Historians ‘put faces’ to Belgium’s Nazi victims
28 September 2005
BRUSSELS – A major historical project is under way in Belgium to put names and faces to 28,000 Jews who were deported from the country to the Nazi concentration camps.
The Jewish museum in Mechelen has already put the photos and records of 1,500 Nazi victims onto the computer.
And the project, which is being titled “Give them a face”, aims to sift through some 2700000 documents to identify other individuals who were taken from Belgium to Auschwitz or who were deported first to France and then to the death camps.
In the past, Belgium has been criticised for not doing enough to recognise its role in the Nazi Holocaust, which overall claimed some 6 million victims.
The latest project is being funded by the national lottery and the Brussels regional authorities, as well as by private donations.
MP Claude Marinower, an administrator at the Mechelen museum, suggested the project, pointing out that the interior department had kept detailed records of internal and external migrations since 1861.
The Mechelen museum was granted permission to go through the archives where they found 56,000 Jews were living in the country during the war. A total of 25,000 of them were deported from the Dossin camp in Belgium while another 3,000 were taken to Drancy in France and then onto Auschwitz.
The records show that 90 percent of the people identified so far were not Belgian and that Belgium’s Jewish community represented 1 percent of the population in 1940.
When the digital archiving is finished, it is envisaged that the records should also be made available at the Auschwitz museum.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news