During an official two-day visit to Germany the Belgian King and Queen visited what remains of the Buchenwald concentration camp, not far from Weimar. The royal couple paid homage to the more than 4,200 Belgians detained there during the Second World War.
The royals visited the camp, including the crematorium, accompanied by the minister-president of the German-speaking community Oliver Paasch. They then laid a wreath in commemoration of the victims and were present at the handing over at the Buchenwald Fondation of prison clothes worn by the Belgian baron André Simonart.
Simonart, a professor of pharmacology, was incarcerated in the fortress of Breendonck before being deported to Buchenwald. At the end of the war, he became president of the Breendonk Fortress Museum. His family had for a long time wished to donate his prisoner’s garb to the Buchenwald Foundation. This royal visit was the chance to do so.
Baron André Simonart was one of more than 4,200 Belgians detained in Buchenwald or one of its satellite camps between 1940 and 1945. More than 500 Belgians died there.
The Brussels Times