The resistance included both men and women from both Walloon and … [8][10], Among the first members of the Belgian resistance were former soldiers, and in particular officers, who, on their return from prisoner of war camps, wished to continue the fight against the Germans out of patriotism. The Belgian army wasn’t a match against the German onslaught and received one hammer blow after the other. Media related to Belgian resistance at Wikimedia Commons, "Though they shared a common opposition to German rule, these [resistance] groups were in other respects divided by organizational rivalries, by competition for Allied support, and by their tactics and political affiliations. [12], The German Geheime Staatspolizei ("Secret state police"), known as the Gestapo, was responsible for targeting resistance groups in Belgium. 1,680 later died in captivity, but over 160,000 others, mostly Flemish, were gradually released in the context of Hitler’s pan-Germanic policy. In May 1944, the government-in-exile attempted to rebuild its relationship with the resistance by establishing a "Coordination Committee" of representatives of the major groups, including the Légion Belge, Mouvement National Belge, Groupe G and the Front de l'Indépendance. The Belgian government in exile made its first call for the creation of organized resistance in the country from its first place of exile in Bordeaux, before its flight to London after the French surrender: We trust fully in the power of Britain to deliver us from German bondage ... We claim the right to share in the burden and honour of this fight in the measure of our modest but not altogether negligible resources We are not defeatists ... We will have nothing to do with those faint-hearted countrymen of ours, who, despairing of the victory of the allied cause, would be willing to come to terms with the invader. ", "Greet them [the Jews] in passing! The ‘Legion Belge’ became the ‘Armée Secrète’ and its first task was to raise 50,000 people who would come under the command of the Allies when required. Active and Passive Resistance Leopold III, king and commander-in-chief of the army, also surrendered to the Germans on 28 May along with his army and was also held prisoner by the Germans. Belgium [BEL] For prisoner of war, resistance fighters and deportees; For prisoner of war, resistance fighters and deportees. [61] Individuals were accorded military rank equivalent to their status in the movement during the war, entitling them to title and other privileges. Indeed, to consider the Resistance, as the term suggests, as a unitary phenomenon is in many respects misleading. [12] The German failure to invade Great Britain, coupled with aggravating German policies within occupied Belgium, especially the persecution of Belgian Jews and conscription of Belgian civilians into forced labour programmes increasingly turned patriotic Belgian civilians from liberal or Catholic backgrounds against the German regime and towards the resistance. ho Show More Show Less 2 … [50] Nevertheless, the resistance was frequently reliant on finance and drops of equipment and supplies which both the government-in-exile and the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) were able to provide. [15], The most widespread form of resistance in occupied Belgium was non-violent. ... the French Resistance and Virginia was personally responsible for saving the lives of 65 Allied airmen shot down over Belgium & France. Resistance fighters who were captured could expect to be interrogated, tortured and either summarily executed or sent to a concentration camp. The boy Jean Benoit finds the wounded pilot and brings him to the house of Claire and Henri Daussois that belong to the Maquis Resistance. On September 2, a group of Resistance fighters gathered near the town of Grenoble to execute a half-dozen Nazi collaborators who had worked for the Milice — the despised Vichy police. [37] In total, 30,000 members of the resistance were captured during the war, of whom 16,000 were executed or died in captivity. The Anschluss was realized and also the Sudetenland was annexed. After they were caught … [43], In total, 1,612 Belgians have been awarded the distinction of "Righteous Among the Nations" by the State of Israel for risking their lives to save Jews from persecution during the occupation. 1945. In the previous year, they managed to publish 100,000 fake copies of ‘Le Soir’ – a newspaper controlled by the Germans. The continuing actions of the resistance stopped the Germans ever being able to use the country as a secure base, never fully becoming pacified. [14] The Allies were also deeply reliant on the resistance to provide intelligence from the occupied country. As for the three young Belgian Resistance members who stopped the train, Youra Livschitz was captured later and executed. Of the 23 Fiat biplanes, about 14 were destroyed. [15] Around 70 percent of underground newspapers were in French, while 60 percent of political prisoners were Walloon. Across Belgium, 20,000 German soldiers (including two generals) were taken prisoner by the resistance, before being handed over to the Allies. Belgian resistance fighters also attacked offices containing names and addresses of Jews in Belgium, setting fire to papers used by the Gestapo to round up individuals. However, all resistance movements in Belgium, however