide committed by the German National Socialist regime during the Second World War). It punishes negationist statements

in a broad series of situations: expression in public places or in places open to the public, or in written documents, whether printed or not, distributed on a large scale or merely addressed to several persons or exposed to the public eye. The penalty is severe but proportionate: a prison sentence of 8 days to one year, a fine of 26 to 5,000 euro4, but also, and it is a particularity of the Act, it may be ordered that the full judgement or an extract of it be inserted in one or more newspapers and be displayed, at the convicted persons costs. Lastly, so as to ensure maximum effectiveness in the protection of the dignity and the remembrance of all Holocaust victims, the Centre, together with any association having legal personality for at least five years on the date of the events, and which proposes, through its statutes, to defend the moral interests and the honour of the Resistance or of deportees, are expressly permitted to appear in court in all litigation proceedings to which the application of the abovementioned Act of 23 March 1995 could give rise. Negationism punished A recent example concerns a French negationist who was living in Belgium at the time of the acts. He had in particular sent brochures developing the thesis that the gas chambers had never existed to several secondary schools of the French Community. After the Centres institution of civil action, that person was sentenced on 19 June 2008 by the Brussels Magistrates Court,

See Article 2 of the Act of 26 June 2000 relating to the introduction of the euro into legislation concerning the subjects referred to in Article 78 of the Constitution.

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on the basis of the Act of 23 March 1995, to one years imprisonment and to the payment of the sum of 1,500 euros, for reparation of the moral damage suffered, to the Centre. That decision was subsequently upheld on 21 September 2011 by the Brussels Appeal Court.5 Lastly, let us add that the Centre launched a pilot project aiming at mapping, developing and consolidating actions in the educational field of democracy through the study of the historical reality of the Second World War in Belgium (with an emphasis on Holocaust and Resistance).6 2. Teaching Remembrance education Considerable progress has been made in recent years in the area of Holocaust education in school curricula. All three autonomous Communities (which are competent for education policy) promote the teaching of the history of the Holocaust in schools, in classes such as history, literature, ethics or religious instruction. Generally speaking, it is worth mentioning the following projects: In 2005-2006, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, the Schools for Democracy pilot project was implemented. This project was coordinated by the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism. This initiative put together three groups of 200

schoolchildren in the 6th year of primary school and three groups of 170 students in the final year of high school, to make them familiar with notions such as identity, respect, participation and openness to the world, culminating in two main visits: the Nazi camps of Breendonk and Auschwitz. The educational aim was to invite students to make a link between history and the moral choices they might have to make in their personal lives.

This decree and any other relevant case law are available on the website of the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism - Resources Legislation & Case law. See infra 2. Teaching Remembrance education Schools for Democracy.

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Another project was the international A Classroom of Difference program, aimed at helping teachers overcome the difficulties of teaching Holocaust history at school. The initial program was developed by the A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Institute. As far as Europe is concerned, this program was developed farther by the Bernheim and Evens Foundations and the European Jewish Information Centre. They are the local expression of a Comenius program developed for three years in Italy, the Netherlands, France and Belgium. This project concluded with a final seminar for teachers from the three Belgian Communities at Yad Vashem in March 2008. You will find hereafter an overview, by Community, of remembrance education initiatives. i. In Flanders

Subjects such as tolerance, Human Rights, etc. are dealt with in teaching through the final educational attainment goals. Those are the objectives which are compulsory for each school and which the Flemish Parliament lays down by decree. The concrete implementation of the final educational attainment goals comes within the schools autonomy and educational freedom. Remembrance education is adapted more particularly according to the pupils age. Among the teaching objectives of primary education, there are mainly three disciplines

connected with remembrance education. The first is world orientation which reserves attention to socioeconomic, socio-cultural, political and judicial phenomena. The second discipline concerns social skills and the third, languages and, more particularly, the functioning of cultures. Within the scope of these educational attainment goals, children in primary education are taught about the Holocaust, with teaching adapted according to their age and their living environment. In secondary education, remembrance education and related subjects such as tolerance and Human Rights are dealt with, above all, within the scope of the history attainment goals and interdisciplinary attainment goals. History classes obviously deal with the Second World War and the Holocaust. It does not, however, only involve gathering together knowledge about the past but also becoming aware of the influence of the past on current society. In the context of interdisciplinary attainment goals, the intention is to make pupils understand existing participation procedures, basic freedoms and rights and the functioning of a democracy, but also to show them how to live together in a multicultural and democratic society. In this respect, the tragedy of the Holocaust represents one of the most sombre pages of the history of humankind. In practice, the very diverse and elaborate range of remembrance education support tools gives schools the opportunity to select the media

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most appropriate to their concrete context and which best meets their needs. It allows teachers to introduce their students to a variety of opinions and principles. And it offers schools the possibility of working on remembrance education in their own city or region, starting from the immediate living and experiential environment of the students. The extensive field of support in peace education and remembrance education therefore clearly offers practical and didactic advantages. But it also introduces problems such as finding something suitable for young children. Consultation with several experts in addition to information on the relevant needs in the field of education has made it clear that there is an urgent need for making the Belgian field of remembrance education more transparent for Flemish schools. Remembrance education and the Kazerne Dossin (Barracks) The Flemish government therefore decided to attribute a central role to the vzw Kazerne Dossin (Barracks) to ensure the coordination of remembrance education in the Flemish teaching system. The role assigned to the Kazerne Dossin fits within the framework of the expansion of the current Jewish Museum for Deportation and Resistance and its conversion into a new museum complex vzw Kazerne Dossin. Memorial, Museum and Documentation Centre on Holocaust and Human Rights. The
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new Kazerne Dossin non-profit association takes on this task in cooperation with other actors working in the field of remembrance education like, for example, the Fort van Breendonk7, the Auschwitz Foundation and In Flanders Fields Museum8, and with the educational guidance departments from the various educational networks and the Education and Training Department. Together they form the Special Committee for Remembrance Education or BCH (Bijzonder Comit voor Herinneringseducatie). The coordination task of the BCH further involves implementing structural consultation between the various providers of remembrance education material. A significant concrete result of this consultation is the website www., a user-friendly overview of all study days, workshops, activities, teaching packages and initiatives dealing with remembrance education. Teachers can find a great deal of inspiration on this site but can also offer colleagues their own initiatives and suggestions. The website and other initiatives of the Special Committee (BCH) clearly offer a valuable contribution to increasing the quality of the support that is offered in remembrance education: support that meets the diverse needs and requirements of schools and helps schools to work with remembrance education in a qualitative manner. The BCH was also entrusted with the task of promoting the quality of remembrance education. In this respect, it decided not to

Website : Website :

