A commemoration ceremony for Jewish victims of Nazism in Belgium during World War II will be held on Sunday at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels. The ceremony, organised by Association for the Memory of the Shoah, will honour the victims of Nazi persecution, the Righteous Among the Nations (people who hid Jews) and Soviet soldiers, the association explained on Tuesday.
It will begin at 5.00 p.m. at the Herschel Grynszpan Square with an homage to victims of Nazi persecution in Belgium.
Belgian Jews deported on 3 September 1943 to Auschwitz-Birkenau will be highlighted at this ceremony. One year before that, foreign Jews had already been victims of Nazi raids, but those with Belgian nationality had been spared at the request of Queen Elisabeth.
Brussels Mayor Philippe Close will inaugurate the “Place des 3 septembre” (3 September Square) at the corner of the Miroir, Brigittines and Tanneurs streets, in honour of the victims of both series of raids, and in commemoration of the liberation of Brussels on 3 September 1944.
Fifty paving stones bearing the names of the victims of Nazism will also be inaugurated at the Rue des Tanneurs, where the Association for the Memory of the Shoah is creating a unique memorial by placing paving stones for the 256 victims of Nazism who lived in that street before the war.
The Righteous Among the Nations will also be remembered. The Association regrets that Belgium has not honoured them or considered them as having participated in the resistance to the Nazis. It is Israel which, since 1963, through its Yad Vashem Institute, awards the title of the Righteous Among the Nations to these non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Shoah. In Belgium, 1,742 persons have obtained that title. Their names will be displayed on the façade of the Jewish Museum on the night of 2 to 3 September. The Association also wishes to erect a wall with their names inscribed on it. An agreement in principle has been worked out with the City of Brussels, but the location has not yet been designated.
Finally, the Soviet soldiers will be honoured. The Association recalls that the Red Army was the first to arrive at Auschwitz and contributed to the fall of the third Reich.
The commemoration will close at 07.00 p.m. with a free concert at the Eglise de la Chapelle church by Hélios Azoulay and his group “Ensemble de musique incidentale”, which interprets music composed in Nazi camps.