big or small, were concerned with civil resistance, intelligence gathering, sabotage and helping POW’s to escape. On 16 January 1944, a reconnaissance pilot survives a plane crash in Delahaut in the Nazi occupied Belgium. Flying Officer John Matthews was a keen sportsman, appearing in teams at the Magnus School, and worked as a postman. On that same day the Belgian government sent a telegram to the imprisoned Belgian king, stating their resignation to the king. 50,000 copies of the spoof publication, dubbed the "Faux Soir" (or "Fake Soir"), were distributed. more war monthly and history of second world war categorized in my ebay store. After 18 days of hostilities, the Belgian army surrendered. The second most important resistance movement in Belgium was the ‘Front de l’Indépendence’. [55], The Belgian resistance was praised by contemporaries for its contribution to the Allied war effort; particularly during the later period. They were sold as real ones at news stands throughout the country. [23] However, there were also other groups like Groupe G which, though without an obvious political affiliation, recruited only from very specific demographics. The Belgian Resistance (French: Résistance belge, Dutch: Belgisch verzet) collectively refers to the resistance movements opposed to the German occupation of Belgium during World War II.Within Belgium, resistance was fragmented between a large number of separate organizations, divided by region and political stances. The Belgian Resistance (French: Résistance belge, Dutch: Belgisch verzet) collectively refers to the resistance movements opposed to the German occupation of Belgium during World War II. [33] The papers achieved considerable circulation, with La Libre Belgique reaching a regular circulation of 40,000 by January 1942 and peaking at 70,000, while the Communist paper, Le Drapeau Rouge, reached 30,000. 15 October 2007, BRUSSELS - A Belgium resistance fighter of World War II, Andree De Jongh, who founded a group that saved some 800 Allied aviators, has died at the age of 91, according to her family cited by the press Sunday. Armed resistance, in the forms of sabotage or assassinations, took place, but was only part of the "active" resistance's scope of activity. [7], Active resistance within Belgium developed from early 1941 and took several directions. The danger of infiltration posed by German informants meant that some cells were extremely small and localized. [29] Foremost among these was the Courcelles Massacre, a reprisal by Rexist paramilitaries for the assassination of a Burgomaster, in which 20 civilians were killed. [20], Belgium's strategic location meant that it constituted an important supply hub for the whole German army in Northern Europe and particularly northern France. 2,000 resistance members involved in un… The Service D group, for example, had many members in the national postal service and used them to intercept letters of denunciation, warning the denounced person to flee. During the fighting, between 600,000[4] and 650,000[5] Belgian men (nearly 20 percent of the country's male population)[6] served in the military. Of its 600,000 soldiers, 225,000 were taken prisoner. [62] Today the role of the resistance during the conflict is commemorated by memorials, plaques and road names across the country,[63] as well as by the National Museum of the Resistance in Anderlecht. On July 25, 1942, Jewish resisters attacked and burned the files of the organization that the Nazis had forced on the Jews of Belgium. [32] Since they were usually free, the costs of printing were financed by donations from sympathisers. Belgium was conquered by Nazi Germany in May 1940. [39] Other notable networks were "Luc" (renamed "Marc" in 1942) and "Zéro". During the war, it is estimated that approximately five percent of the national population were involved in some form of resistance activity,[2] while some estimates put the number of resistance members killed at over 19,000; roughly 25 percent of its "active" members. Sabotage was therefore an important duty of the resistance. [57] As the crowds moved towards the Parliament, British soldiers fired on the crowd, which they suspected to be trying to make left-wing coup d'état. In Belgium, a combined Jewish and non-Jewish resistance unit (also named "Solidarité") derailed a deportation train in April 1943. Factories came to a standstill and it is estimated that this one action cost the Germans the equivalent of 10 million man hours of work. [18] Future large-scale strikes were repressed by the Germans, although further important strikes occurred in November 1942 and February 1943. British records from 1942 show that 80% of the intelligence gathered by all resistance movements in all occupied countries in that year came from Belgium. [20] It is estimated that approximately five percent of the national population were involved in some form of "active" resistance during the war. Resistance in Belgium in World War Two. However, the Belgian  government in exile based in London distrusted the long term motives of ‘Legion Belge’ as they believed that this movement did not want the exiled royal family back once the war had ended. All of them also had their own clandestine printing presses as well. Between June and September alone, 95 railroad bridges, 285 locomotives, 1,365 wagons and 17 tunnels