Share article:
Share article:

New World War II monument inaugurated near Antwerp

© Belga

A new monument in honour of victims of World War II concentration camps and resistance heroes was inaugurated on Sunday at Fort Breendonk, in Willebroek, Antwerp Province.

The “Ode to the Resistance” monument by artist Tom Fransen shows a large boot, symbolizing oppression, under which there are images of women, children, resistance fighters and a man releasing a dove. It stands at the entrance to Fort Breendonk, which the Nazis used as a prison camp during World War II.

Fort Brendonk and Bastogne Barracks served as transit camps for about 3,600 political dissidents, resistance fighters and Jews. Half of them would not survive the war.

The monument was created at the initiative of the Confédération nationale des prisonniers politiques et ayants-droit (CNPPA – National Confederation of Political Prisoners and their Heirs).

Sunday’s ceremony, which was attended by a representative of the King of Belgium, was addressed by Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder, CNPPA President Edmond Eycken and the Chairman of the Board of the War Heritage Institute, Koen Palinckx.

“We have here today people with various titles and functions,” said Ms. Dedonder, “but we are people, above all.”

“For years, attempts were made on this historic site to strip the prisoners of their humanity, but we shall never forget their names,” she stated.

In his book “1942, The year of silence”, historian Herman Van Goethem, rector of Antwerp University and a former director of Kazerne Dossin, the Holocaust and Human Rights Museum in Mechelen, describes events in Antwerp during 1942, where the local administration cooperated with Nazi occupation force.

A gradual and all the more violent segregation process resulted in the deportations of 25,250 Jews and 352 Roma from Belgium, in 26 train transports from former military barracks in Mechelen to the death camp in Auschwitz. The last one was on 31 July 1944, just days before the liberation of Belgium.

The Brussels Times

Latest news

More women take police selection tests in Belgium
The selection tests to become a police inspector have more and more female participants, according to figures released by Interior Affairs Minister ...
‘Absurd’: all Brussels schools should have the same Covid rules
Several city councillors for education in Brussels are calling to abolish the "absurd" differences in coronavirus measures for Dutch-speaking and ...
Massive renovations for iconic venue in the heart of Brussels
Brussels concert hall Ancienne Belgique has announced plans to renovate the AB Café and the AB Salon and is looking for a contractor fit for the job. ...
Display of child’s room in Brussels raises awareness of foster families
An exhibit that features a fictitious child’s bedroom has been on display since Tuesday at the Place d'Armes in Namur, with the support of the ...
Test results show pupils have fallen behind in Flemish schools
Learning delays have been reported in almost all subject areas in Flanders since the start of the pandemic, a trend that continued in 2021, a ...
Belgium considers relaxing testing rules for UK travellers
At the next Consultative Committee meeting, Belgium will look into relaxing the testing and entry policy for travellers coming from the United ...
Jette libraries start giving plants away with books
Visitors to libraries in the Brussels municipality of Jette will soon be able to pick up a free plant along with a book, thanks to the new Plantotek ...
‘Do what you want, but do it as safely as possible,’ experts warn
As the daily number of new coronavirus infections exceeds 3,000 for the first time since May, infectious disease expert Erika Vlieghe and ...
‘We’re running dry’: Brussels teacher shortage reaches critical levels
The teacher shortage in Brussels is affecting schools across language borders, according to Brussels’ Minister for Multilingualism and Dutch ...
New coronavirus infections above 3,000 for first time since May
The number of people testing positive for coronavirus has skyrocketed to the highest rate since the start of May 2021. Between 9 and 15 October, ...
Belgium in Brief: Getting To The Airport
When I saw the news of plans for a tram line and cycle path to connect Brussels' outskirts to the airport, my first reaction was sheer joy.  Let ...
EU should invest €5 trillion in climate plan, says State Secretary for Economic Recovery
The European Union must invest €5 trillion in its climate plan over the next decade to "retain its credibility as a political project," according ...