Belgium’s Jewish community is preparing to commemorate on Sunday the 75th anniversary of the raid on Jewish foreigners in the Marolles neighbourhood in Brussels during World War II. Activities marking this day of rememberance will include the official inauguration of Herschel Grynszpan Square in the heart of this traditional neighbourhood of the Belgian capital and the inauguration of 21 new memorial plaques placed at the initiative of Jewish families. The day will end with a lecture on the Catholic Church and the Shoah, delivered by the Primate of Belgium, commemoration organisers said on Tuesday at a press conference in Brussels.
Seventy-five years ago, on the night of 3 to 4 September 1942, 718 Jewish foreigners were arrested in the Marolles neighbourhood by the German occupation force. Unlike in Antwerp, the Brussels authorities refused to allow the capital police to collaborate in this operation, recalled Eric Picard, founder of the Association for the Memory of Shoah (AMS). It is this tragic event that the AMS aims to recall on Sunday with the series of commemorative activities.
One of the highlights of the event will be the official inauguration, starting at 6.p.m. at the junction of the Rue des Tanneurs, Rue du Miroir and Rue des Brigittines, of the Herschel Grynszpan Square, named after a young Jewish member of the Resistance who lived on Rue des Tanneurs and who in 1938 assassinated a German diplomat based in Paris. Brussels Mayor Philippe Close and the Great Rabbi of Brussels are scheduled to speak at the occasion.
The public will then be invited to follow a circuit linking the memorials already present in the neighbourhood and attend the inauguration of the 21 new memorial plaques set up at the initiative of the Gelender, Neumann, Van Praag and Sapira families.
Finally, at 8.30 p.m., the Primate of Belgium, Cardinal Jozef De Kesel, will deliver a lecture on the theme “The Memory of the Shoah in Belgium and the Catholic Church” at the Eglise Notre Dame de la Chapelle. This will be followed by a free concert by the Zerkalo Quartet.
The Brussels Times