were all blown up by the Belgian resistance. At Schaffen all but one of the 11 Hawker Hurricane fighters were wiped out, while the squadron of 15 Gladiators lost about six aircraft. [53][54] The resistance was particularly important during the liberation of the city of Antwerp, where the local resistance from the Witte Brigade and Nationale Koninklijke Beweging, in an unprecedented display of inter-group cooperation,[55] assisted British and Canadian forces in capturing the highly strategic port of Antwerp intact, before it could be sabotaged by the German garrison. [53] In April 1944, the Armée Secrète began to adopt an official rank hierarchy and uniform (of white overalls and armband) to be worn on missions in order to give their organization the status of an "official army". Monument shows Polish resistance fight Major General Comte Albert-Marie Edmond Guérisse GC, KBE, DSO (5 April 1911 – 26 March 1989) was a Belgian Resistance member who organized escape routes for downed Allied pilots during World War II under the alias of Patrick Albert "Pat" O'Leary, the name of a Canadian friend. [17], Striking was the most common form of passive resistance and often took place on symbolic dates, such as the 10 May (anniversary of the German invasion), 21 July (National Day) and 11 November (anniversary of the German surrender in World War I). Historic overview of the Belgian Resistance escape services Second lieutenant Arthur J. Horning was a navigator aboard a B-17 (401 Squadron, 91st Bomb Group). [2] During the First World War, Belgium had been occupied by Germany for four years and had developed an effective network of resistance, which provided key inspiration for the formation of similar groups in 1940. The German Geheime Staatspolizei ("Secret state police"), known as the Gestapo, was responsible for targeting resistance groups in Belgium. [19], Membership of the active resistance, which had been quite low in the early years of the resistance, swelled exponentially during 1944 as it was joined by so-called "resisters of the eleventh hour" (résistants de la onzième heure) who could see that Allied victory was close, particularly in the months after D-Day. SOE recommended that the two should be split with some transmitters being used solely for intelligence transmissions and some being used solely for operational matters. [45], The Germans requisitioned the former Belgian army Fort Breendonk, near Mechelen, which was used for torture and interrogation of political prisoners and members of the resistance. [28], Assassination of key figures in the hierarchy of German and collaborationist hierarchy became increasingly common through 1944. [51] Radio contact was briefly established in late 1941, however, the contact was extremely intermittent between 1942 and 1943, with a permanent radio connection to the Armée Secrète (codenamed "Stanley") only established in 1944.[51]. In the thirties of the 20th century Central Europa came increasingly under influence of Germany. Directed by Todd Komarnicki. Some of the Belgian railway staff were also working for the resistance. [1], Though they usually lacked the equipment and training to fight the Wehrmacht openly, the resistance played a key role in assisting the Allies during the liberation of Belgium in September 1944, providing information on German troop movements, disrupting German evacuation plans and participating in fighting. Resistance Fighters (Alphabetically - for an overview of all members of The Black Hand: see related project) B. Medal de la Resistance Armee 1940 - 1945 (Belgian Medal of the Armed Resistance 1940-1945) awarded to Menachem Konkowksi, a Jewish resistance fighter in Belgium, during the German occupation. They were dropped here on 14 September 1944. Ironically, there were probably too many of them in a country as small as Belgium and it increased the chance of them being compromised by the Gestapo. Resistance, also called Underground, in European history, any of various secret and clandestine groups that sprang up throughout German-occupied Europe during World War II to oppose Nazi rule. At its peak, the clandestine newspaper La Libre Belgique was relaying news within five to six days; faster than the BBC's French-language radio broadcasts, whose coverage lagged several months behind events. By offering a heroic dimension to the painful experience of the occupation, shared by the vast majority of the population, the tribute to their sacrifice facilitated the integration of this episode into the national narrative. ... Stirrings of Resistance. By early 1944, the resistance movements were printing over 300 clandestine newspapers that circulated all over Belgium. The German Geheime Staatspolizei ("Secret state police"), known as the Gestapo, was responsible for targeting resistance groups in Belgium. [18] News of the strike spread rapidly and soon at least 70,000 workers came out on strike across the province of Liège. The address was broadcast from London by the BBC on June 18, 1940, with permission from Winston Churchill. This is the tragic story of a Newark-born airman who helped supply resistance fighters in occupied France, Holland and Belgium, flying with the top secret 138 Squadron on behalf of the Special Operations Executive. Z. [2] The danger of infiltration posed by German informants[21] meant that some cells were extremely