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impose standard quality criteria, but rather to develop a toetssteen (touchstone), an instrument making it possible for anyone who is active in the field of remembrance education (school teams, individual teachers, teacher trainers, educational coaches or staff within organisations) to assess their own projects. That instrument was developed within the BCH, through the contribution by various outside persons. Teacher trainers and grassroots teachers together with academics and researchers were associated with its development. The toetssteen is structured around three major objectives: (1) knowledge and understanding; (2) empathy and involvement (3) reflection and action. This triptych was borrowed from literature and practice. The three key objectives need to be spread out to a certain extent. In actual fact, knowledge and understanding form a foundation in order to be able to provide a first-rate job during the following two phases. Without knowledge and understanding, empathy and involvement together with reflection and action remain an empty shell. If knowledge and empathy are unable to be applied in the context of reflection and action, they remain superficial and moralising. A set of reflection questions were drafted for each of the three objectives. These are orientation questions from which to draw inspiration and which highlight less pertinent factors. The ultimate aim is for the

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toetssteen to be accessed online as a practical and multilayer questionnaire offering a basis for self-reflection or teamwork assessment.9 ii The French Community

Democracy or Barbarity One of the specific tasks of the Democracy or barbarity educational coordination unit, founded in 1994 and currently attached to the General Secretariat of the French Community, is to coordinate citizenship and human rights education matters together with issues related to work in the area of history and remembrance. It is aimed at all the networks and systems of education, primarily at secondary level. In 2008, it published the Citizenship memento in the French Community (Mmento de la citoyennet en Communaut franaise), which provides an inventory of more than 200 institutions and associations proposing information, resources and activities to teachers. In addition to these structural measures, the French Community supports the initiatives by school partner associations and develops with them projects in step with young people and topical issues, whether they concern the defence of Human Rights and democratic values, the combat against racism, work in the area of remembrance and equal opportunities, awareness of cultural diversity or even active involvement in local democracy. The French Community strengthened and structured its action in the area of genocide remembrance and education, including Holocaust remembrance, with the Decree of 13 March 2009 concerning the passing on of

The Government of the French Community is working on intensifying citizenship education in school so as to raise pupils awareness of the issues of active citizenship for a better understanding of society and increased involvement. A mechanism was developed (by Decree dated 12 January 2007)10 which is structured around three complementary subject areas: - the creation and the dissemination of an abstract entitled Contributions to future citizenship development; - the implementation of cycles or levels of interdisciplinary activities concerning citizenship; - the generalisation and the recognition of participatory structures for pupils within the 5th and 6th years of primary education and pupils attending standard and specialised secondary education (class representatives and pupils councils). This mechanism additionally strengthens the practices already developed within schools with the direct support of the French Community or through partner associations.

For further details: Decree of 12 January 2007 relating to the strengthening of education in responsible and active citizenship within institutions organised or subsidised by the French Community, M.B. 20 March 2007.
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remembrance of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and acts of resistance or movements that resisted the regimes that perpetrated such crimes11. The purpose of the Decree mainly aims at the passing on of knowledge of some tragic political and social events of history, primarily among the young generations, with a view to the development of responsible citizenship and the promotion of democratic values. The Decree emphasises the educational dimension of the activities organised by the approved centres and within the framework of the selected projects. Since 2008, the French Community has been sending out a circular inviting institutions from all levels to organise activities within the framework of the International Remembrance Day on 27 January in memory of Holocaust victims. Publications that can be used in this context are made available to teachers. For instance, in 2009, on the occasion of the International Remembrance Day, all the schools in the French Community received tools intended for their pupils to encourage reflection on the matter. The CRECCIDE (Regional and Community Crossroads for Citizenship and Democracy)12 has developed an awarenessraising tool dedicated specifically to the Holocaust entitled For an educational approach to the Holocaust for 10 to 14 year olds. . A part of that tool analyses the work Lienekes notebooks by Jacob Van der Hoeden. It is composed of 9 notebooks, which can be a focus

of classroom reflection in small groups. The educational development proposed concerns pupils from 5th and 6th years of primary school. For pupils in the first years of secondary education, the schools received the work I was a child in the Warsaw ghetto by Larissa Cain. On the initiative of the educational coordination unit, Democracy or barbarity, schools received the DVD Modus Operandi, intended for pupils in the upper forms of secondary school, accompanied by an educational booklet containing the entire content of the film in the form of questions and answers. The film deals with the persecution of Jews in Belgium. The Democracy or barbarity team also provided reference works to help the teachers to initiate the discussion with the young people. In addition, at the schools request, Hugues Lanneau, the director and Willy Perelsztejn, the films creator and producer regularly attended discussions after the showing of the film. In 2009, Democracy or barbarity published Words of stone. Traces of history (Paroles de pierres. Traces dhistoire), a tool for teachers devoted to places of history and remembrance, including the Holocaust, and to the two World Wars in Belgium. In 2010, the Map of Nazi Concentration Camps and Other Detention Centres, published by the IV-INIG, was distributed in all secondary education institutions.

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See below 3. Remembrance, for the description of the content and the objectives of this Decree. Website :

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For 2011, the work by Anne Roekens, Belgium and the persecution of the Jews (La Belgique et la persecution des Juifs) (La Renaissance du Livre/CEGES, 2010) was made available to secondary schools and teachers. The French Community financially supported and provided widespread distribution of the abridged version of the report Docile Belgium (La Belgique docile)drawn up in 2007 by the CEGES at the request of the Senate of Belgium (cf. below). The French Community also supports the initiative Train of 1,000 where a thousand or so young Belgians and Europeans will travel to Auschwitz, in a train specially chartered for the occasion. That journeys threefold goals are education (visit to the Auschwitz Museum and to the Birkenau extermination centre, firsthand awareness of the Nazi concentration camp and genocide system), memory (visit in the company of survivors and witnesses) and social awareness (cf. above). In the area of initial and continuous training provision, several initiatives were taken so as to raise awareness of the Holocaust issue among stakeholders in the world of education: - Many training courses are proposed to teachers of all the networks, within the framework of the IFC (Institut de Formation en cours de Carrire) which provides mid-career training, and/or by acknowledged operators such as Accredited training or Resource Centres within the scope of the Decree of 13 March 2009.

- On 27 January 2011, the Brussels Frenchspeaking Parliament and the French Community (Democracy or barbarity) organised a study day entitled Maxime Steinberg Study day. Places of memory, places of history. From the work of remembrance to the duty of history devoted to the integration of visits to places of remembrance (Holocaust remembrance in particular) into a teaching process. - Teachers from all the teaching networks of the French Community regularly attend training sessions organised at Yad Vashem. To address the issue of the Holocaust in their classes, many teachers organise repeated visits to places located both in Belgium (Mechelen) and abroad (Auschwitz-Birkenau). Likewise, witnesses are frequently approached to come and share their experience with pupils in schools. It is worth emphasising that visits to places of remembrance connected with the Holocaust form a significant part of the projects acknowledged and funded by the French Community within the scope of the Decree of 13 March 200913. The website (www.decretmemoire.cfwb. be) set up within the scope of the Decree is destined to become the reference portal of the initiatives taken in the French Community and an information tool for teachers involved in the work of history and remembrance.

See 3. Remembrance, for the description of the three types calls for projects.

