21 January 2007

Is a cover-up behind the destruction of Belgian Holocaust-era deportation archives?

According to the December newsletter of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, Belgian authorities have "destroyed archives and records relating to the deportation of Jews in Belgium in the 1930s and 1940s."

Author Paul Belien says some of the destruction of records happened as late as the 1990s, according to a report tied to Belgian Senate hearings last spring. The Senate report was released May 4, but according to the newsletter, newspapers in Belgium have not reported the activities. The report says that “documents about the period 1930-1950 have been destroyed on a massive scale.”

"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."

According to Belien, Antwerp Jewry records are intact, but documents about Jews in Brussels and in Charleroi and Liege, which had large pre-war Jewish communities, were intentionally purged. Charleroi's municipal and judicial archives from the 1930s and the war years were destroyed in the 1970s. Judicial archives in Brussels exist for the years until the early 1930s, with little after that.

Says Belien, "By destroying paper trails people are made to forget that certain events ever took place."

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