Belgium complicit in WWII Holocaust persecution: report

[JURIST] The Belgian government was complicit in Nazi persecution of the Jewish population during the Holocaust and the country's courts failed to hold Belgian authorities accountable for persecuting and deporting Jews after World War II, according to a government-supported report that was presented to the Belgian parliament on Tuesday. According to the report [PDF introduction and conclusion, in French], titled "Submissive Belgium," the Belgian government fled to Britain in 1940 before the country fell to the invading Germans, and the civil servants left behind were often complicit in rounding up Jews for deportation to Auschwitz and other concentration camps. The study said the exiled government never declared these policies unconstitutional. The report noted that of 50,000 Jews living in Belgium [CIA country profile; BBC profile] before the war, approximately half died in the Holocaust. The European Jewish Congress estimates [EJC materials] that 100,000 Jews lived in Belgium before WWII, and that "25,631 Jews were assembled in the transit camp in Mechelen (Malines) and were deported to death camps."

The Belgian government created the research team [official backgrounder] by decree [text, in French] in May 2003 to establish "the facts and possible responsibilities of the Belgian authorities in the persecution and the deportation of the Jews in Belgium during the Second World War." AP has more. Haaretz has additional coverage.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.