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Through the intermediary of the Democracy or barbarity unit, the French Community makes a range of tools available to teachers (reference works, educational folders, collection of documents, evidence and testimony, etc.). Those tools are either produced by the French Community or purchased to be distributed among teachers. iii. The German-speaking Community

In the German-speaking Community too, the Holocaust is not broached exclusively in history instruction. It is often also dealt with in mother tongue classes, religion and ethics, in the first and second stages of secondary education. This is done through visits by witnesses to schools, lectures by authors, shared book readings or project-oriented work. All secondary schools in the German-speaking Community organise regular visits for the students to the Kazerne Dossin (Barracks)-Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance (JMDR) in Mechelen and the National Fort Breendonk Memorial. Pupils from the German-speaking Community have already attended the international youth meeting at the Flossenbrg Memorial four times. This meeting always takes place in July at the time of the liberation commemorations. Pupils involved from three secondary schools of the German-speaking Community will also take part in the Train of 1,000 project. They have

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already done a great deal of work on the issue of the Holocaust, other Nazi crimes and the meaning of Human Rights (cf. above). Various adult education institutions in the German-speaking Community organise lectures, seminars and excursions on contemporary history and the Holocaust as part of their life long learning programmes. All these institutions can use the material on offer at the German-speaking Communitys GrenzGeschichteDG [Border History] (www. This department at the Autonomous College in Eupen is the centre for regional research in contemporary and social history, for remembrance work and Holocaust education in the Eastern part of the country and in the Meuse-Rhine Euregio. As part of the multidisciplinary political education programme, GrenzGeschichteDG involves witnesses from the region - Survivors of the Holocaust and other Nazi crimes, resistance fighters, persons who helped escapees. As such people are unfortunately becoming fewer and fewer, GrenzGeschichteDG secures the legacy of these witnesses through professionally conducted life-story interviews and also through documentary film productions. These works are designed so that they can be used as is for teaching purposes.

On the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the liberation of European countries and the camps from the yoke of Nazi fascism, GrenzGeschichteDG, during a gathering of survivors at the Sachsenhausen and Flossenbrg Memorials in April 2010, screened for the first time the documentary Charles Dekeyser Ich habe Glck gehabt wie man es kaum beschreiben kann (Charles Dekeyser I was incredibly lucky) which the department actually produced. This film is also used in secondary education in the German-speaking Community. The author and the producer won the Dexia prize for the best German-speaking cinematographic production in Belgium. In 2012, the French and Dutch versions will be available.

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In May 2011, the documentary containing testimony about Helmut Clahsen Von Schutzengeln auf zwei Beinen und Verrtern in der eigenen Familie (Guardian angels and traitors within the family) had its premire showing in Eupen. With his brother, the Jewish child Helmut Clahsen survived the Nazi terror thanks to the help of very many persons. They hid in more than 40 places in Belgium and Germany. Research and interviews with witnesses on the topic Jewish life in north of the Germanspeaking Community from 1920 to today are also well under way and will be subsequently used for a cinematographic project and a publication. In addition to testimonials and contemporary history lectures, GrenzGeschichteDG also organises tours of escape, resistance and persecution locations in the Dutch-GermanBelgian and the Luxembourg-German-Belgian border areas. For these visits, schools can also use audio guides in French and German that can be downloaded from the website. Eminent domestic and foreign writers read from their works on the Holocaust before local students and partly a wider audience as well. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the German-speaking Community, GrenzGeschichteDG organised, on behalf of the Community government and Exil-PEN (writers in exile), an international event from 1 to 4 April 2009 on the topic: Stille Retter Menschen

retten Menschen whrend der NS-Zeit und der Besatzung [Silent Rescuers People rescuing people during the Nazi era and the occupation]. Survivors, scholars and committed citizens reported on their personal fate and rescue situations in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Austria and Hungary. For the 65th anniversary of the attack on the 20th deportation train from Belgium, with the support of the City of Eupen, the government and the Belgian rail board, GrenzGeschichteDG hosted a photo exhibition by the Mechelen Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance on the only train transporting Jews in Europe that was stopped to free the prisoners, entitled 1200 Gesichter Erinnerung an Transport XX [1200 Faces Remember Transport XX] from 8 to 31 May 2008 at the Eupen train station. The high point of the opening ceremony was the speech by Rgine Krochmal, now 91 years of age, who managed to escape from the train on her own. In the run-up to the presentation, she arrived in Eupen already on 27 February 2008, and was able to tell some 200 students her life story and to urge them to take an active part in this project. GrenzGeschichteDG is currently in serious negotiations to acquire one of the few preserved cattle trucks from Transport XX which were used to deport Jews. The aim is to present it as an extracurricular learning and remembrance venue in the German-speaking Community.

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Under the motto Then persecuted now forgotten, a Euregional event was held for the first time on 27 January 2001 at the Father Damian secondary school in Eupen on Holocaust remembrance day. Representatives of different groups of victims Jews, political prisoners, Jehovahs witnesses, homosexuals from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands participated in the inter-generational dialogue with students from these three countries who presented projects on the topic. Euregional further education courses for teachers on such topics as Nazis, occupation and the war and The history of Jews in the borderland have already been organised on several occasions. Contacts with witnesses also took place.

The Crocus Project was geared to students in upper primary schools and the first two years of secondary education. This project was carried out in the German-speaking Community. Developed by the Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland,14 it has since been disseminated worldwide. The trust makes yellow crocus bulbs available which are planted by students in autumn to commemorate the one and a half million Jewish children who died in the Holocaust. This is certainly one way to give upper primary school students a first insight into the Holocaust and to warn them of the dangers of discrimination, prejudices and intolerance.

3. Remembrance In continuity with holocaust remembrance education projects, the following initiatives are also worth pinpointing in the area of remembrance. In December 2004, the Belgian Government designated January 27 as Remembrance Day of the Genocide committed by Nazi Germany. The remembrance ceremony in Auschwitz on 27 January 2005 was attended by H.M. King Albert II and the Prime Minister at the time, Mr. G. Verhofstadt. In 2006 Belgium, in its capacity as Chairman in Office of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), organized an OSCE Holocaust Remembrance Day in Brussels to which representatives of all 56 participating States were invited.

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Website : This number may increase, since requests to be awarded this title may still be submitted. See also: The Encyclopaedia of the Righteous Among the Nations. Rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust. Belgium, Dan Michman (ed.), Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. 2005, 296 pp. The work was produced with the support of the Commission of the European Communities, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany and the Belgian government.

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On 8 May, various ceremonies are also held to commemorate the liberation; in 2011, the Federal government was officially represented at the commemorative ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Brussels and at the National Monument of the Resistance in Lige. Up to now, 1,584 Belgian citizens15 were awarded the title of Righteous among the Nations for having saved the lives of thousands of Jews. Pages of testimony of the Righteous among the Nations, some of which are Belgian16, are featured on the Yad Vashem website. The title of Righteous Among the Nations is an official title awarded by Yad Vashem on behalf of the State of Israel and of the Jewish people by nonJews who, at the risk of their lives saved Jews during the Holocaust. That title is awarded by a special Committee on the basis of established regulations and criteria. On 8 May 2007, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence at that time inaugurated a commemorative plaque in homage to the Righteous of Belgian and to the citizens who, at the risk of their lives, came to the assistance of Jews persecuted during the Nazi occupation. That commemorative plaque is to be found in the Albertine gardens at the Mont des Arts in Brussels. During the ceremony, the Prime Minister once again made apologies17 for the collaboration of the authorities with the Nazis in the context of the persecution and the deportation of the Jews.

