The report states that thousands of documents dated from 1930-1950 relating to the persecution and deportation of Jews in Belgium in the 1930s and 1940s were systematically destroyed “on a massive scale”. Padded in the language of bureaucratese, the report says that essential documents from the Attorney General’s Office pertaining the involvement of government officials, church authorities, local magistrates, and the royal family, specifically King Leopold III, during the German occupation were purposely destroyed, some as late as the 1990s.
Brussels Journal explains (emphasis added):
The systematic destructions of the records of police and judiciary from the 1930s and ’40s happened chiefly in Brussels and Wallonia, the French-speaking south of Belgium. The Senate report states that in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking north of the country, archives have been saved thanks to conscientious archivists. “This policy – of having competent archivists manage dead archives – contrasts with the disastrous situation at the offices of the public prosecutors in Brussels and Wallonia.”
While the records about the persecution of the Antwerp Jewry have been kept intact, documents about the fate of the Jews in Brussels and in French-speaking cities with large pre-war Jewish communities, such as Charleroi and Liège, were purposely destroyed. In Charleroi all the archives relating to the 1930s and the war years have vanished.
The report specifically states that the lack of professional archivists in Charleroi is one of the causes why police procedure wasn’t followed in order to preserve the files. Additionally,
In Brussels the judicial archives are present “until the early 1930s, while there is (almost) nothing left of the period thereafter,” the report says, adding that “Reference is often made to the 1944 fire of the Palais de Justice to explain this lack of archives […] However, there is no doubt that large parts of the Brussels judicial wartime archives were destroyed after 1944.”
. . .
Records relating to the so-called “phantom trains” have also disappeared. The “phantom trains” were convoys of “unpatriotic” Belgians, such as Flemish-Nationalists and Communists, and non-Belgian citizens, most of them Jewish fugitives from Germany and Poland. They were arrested by the Belgian authorities at the beginning of the war and deported to France.
. . .
After the war Robert De Foy resumed his position as head of the Belgian secret police. No wonder no-one ever investigated how and on whose orders the Belgian secret service had assisted Heydrich before the war. Nor did Belgium ever pay damages to the “phantom train” victims. On the contrary, it even refused to repatriate the bodies of the 21 victims in Abbeville.
The persecution of the Jews in Belgium didn’t end with the war: Brussels Journal continues,
The historian Nico Wouters told the Senators during the hearings that even after the war the Belgian authorities continued to arrest German Jews who had survived the holocaust by going into hiding, under the pretext that they were “citizens of a hostile nation.”
Brussels Journal points out that
Though the Senate report dates from 4 May the Belgian press has not yet mentioned the affair.
However, just last month a Belgian newspaper was calling for the extermination of Israel.
Ironically, Belgium (which in spite of the recent exhibit at the Royal Museum in Brussels, continues to be in near-complete denial of the vast crimes it perpetrated in Congo) is a member of the commission responsible for the International Tracing Service (ITS), which maintains the vast Nazi German archive documenting war crimes which were recently authorized to be opened to the public.
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Update, Saturday September 2
I would also like to react about the allegation on the mass-murders in Congo during the colonization, since it has been proved that they never happened, at least not at the scale that some people might believe they did.
The basic error comes from the way that Stanley (who explored Congo on behalf of king Leopold II) did travel Congo, and counted the inhabitants of the country.
Stanley mainly travelled along rivers. He counted the people living down these rivers, and extrapolated these numbers for the country as a whole.
He did not take into acount that more people live along rivers than further away from them.
Many years later, when the Belgian autorities decided a full-scale counting of the people living in Congo (recensement,as we say in french), they found several millions of people missing, according to the counting that Stanley made. And so the legend of the Belgian genocide was born, especially in Great Britain, that was not very happy about the Belgian colonization of the Congo.
These “missing” people, as a matter of fact, never existed!
And this legend still lives on. Not so long ago, the Belgian television showed a documentary based on this story (I think the title was White King, Red Rubber, Black Death).
That is not to say that we, Belgians were great colonizators. Indeed, we probably were as bad as, let’s say the French. But still, the truth has its rights.
If you want to know more about this, I know that the Belgian academic Jean Stengers wrote a book about it.
I found two books by Jean Stengers,
Stengers is also listed as one of the editors of this book: