|Belgium and the Jewish World|
|Belgium takes over the chairmanship of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research|
|During a ceremony that took place at the Belgian Embassy in Berlin on March 6th. 2012, the Chairmanship of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research was transferred from the Netherlands to Belgium. The Belgian one-year presidency program will strive to elaborate a multiannual plan focusing on four main topics: 1. encouraging research on the "killing sites" where mass executions took place; 2. elaborating guidelines for "Holocaust Memorial Days"; 3. carrying out a research project to evaluate the impace of educational programs concerning the Holocaust; 4. ensuring a better access to archives. In addition to the program, there will be a series of events related to the Memory of the Holocaust such as the "train of 1000" with which pupils and studenst will travel to Auschwitz in May, the official inauguration of the Kazerne Dossin Museum in Mechelen in September and others.|
|A new pamphlet on Belgian initiatives to perpetuate the memory of the Holocaust|
On the occasion of Belgium's Chairmanship of the Task Force Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research , a pamphlet has been issued which gives an overview of the main initiatives taken in recent years by Belgian authorities and institutions with regard to the Holocaust. The pamphlet, published under the auspices of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Foreign Affaors, the Belgian Veterans' Institute and the language communities, touches on education, remembrance and research as well as on material and moral compensation (click on picture to read the pamphlet).
|Former Prime Minister Leterme receives golden Star of David|
Prime Minister Yves Leterme received the golden Star of David on June 16th 2011, during a gala evening at Radio Judaica. Although he could not attend, he transmitted his message through video.
|The Jewish Community of Belgium - a short history|
Jews have always enjoyed full civil rights in Belgium, except under the Nazi occupation. During this dark chapter of our history, a great number of Belgian citizens actively countered the Nazi anti-Semitic policy by hiding numerous Jews.
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|Jewish institutions and organizations in Belgium|
|The Jewish Community is well organized and represented in public life. Click "read more" for a list of the main Jewish institutions.
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|Restoring the victims of the Holocaust their face and dignity |
| "Mechelen-Auschwitz" 1942-1944, the destruction of the Jews and Gypsies from Belgium", published by the Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance, is an impressive and moving compendium consisting of four trilingual books in Dutch, French and English and comprising 18,522 portraits of Jews and Gypsies who were deported from Belgium during WWII. The first book describes the context and background from which these photographs originate, while the second and third books display all archival materials. The fourth volume recounts the numerous individual stories these pictures relate, substantiated by official records and personal testimonies. The result of 13 years of archival research, this collection is a powerful homage to the Jews and Gypsies living in Belgium who were eliminated by the Nazis.|
|Information on relatives deported from Belgium during World War II|
|People seeking information on their parents or grandparents who were deported from Belgium during World War II can contact the "Archives générales du Royaume" or the “Office des Etrangers” (Foreigners' Bureau) in Brussels.
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|Former Prime Minister Leterme at the commemoration ceremony of Kristallnacht|
|A dinner on the theme "On Promoting Tolerance throughout the European Continent" took place in Brussels on November 10th 2008 as part of the commemorations of the 70th. anniversary of Kristallnacht and to celebrate the International Day of Tolerance. The guest of honor was prime Minister Yves Leterme who in his speech forcefully pleaded against antisemitism and for tolerance. The initiative for the dinner came from the European Jewish Congress, the Coordination Committee of the Jewish Organizations of Belgium, the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation, Yad Vashem and the World Holocaust Forum.|
|Final report of the Jewish Community Indemnification Commission|
The Indemnification Commission for the Belgian Jewish Community's assets that were plundered, surrendered or abandoned during World War II completed the examination and processing of the indemnification claims on December 2007. Final report.
|Report on attitude of Belgian authorities towards Jews during World War II|
The Center for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society in Belgium (Ceges) released in September 2007 its final report, a 1,114 pages study entitled "Docile Belgium", on the responsibilities of the Belgian authorities in the persecution of the Jews in Belgium during World War II. The report was commissioned by the Belgian parliament and government in 2003. The Ceges historians have concluded that many administrative bodies collaborated with the Nazis for "economic as well as ideological reasons", a collaboration made easier by lack of clear legislation. "This report is fundamental and it is a victory for enlightened democracy", said Philippe Markiewicz, chairman of the Coordination Committee of Belgian Jewish Organizations. Mr. Markiewicz recalled also the brave attitude of the many Belgians who risked their lives to save Jews. Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt accepted the report and said, through his spokesman, that the Ceges findings should be incorporated into history textbooks.
The book may be bought by mail ( Lieve Maes) or by phone (00 32 2 556 92 07) at the CEGES for the price of 55 € (delivery not included).
|International Conference of "Children hidden in Belgium during the Shoah"|
|The international conference of Children hidden in Belgium during the Shoah was held in Jerusalem on April 15-19 2007. The Conference was sponsored by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Its president was Shaul Harel, a professor of Pediatrics at Tel-Aviv University, who was himself hidden in Belgium as a child. Nearly 300 persons who came from all over the world attended the Conference and participated in various seminars and workshops on the influence of the Holocaust on the hidden children and their families. Andrée Geulen, a Belgian citizen who helped save as many as 300 children and who has been recognized "Righteous among the Nations", was granted the honorary citizenship of the State of Israel during a moving ceremony at Yad Vashem. |
|Former Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt inaugurates freshly restored Belgian pavillion in Auschwitz|
Former Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt inaugurated on May7th 2006 the Belgian pavilion in Auschwitz, which was first opened in 1978, and which has undergone restoration works. The former Prime Minister was accompanied by other ministers from his cabinet and by a delegation of about 250 people, among them leaders and members of the Jewish Community and many students. The ministers came with their children.
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|Belgian Righteous among the nations honored at Yad Vashem|
The Encyclopedia dedicated to the Belgian citizens who have been recognized "Righteous among the Nations" was presented by Avner Shalev, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, to the former Belgian Ambassador, Jean-Michel Veranneman de Watervliet, during a ceremony at Yad Vashem on September 27th.2005, before an audience of about 200 persons, among them survivors of the Holocaust and people who had been hidden in Belgium during the war. For the speech made on this occasion by Mr. Veranemman, click here.
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|Statement by Former Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt at the opening of the new museum of Yad Vashem, March 2005|
Former Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt visited Israel in March 2005, on the occasion of the inauguration of the new Yad Vashem museum. For the statement he made at Yad Vashem, click here