Within the scope of remembrance initiatives, reference can be made to the Decree of 13 March 2009 by the French Community18. The purpose of this Decree is to further the emergence of initiatives aimed at encouraging the passing on of that remembrance and perpetuating the existing projects. In concrete terms, the Decree organises support for: - Resource Centres: they must set up platforms the purpose of which is to provide the target groups with transversal or comprehensive information about the historical facts forming the subject of the Decree. They are recognised for five years. - Accredited Centres: They may be on a smaller scale than the Resource Centres. They have to comply with a more limited number of requirements to receive support and are recognised for two years. - Organisations or schools answering calls for projects: every year, three types of calls for projects are launched. The first type of call for projects aims at gathering, enhancing, exploiting or preserving evidence in relationship with the subject of the Decree. A second type of call for projects aims to organise visits to places of remembrance and seminars intended for teachers, in relationship with the subject of the Decree.

Website : - Righteous Featured Stories - Belgium In 2002, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the deportation of Jews from Belgium, the Prime Minister recalled in Mechelen our countrys share of responsibility, by referring to the role played by a number of Belgian officials and civil servants and authorities in that tragedy. In 2005, apologies for that responsibility were explicitly made in front of the entire international community at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. 18 Decree of 13 March 2009 relating to the passing on of the remembrance of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and acts of resistance or movements having resisted the regimes that aroused those crimes.
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A third type of call for projects is aimed at projects in relationship with the subject of the Decree but neither concerns evidence or testimony nor visits to places of remembrance. Twenty or so projects were recognised and funded by the French Community in 2009 and 2010. It should be emphasised that, in the three categories, the vast majority of the projects are related to the Holocaust, to the Nazi concentration camp system and to the Resistance. The resource and accredited Centres recognised within the framework of the Decree19 propose significant and varied resources: publications, seminars, training, visits to places in Belgium or abroad, exhibitions, activities in schools, awareness-raising actions intended for the general public, etc. Those resources not only concern the themes referred to by the Decree but also, and on a broader scale, issues involving the fight against extremisms and the promotion of the values of democracy. The Council for the passing on of remembrance, set up within the framework of the Decree and composed of representatives from the academic world, from civil society and from the Ministry of the French Community, was established on 30 June 2009. In addition to its role in the procedures for the recognition of centres and calls for projects, it gives opinions to the Government of the French Community, either on its own initiative or when requested to do so,

concerning any matter relating to the purpose of the Decree. The educational coordination unit Democracy or barbarity coordinates and monitors the actions supported by the French Community within the framework of the Decree. It is also assigned to collect and disseminate information about the issues affected by the Decree. 40 monuments and places of remembrance Furthermore it may be mentioned that in Belgium, more than 40 monuments are dedicated to the remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust. Among the best-known are the National Monument to Belgian Jewish Martyrs in Anderlecht and Les Territoires de la Mmoire, an educational centre in Lige, which adopts an educational view geared towards the future20 and the National Fort Breendonk Memorial. For instance, the Union des Dports Juifs en Belgique- Filles et Fils de la Dportation (Union of Jewish Deportees in Belgium Sons and Daughters of Deportation) organises an annual ceremony that takes place at the abovementioned Monument in Anderlecht, in the presence of a hundred or so children from Jewish and non-Jewish schools. That ceremony is devoted to the Holocaust Yom Hashoa - to the rising of the Warsaw ghetto and to the attack on the 20th transport headed for Auschwitz. This Union is also responsible for the annual pilgrimage in front of the Dossin Barracks in Mechelen which takes place in the

19 The list, the references of the centres and any other information concerning the initiatives taken in the French Community can be found at the address: www. 20 Website:

AFTER THE HOLOCAUST | Overview of the initiatives 23

first weeks of September. His Majesty, King Albert II together with the Prime Minister at the time, Mr Guy Verhofstadt, have already attended this commemoration and every year the federal government is represented. Another important place or remembrance, already previously mentioned, is the Dossin Barracks, formerly the Jewish Museum for Deportation and Resistance (subsequently referred to as the Kazerne Dossin-JMDR), which is located in Mechelen in the SS-Samellager of the period. These barracks are also called the Waiting Room of Death due to the central role it played in the deportation of 25,834 Jews (among whom 514 from northern France) and 351 Gypsies (among whom a certain number from northern France) to Auschwitz from 1942 to 1944. Plans and the construction of a refurbished museum Kazerne Dossin. Memorial, Museum and Documentation Centre on Holocaust and Human Rights in Mechelen are making good progress and the inauguration is scheduled for 2012. The funding for this project is provided by the Flemish Government. Another noteworthy initiative of the Kazerne Dossin-JMDR is the publication of a 4-volume series of 18,522 portraits of the 25,000 deportees from Mechelen to Auschwitz. This work, published in February 2009, is the achievement of 10 years work in archives and of 3 years scanning. This unique memorial to the deportation was sponsored inter alia by the European Commission, the Claims Conference21

and the Belgian Judaism Foundation. The Flemish Government purchased a copy of it for all its public libraries.

The safeguarding of archives is a crucial aspect of the duty of remembrance. The State Archives of Belgium, active in the Belgian ITS (International Tracing Service) network, have in the recent years focused special attention on safeguarding, preserving and making accessible the archives of World War I and World War II, especially the archives of the Belgian authorities on the German spoils and the Belgian restitution and indemnification activities. Among these archives are the very rich individual files of the former Foreigners Police, an invaluable source for the relatives of deported foreigners and for the historical study of the impact of


The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, website:

24 | na de Shoah | Een overzicht van de initiatieven

the Holocaust in Belgium. These 40,000 or so files are currently being digitised by the Kazerne Dossin-JMDR. Yearly, they allow the State Archives of Belgium to answer accurately hundreds of inquiries from deported persons or their close relations. In 2009, the General Archives of the Kingdom received a digitised copy of the archives of the ITS, kept in Bad Arolsen, in Germany. Over 80 million digitised pictures, representing some six terabytes, can be currently accessed by researchers, victims of persecutions or their close relatives. Through cooperation between the Federal Public Service Social Security DirectorateGeneral War-Victims, the Study Commission, the Indemnification Commission and the Kazerne Dossin-JMDR, many documents and personal belongings (referred to as relics), which had been confiscated from the deportees at the Dossin barracks in Mechelen, were restored to families. In 1992-93, the Belgian authorities granted subsidies, via the non-profit making organisation Sauvegarde dAuschwitz a.s.b.l., for the purpose of the preservation of the buildings and land in Auschwitz-Birkenau. In 2005, they took the initiative of revamping the Belgian permanent exhibition of Auschwitz, so as to actively uphold the duty of remembrance. That exhibition project, implemented in 2005, was managed by the JMDR and the required subsidies

AFTER THE HOLOCAUST | Overview of the initiatives 25

were granted by the National Lottery and the Judaism Foundation of Belgium. The Minister of Defence also provided a material contribution. Furthermore, every year, the Museum in Mechelen receives subsidies from the public authorities intended for the upkeep of the Belgian permanent exhibition. Belgium also provides a contribution to the Auschwitz-Birkenau International Foundation. Jewish Museum of Belgium A last institution obviously worth mentioning is the Jewish Museum of Belgium. The Jewish Museum of Belgium was relocated in a new and larger space in the heart of Brussels, with financial support from the Belgian authorities and other partners. The Jewish Museum of Belgium organises permanent and temporary exhibitions; it offers educational services and different activities showing the richness of Jewish culture and history. In 2007, with financial support from the Claims Conference, the Jewish Museum of Belgium digitised, via the JMDR, the some 83,000 original files of the Register of Jews (those persons who declared that they were Jewish pursuant to the German order in December 1940) which it preserves and created a database which may be consulted in its premises subject to compliance with the terms of the Privacy Act. That base was copied, as a measure of security, for the Yad Vashem (Jerusalem), the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington), the Centre

de Documentation Juive Contemporaine (Contemporary Jewish Documentation Centre Paris) and obviously the JMDR (Mechelen). That important collection of records relating to the Second World War is not the only one, far from it, as shown by the lists of Palestinian exchanges or the study concerning looted books which were both the subject of publications. The Museum further manages several thousand files of private persons, in addition to the collections of Jewish institutions and organisations which are regularly made available on request to

researchers or private individuals in search of their roots. The Museum also preserves several hundred items of drawings, objects and photos in the departments.

26 AFTER THE HOLOCAUST | Overview of the initiatives

As far as teaching is concerned, in addition to the permanent exhibition room devoted to the Holocaust since 2010, in 2014 as from the inauguration of the new museum a more comprehensive circuit will be opened concerning the Holocaust in Belgium and its consequences. Furthermore, from April 2012, the educational guide books will integrate guided tours on that site into the current exhibition, after the renovation of the National Memorial to Jewish Martyrs (located in Anderlecht). Lastly, for the adult audience, during the museum Tuesdays, specialised conferences about the Holocaust both in Belgium and abroad are organised. 4. Research In addition to education and remembrance, research into the Holocaust in Belgium plays a major role. That is reason for the founding of the Centre for Research and Studies on the History of the Second World War in 1969. It is currently known as the Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society (CEGES). Many archives are preserved at the Centre illustrating the persecution of Jews in Belgium. The CEGES was involved in the Study Commission into the fate of the Belgian Jewish Communitys assets which were plundered or surrendered or abandoned during the 1940-1945 war set up in 1997 by the Belgian government. The final report by that Commission assigned to conduct research into the plundering and looting of the assets of the

Jewish community in Belgium was published in 2001 (see below). In 2000, a PhD thesis was also published having highlighted the extensive collaboration of the Antwerp authorities22. As a result of these different studies devoted to the despoilment of Jewish assets and to the collaboration of the authorities of the city of Antwerp, there was increasing support within the Jewish community for an in-depth study to be conducted into the possible involvement of the Belgian authorities in the persecution and deportation of the Jewish population during the Nazi occupation of Belgium. The result was a research project conducted by the CEGES at the request of the Belgian Senate on behalf of the Federal authorities. The latter also funded the project. The report was presented to the Senate in 2007.23 The said study forms an important contribution in this area.

22 Lieven Saerens, scientific contributor at the CEGES, author of Vreemdelingen in een wereldstad. Een geschiedenis van Antwerpen en zijn joodse bevolking (1880-1944), Lannoo nv, Tielt, 2000, 800 pp. 23 The same year, the findings of the research project were also published in book form, both in French and in Dutch: La Belgique docile : Les autorits belges et la perscution des Juifs en Belgique pendant la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, (Docile Belgium: Belgian Authorities and the persecution of Jews in Belgium during the Second World War) Rudi Van Doorslaer (ed.), Emmanuel Debruyne, Frank Seberechts, Nico Wouters, with the cooperation of Lievens Saerens, published by Editions Luc Pire and CEGES, 2007, 2 vol., 1546 pp.; Gewillig Belgi. Overheid en Jodenvervolging tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog, Rudi Van

AFTER THE HOLOCAUST | Overview of the initiatives 27

Since November 2010, le CEGES has been involved in the far-reaching European EHRI project (European Holocaust Research Infrastructure24). Funded by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission, that project brings together 20 institutions from 13 countries with the aim of developing a portal which will offer online access to the scattered archives of the Holocaust in Europe. The purpose is to stimulate and internationalise research into the persecution of the Jews. The project will continue to run until September 2014. The CEGES manages and coordinates two Work Packages. The contribution by CEGES is twofold; its contribution is situated, at the level of the identification of the institutions and collections and, on the other hand, at the level of the examination of any problems related to privacy law in the different countries. In December 2010, a partnership agreement was concluded between the CEGES and the Kazerne Dossin/JMDR, which means in particular that a representative of the CEGES is now a member of the Kazerne Dossin/JMDR standing consultative committee. Auschwitz Foundation Another institution that should be mentioned is the Auschwitz Foundation. That institution was founded in 1980 by the Amicale Belge des Ex-Prisonniers Politiques dAuschwitzBirkenau, Camps et Prisons de Silsie (Belgian

Association of former political prisoners in Auschwitz-Birkenau and Silesian Camps and Prisons), whose prime objective is the study of history and the remembrance of Nazi crimes and genocides, awareness of them, the passing on of that remembrance and knowledge and the preservation of the archives relating to them. The Association set up a non-profit-making Study and Documentation Centre to achieve its goals: Mmoire dAuschwitz (Remembrance of Auschwitz). The two institutions work together to promote scientific research and multidisciplinary publications with a view to broadening understanding of the historical processes which led to the coming to power of the Third Reich and to Nazi crimes and genocides while developing teaching projects intended for the various education sectors in particular, and for society in general. Both institutions have significant collections of archival materials, a well-stocked library, together with a vast range of audiovisual documentation which is available to the public, to researchers, students, teachers and young people.25 The Foundation for Contemporary Remembrance (La Fondation de la Mmoire contemporaine De Stichting voor de Eigentijdse Herinnering) was founded in 1994 and also actively conducts research in this area. The Foundations activities are supported by the Ministry of Defence and the Belgian Judaism Foundation. The research work of this Foundation is structured around two key

Doorslaer (ed.), Emmanuel Debruyne, Frank Seberechts, Nico Wouters, with the cooperation of Lieven Saerens, Meulenhoff|Manteau and SOMA, 2007, 1163 pp. To reach a broader audience, an abridged French version appeared in 2010, with the support of the French Community: La Belgique et la perscution des Juifs, Anne Roekens, La Renaissance du Livre and CEGES, 2010, 124 pp. Since 2011, a Dutch version is also available: Gewillig Belgi, Anne Roekens, De Bezige Bij, Antwerp, 2011, 166 pp. 24 Website : 25 Bron website:

28 AFTER THE HOLOCAUST | Overview of the initiatives

notions: remembrance and vigilance. For instance, the Foundation conducts historical research into the Belgian Jewish community in the 20th century and collects evidence. It conserves that evidence and those essays and archives together with photographic material. Every year, it also publishes the review Les Cahiers de la Mmoire contemporaine (The Contemporary Remembrance Notebooks), many articles of which are devoted to the tragedy of the Holocaust.26 As a conclusion, let us mention that, since 2000, several theses and monographs have been published on the following subjects: Jewish refugees, the escape of Jewish deportees from the 20th convoy and Jewish members of the Belgian Resistance; the assistance to Jews (Jewish children) and post-war problems of the return of these children to their community; the Association of the Jews in Belgium, founded by the Nazis; the Belgian diamond trade and the Jewish educational system during the Occupation; Belgian Jew hunters, Lige and the Jews during the Occupation, Jewish cultural assets in Antwerp and Kalmhout and the re-establishment of the Jewish community in Belgium after WWII. Like several monographs devoted to the persecution of Jews in Belgium, including a recent one, they put the emphasis on the German approach while reserving special attention to the great responsibility of the German military authority.27
26 27

B. Initiatives in the area of material reparations

Since 1997, the Belgian authorities have taken and implemented various measures aimed at identifying, restoring and indemnifying the assets despoiled to the detriment of Holocaust victims and at promoting the welfare of Holocaust survivors.28 These initiatives may be placed within an international perspective. The opening of a series of archives (e.g. concerning the fate of stolen gold) resulted in a worldwide search for unrestored Jewish assets. At Belgian level, the National Committee of the Belgian Jewish community for restitution (CNCJBR)29 asked the government of the time to take the necessary steps. The Belgian public authorities have always closely involved the Belgian Jewish Community, represented by the CNCJBR, in this entire process.

1. The Study Commission into the fate of the Belgian Jewish Communitys assets which were plundered or surrendered or abandoned during the 1940-1945 war In July 1997, a Study Commission into the fate of the Belgian Jewish Communitys assets which were plundered or surrendered or abandoned during the 1940-1945 war was set up in Belgium, as part of a constructive dialogue between the Belgian Jewish Community (the CNCJBR being more specifically the initiator) and the Belgian authorities. That Commission was assigned the

Bron website: De Shoah in Belgi, Insa Meinen, De Bezige Bij, Antwerp, 2011, 333 pp. Initially published in German: Die Shoah in Belgien, Insa Meinen, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt, 2009, 254 pp. 28 The examination of the initiatives is limited to those subsequent to 1997. The various efforts made by the Belgian authorities in the aftermath of the war are therefore not explicitly mentioned. 29 Now called: National Committee of the Belgian Jewish community for Restitution and Remembrance.

AFTER THE HOLOCAUST | Overview of the initiatives 29

task of investigating the fate of the Belgian Jewish Communitys assets appropriated, lost or abandoned in those circumstances (Art. 1 of the Royal Decree of 6 July 1997 concerning the founding of a Study Commission into the fate of the Belgian Jewish Communitys assets which were abandoned at the time of their deportation during the 1940-1945 war, M.B. 12 July 1997).30 The Study Commission conducted investigations in the following areas: - the financial sector; - real-estate assets; - life insurance; - businesses; - the diamond sector; - art objects and cultural assets; - furniture and domestic possessions (overall investigation).

The investigations conducted in these sectors (with the exception of furniture and domestic possessions) made it possible to locate and identify despoiled and not restored assets within insurance companies, financial institutions and the Belgian State.31

30 See also the Act of 15 January 1999 concerning the Study Commission into the fate of the Belgian Jewish Communitys assets, which were plundered or surrendered or abandoned during the 1940-1945 war, M.B. 12 March 1999. 31 The Study Commissions final report may be consulted on the website: html

30 AFTER THE HOLOCAUST | Overview of the initiatives

2. The Indemnification Commission for the Belgian Jewish Communitys assets that were plundered, surrendered or abandoned during the 1940-1945 war As a result of the findings made by the Study Commission, contained in its final report of July 2001, the Act of 20 December 2001 (M.B. 24 January 2002) set up the Indemnification Commission for the Belgian Jewish Communitys assets.32 At the outcome of the negotiations conducted with the CNCJBR, the amounts identified by the Study Commission were paid by the State, the banks and the insurance companies. Those payments, which represented a total amount of 110.6 million euros, were payments in full discharge for the bodies concerned, which meant an extinguishment of the right to submit any other indemnification claim for the material assets and financial losses affected by the Act. This amount was paid into the special account opened at the Belgian National Bank and placed at the disposal of the Indemnification Commission. The Indemnification Commission then began the individual indemnification procedure. The claims could be submitted until 9 September 2003. Any person residing in Belgium at any time whatever during the period from 10 May 1940 to 8 May 1945, whose assets had been plundered in Belgium as a result of anti-Jewish measures or anti-Semitic acts committed by the

occupying German authorities, was considered for indemnification.33 When the despoiled person was deceased, a rightful claimant, in the first, second or third degree, could submit a claim. Individual compensation amounting to EUR 35.2 million The Act of 20 December 2001 identified the assets that would be taken into consideration for indemnification, namely the assets and possessions looted or abandoned of which restitution had not been made by the State, financial institutions or insurance companies. Those assets could neither have already been the object of any compensation, indemnification or reparation and should have been identified by the Study Commission or the Indemnification Commission (cf. Art. 6 of the Act). In view of the special circumstances, mainly the fact that the records were not complete, the Commission chose in all fairness to award lump sum indemnification when there were sufficient indications making it possible to identify despoilment, but no proof or trace of the assets could be found on a frozen account (Art. 8 of the Act). All in all, the Indemnification Commission processed 5,220 despoilment files, with the total amount of individual compensation amounting to 35.2 million euros. It closed the examination and the processing of the files on 31 December 2007.34 The law laid down that the remaining

32 Act of 20 December 2001 relating to the indemnification of the Belgian Jewish Communitys assets, which were plundered, surrendered or abandoned during the 1940-1945 war, M.B. 24 January 2002, amended by the Acts of 8 April 2003, M.B. 17 April 2003, 9 July 2004, M.B. 15 July 2004, and 20 July 2006, M.B. 28 July 2006. 33 The Act did not therefore lay down any nationality requirement. 42% of the claims came from abroad. 34 The Indemnification Commissions final report may be consulted on the website:

AFTER THE HOLOCAUST | Overview of the initiatives 31

financial balance would be paid to a public utility foundation, in the event the Belgian Judaism Foundation (see infra 4. Judaism Foundation). 3. Cultural goods, works of art and judaica: a continuous study As mentioned above, the Belgian Study Commission, in accordance with the conclusions of the Washington Conference and more specifically with the agreement on the Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, investigated the lost, plundered and abandoned cultural property and works of art having belonged to members of the Jewish community in Belgium, more specifically to victims of the Holocaust. Simultaneously a historical study was undertaken to clarify the cultural losses suffered by Jewish owners and organisations, and the ways these cultural goods were plundered and disappeared during and after World War II. The Belgian Study Commission also studied and investigated indirectly, in a more general way, the plundered cultural property of religious communities and associations in Belgium. The Indemnification Commission, as mentioned above, depended for the examination of the individual claims which concerned or might concern disappeared cultural goods on the constant expertise of the unit Restitution of Looted Jewish Cultural Goods of the Federal Public Planning Service Science Policy. On the basis of the data provided by individual

claimants and the restudying of the Belgian and German sources, about 160 reports were drawn up regarding disappeared or lost works of art and cultural goods. These detailed reports led to financial proposals of indemnification which the Commission followed. For instance, two historical clocks from the Royal Museums of Art and History and one book from the Royal Library of Belgium were returned in 2002 to the heirs and claimants who had submitted an individual claim. i. Cultural goods and works of art in general

The Study Commission studied the procedures and ways in which Jewish cultural property was despoiled in Belgium during the Holocaust. A profound investigation was also made of the Belgian restitution efforts after WWII. The Office de Rcupration Economique (ORE) was nationally and internationally responsible for the Belgian recovery of cultural goods from the public domain and from private individuals and associations and was also responsible for the liquidation of Nazi material. Their activities were seriously hampered by the prevailing chaotic situation after the liberation and difficult working relations with other services, claims for repossession by (Jewish) owners and the quartering of Allied troops and material. From 1999, an important search for lost Jewish cultural property was undertaken in cultural

32 AFTER THE HOLOCAUST | Overview of the initiatives

institutions and museums in Belgium. The aim was to locate works of art and cultural goods transferred by the ORE after World War II and to investigate unclear and unidentified provenances. The approach used is comparable with the one used to investigate MNRworks35 of art in France and NK-works36 in the Netherlands. On the basis of two written inquiry lists, details were demanded of all acquisitions, deposited works of art and the handled or restituted cultural goods by the ORE. By consulting the available archives and correspondence written during the war and after the war years, a clear picture was established of the involvement of the cultural institutions and museums in the despoilment and restitution activities. This investigation was carried out in full cooperation with the Communities, responsible for the cultural domain in Belgium. After the inquiry in 24 cultural institutions and museums, a total of more than 300 cultural objects were discovered with an unclear, unidentified or a Jewish provenance, linked to World War II. The provenance of those cultural goods continues to be investigated. This investigation will make it possible to restore goods to their rightful owners or their heirs. If necessarily, when the provenance remains unclear, further inquiries will be undertaken and international attention will be drawn to these cultural goods by PPS Science Policy. In the next years, a comprehensive study of the history of the

cultural spoils and post-war restitution policies in Belgium, including complete lists of the cultural goods, will be made available for the public on the internet. Secondly, PPS Science Policy will continue to provide information free of charge to victims, their heirs and their legal representatives concerning their cultural losses, and also to auction houses and to cultural institutions, in pursuance of the Washington Principles. Thirdly an awareness campaign, in cooperation with the Communities, will be organized to widely inform all cultural actors of the Washington Principles and the Terezin Declaration. ii. Judaica

The Judaica issue is best illustrated with the help of an example. On Easter Monday 14 April 1941, one public incident occurred, which proved to be an isolated event in the history of the persecution of Jews in Belgium. A small anti-Semitic mob invaded the Jewish quarter of Antwerp breaking dozens of windows and displays and setting fire to two synagogues and the house of Rabbi Markus Rottenberg. The synagogues were desecrated and plundered. The Torah scrolls, sacred books and furniture were openly burnt in the streets and buildings were set on fire. National-Socialist services were present and did not intervene. The some 200 to 400 pillagers were mostly members of collaborationist organisations. German soldiers were also present.

The MNR, meaning the Muses Nationaux Rcupration, refers to the national museums recovery programme. It has a database of works of art retrieved in Germany at the end of the Second World War but never claimed by their rightful owners. Those works were entrusted by the Office des biens privs (Office of private goods OBIP) to the custody of the Department of Museums of France pursuant to the decree dated 30 September 1949. (source website: documentation/mnr/pres.htm). 36 NK-works: NederlandsKunstbezit-collectie. The NK collection constitutes the remainder of the works of art retrieved in Germany in particular after the Second World War. This collection is managed by the public authorities and was entrusted to the custody of the Instituut Collectie Nederland (Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage - ICN). (source website:

AFTER THE HOLOCAUST | Overview of the initiatives 33

In August 1940, shortly after the occupation of Belgium, the Sicherheitsdienst had targeted and ransacked Jewish and Zionist organisations both in Belgium and in northern France. After the liberation of Belgium, the local Jewish community was partly compensated by the Ministry of Reconstruction for material damage and the synagogues were re-consecrated. In 2001 and 2002, after successful BelgianRussian negotiations, Belgian Trophy archives were returned by the Russian Federation. The archives, mostly military documents from the Belgian Ministry of National Defence, contained 14 dossiers from Jewish organisations (such as the Alliance Israelite-Committee Antwerp and the editorial board of Hatikva, newspaper of the Fdration Sioniste de Belgique). Those 14 dossiers together with 74 dossiers belonging to leading Jewish personalities were returned to the rightful organisations and owners. The reason for the small amount of documents, less than 1% of the total of the Belgian Trophy archives, was that the main objective of the Nazi services, such as the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg in Belgium, was primarily the confiscation of library material. Most of those books and libraries remain until now unrecovered. The Belgian Study Commission made a profound investigation of the Nazi spoils and the Belgian restitution efforts after WWII and

an inquiry and research for lost Jewish cultural property were conducted in the most important cultural institutions and museums in Belgium. Special attention was given to the provenance of religious objects and silverware collections. The investigation in the Belgian cultural institutions showed that, besides the discovery of some objects, that those silver objects were not registered or deposited in Belgian cultural institutions in mass. The findings were published in the final report of the Study Commission. The Jewish Museum of Belgium discovered in the nineties, 450 books written in Hebraic script in an attic which had been confiscated, during the war years, by the Anti Jewish National Agency for Wallonia and Flanders, a collaborationist organisation created with the help of the SipoSD. More importantly, the Jewish Museum of Belgium, active in the research of lost cultural Jewish property, was one of the first international Jewish museums to fully cooperate in the provenance research, as stipulated by the Washington Conference. As a conclusion, let us emphasise the need to attach increased attention to the (personal) religious Jewish objects and the cultural property of associations. More extensive research should be conducted in this area if we are to fully understand the devastating despoilment during the war years in Belgium.

34 AFTER THE HOLOCAUST | Overview of the initiatives

4. The Belgian Judaism Foundation As stipulated in the Act of 20 December 2001, the financial balance remaining after the Indemnification Commission had concluded its work, was transferred to a public utility foundation, namely the Belgian Judaism Foundation. Justified collective restitution is thereby guaranteed. In the statutes of the Belgian Judaism Foundation, it is stipulated that the Foundation is formed with the aim of gathering together Jewish assets plundered or abandoned on the territory of Belgium between 1940 and 1945 for which no rightful claimant was able to be found (M.B. / B.S. 30 July 2004. The Foundations mission is also set out in the Statutes, i.e. the management of the Foundations intangible capital and the periodic distribution of the interest from that capital by means of subsidies so as to make it possible for the Belgian Jewish Community to ensure its continuity. Applications for subsidies must also meet certain conditions. It is mentioned that the projects must concern: Holocaust remembrance; social issues, in the widest meaning of the word, education, worship and everything related to it, culture, solidarity and support for the Jewish victims of the Second World War, in particular for Holocaust survivors, including those who settled in Belgium after the Liberation, solidarity with persons, such as Gypsies, who, like the Jewish Community, were the

AFTER THE HOLOCAUST | Overview of the initiatives 35

victims of discriminations, racist persecutions or racial deportation during the Second World War, solidarity with persons outside the Jewish Community, among whom the Belgian Righteous among the Nations; the combat against anti-Semitism and intolerance; scientific and historical research into Jewish subjects or subjects relating to the Second World War, etc. One of the initiatives of the said foundation is the Solidarity 3000 action. The Belgian Judaism Foundation was anxious to guarantee personal compensation of at least 3,000 euros for the despoilment of their material assets to each victim of anti-Jewish persecutions. That sum was awarded to those persons who had not already been personally indemnified (and had not received at least 3,000 euros) under the German Reparation Acts or the Belgian Indemnification Act. If necessary, the Foundation made up the difference between the 3,000 euros and the compensation received.

C. Initiatives in the area of moral compensation Welfare programmes

1. Welfare Programmes - Federal Public Service Social Security Directorate-General War Victims In Belgium, victims and survivors of the Holocaust can benefit from a series of general measures aimed at improving the welfare of those who suffered from the Second World War. The legislator has already adopted several Acts containing measures in favour of Holocaust survivors. For instance, the Act of 26 January 1999 created the status of the Jewish child hidden during the Second World War and the status of Jewish political prisoner for those who did not have Belgian nationality during the Second World War. This recognition is an honorary recognition of their status. The Royal Decree of 19 April 1999 established the creation of the medal of Jewish political prisoner. In 2003, the legislator devoted a whole series of new measures in favour of victims from the Jewish and Gypsy communities particularly concerning deportees, the orphans of deportation and children and adults in hiding. The lifelong annuity for the orphans of deportees, adults and children who were in hiding as well as the compensatory pensions, annuities and fixed rate compensation for deportees are worth mentioning in this respect. The Act of 11 April 2003, making provision for new measures on behalf of war victims,

36 AFTER THE HOLOCAUST | Overview of the initiatives

substantially complements the assistance provided to the various categories of persons, victims of anti-Jewish persecution at that time, as well as to their children, children in hiding or orphans. 2. The Belgian Judaism Foundation The Belgian Judaism Foundation (see above) is a foundation devoted to Holocaust remembrance and provides its support to the Belgian Jewish community in the social and psycho-medicalsocial fields and in the areas of education, culture and worship.

AFTER THE HOLOCAUST | Overview of the initiatives 37

38 AFTER THE HOLOCAUST | Practical information


Practical information
Flemish Ministry of Education and Training Boulevard Roi Albert II - Koning Albert II-laan 15 B-1210 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0)2 553 88 51 Fax: +32 (0)2 553 88 35 E-mail: Website: Ministry of the French Community Boulevard Lopold II - Leopold II-laan 44 B-1080 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0)2.413.29 53 E-mail: Website: Flemish Ministry of Culture, Youth, Sport and Media Rue dArenberg - Arenbergstraat 9 B-1000 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0)2 553 06 79 Fax: +32 (0)2 553 68 43 E-mail: Website: Educational coordination unit Democracy or barbarity Ministry of the French Community - General Secretariat Office 3F338 Rue A. Lavalle A. Lavallestraat 1 B-1080 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0)2 690 83 52/53/54 Fax: +32 (0)2 690 85 84 E-mail: Website: Ministry of the German-speaking Community Gospertstrae 1 B-4700 Eupen Tel.: +32 (0)87 59 63 00 Fax: +32 (0)87 55 28 91 E-mail: Website:

General information
Federal Public Service Chancellery of the Prime Minister Rue de la Loi - Wetstraat 16 B-1000 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0)2 501 02 11 Website: Website Indemnification Commission: . Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation rue des Petits Carmes - Karmelietenstraat 15 B-1000 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0)2 501 81 11 Website:

Specific information
Federal Public Planning Service Science Policy Avenue Louise - Louizalaan 231 B-1050 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0)2 238 34 11 Fax: +32 (0)2 230 59 12 E-mail: Website: Federal Public Service Social Security Directorate-General War-Victims Square de lAviation - Luchtvaartsquare 31 B-1070 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0)2 528 91 00 Fax: +32 (0)2 528 91 22 E-mail: Website:

AFTER THE HOLOCAUST | Practical information 39

GrenzGeschichteDG an der Autonomen Hochschule in der DG Monschauerstrae 26 B-4700 Eupen Tel: +32 87 59 05 00 E-mail: E-mail: Website:

The State Archives of Belgium Rue de Ruysbroeck - . Ruisbroeckstraat 2 - 6 B-1000 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0)2 513 76 80 Fax: +32 (0)2 513 76 81 E-mail: Website: National Committee of the Belgian Jewish community for Restitution and Remembrance Avenue Ducptiaux - . Ducptiauxlaan 68 B-1060 Brussels The Belgian Judaism Foundation Avenue Ducptiaux - . Ducptiauxlaan 68 B-1060 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0)2 538 45 00 Fax: +32 (0)2 534 30 32 E-mail: Website: Jewish Museum of Belgium rue des Minimes - Miniemenstraat 21 B-1000 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0)2 512 19 63 Fax: +32 (0)2 513 48 59 E-mail: Website:

Kazerne Dossin. Memorial, Museum and Documentation Centre on Holocaust and Human Rights Goswin de Stassartstraat 153 B-2800 Mechelen Tel.: +32 (0)15 29 06 60 Fax: +32 (0)15 29 08 76 E-mail: Website: Auschwitz Foundation Remembrance of Auschwitz Rue des Tanneurs - . Huidevetterstraat 65 B-1000 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0) 2 512 79 98 Fax: +32 (0) 2 512 58 84 E-mail: Website: Bijzonder Comit Herinneringseducatie (Special Committee for Remembrance Education) Goswin de Stassartstraat 153 B-2800 Mechelen Tel.: +32 (0)15 29 06 60 Fax: +32 (0)15 29 08 76 E-mail: Website: Foundation for Contemporary Remembrance Avenue Victoria - Victorialaan 5 B-1000 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0)2 650 35 64 Fax: +32 (0)2 650 35 99 E-mail: Website:

The Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism Rue royale - Koningsstraat 138 B-1000 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0)2 212 30 00 Fax: +32 (0)2 212 30 30 E-mail: Website: Institute for Veterans - National Institute for Invalids of War, Veterans and Victims of War (IV-INIG) Boulevard du Rgent - . Regentlaan 45/46 B-1000 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0)2 227 63 00 Fax: +32 (02 227 63 31 E-mail: Website: Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society (CEGES-SOMA) Square de lAviation - Luchtvaartsquare 29 B-1070 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0)2 556 92 11 Fax: +32 (0)2 556 92 00 e-mail: Website:


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