small and localized, and although nationwide groups did exist, they were split along political and ideological lines. Face value. The resistance's aim, assisted by the British MI9 organization, was to escort them out of occupied Europe and over the Pyrenees to neutral Spain where they might return to England. [14] The Line not only fed, housed, and provided civilian clothing for the pilots, but also forged Belgian and French identity cards and rail fares. [17] Certain high-profile members of the Belgian establishment, including Queen Elizabeth and Cardinal van Roey, Archbishop of Malines, spoke out against the German treatment of Jews. [7] On 18 June the Belgian Government fled and arrived first in Bordeaux, France after the French government had fled to the region three days earlier. After an 18 day campaign the Belgian king Leopold decided to lay down arms. In the summer of 1940, many cheminots (railroad workers) engaged in impromptu resistance by helping French soldiers wishing to continue the struggle together with British, Belgian and Polish soldiers stranded in France escape from the occupied zone into the unoccupied zone or Spain. Many were made prisoners of war and detained in camps in Germany, although some were released before the end of the war. The rest of the Wehrmacht force committed to "the overrunning of the West" executed the Manstein Plan through Belgium and the Ardennes Forest. Protest against the barbaric measures that are being applied to them. Managed by Caboodle UX design studio in London, Citation: C N Trueman "The Belgian Resistance". The unconditional capit… In July 1944, the Légion Belge assassinated the brother of Léon Degrelle, head of the collaborationist Rexist Party and leading Belgian fascist. This movement was given the task of co-ordinating civil resistance. That'll make the, Medals awarded after the war to members of the armed (, Relations with the Allies and Belgian government in exile, Both resistance members (left) wear the black and white overalls and armband adopted by the, Henri Bernard's estimate puts resistance casualties at 19,048 of around 70,000 active members. [57] On 25 November, a large demonstration of former resistance members took place in Brussels. While this may have been a fair criticism, it also failed to accept the fact that SOE had to deal with a great number of resistance movements in all of occupied Europe. Three days later the Belgian government stripped his ministerial title in reaction to the speech. [14] The Belgian resistance provided around 80 percent of all information received by the Allies from all resistance groups in Europe. In November 1943, on the anniversary of the German surrender in the First World War, the Front de l'Indépendance group published a spoof edition of the collaborationist newspaper Le Soir, satirizing the Axis propaganda and biased information permitted by the censors, which was then distributed to newsstands across Brussels and deliberately mixed with official copies of the newspaper. This advice was never heeded and several of the resistance cells were caught as a result – and paid the price. Offer them your seat on the tram! The main criticism was that SOE was not giving them enough supplies. Jews were also active in the Dutch and Italian underground movements. [55], All together, almost 4,000 members of the Armée Secrète alone were killed during the liberation. [27] Through its sabotage activities alone, one resistance group, Groupe G, required the Germans to expend between 20 and 25 million man-hours of labour on repairing damage done, including ten million in the night of 15–16 January 1944 alone. [b] There was also significant low-level resistance: for instance, in June 1941, the City Council of Brussels refused to distribute Stars of David badges. This led to friction between the Belgian government in exile and SOE which wanted to encourage the work done by ‘Legion Belge’.eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'historylearningsite_co_uk-medrectangle-4','ezslot_2',114,'0','0'])); A settlement between the Belgian government in exile and ‘Legion Belge’ was reached by July 1943 when it was given not only a constitution of its rights but also a specific set of instructions on what was expected of it. perfect for the ww2 history buff. [38], Intelligence gathering was one of the first forms of resistance to grow after the Belgian defeat and eventually developed into complex and carefully structured organizations. [37], The resistance also printed humorous publications and material as propaganda. Elsewhere in Belgium it spent a great deal of its time gathering intelligence and passing it onto the British. The Germans enacted anti-Jewish legislation to persecute the Jewish population. All of them throughout occupied Europe probably felt that they needed more than SOE could supply if they were to be effective in what they did. The best-known of these networks, the Comet Line, organized by Andrée de Jongh, involved some 2,000 resistance members and was able to escort 700 Allied airmen to Spain. [57] 45 people were wounded. Belgium also was involved: on May 10th 1940 Belgium’s neutrality was violated. [35] The number of Belgians involved in the underground press is estimated at anywhere up to 40,000 people. Three days later, the entire Netherlands was occupied by Nazi Germany. The Gestapo was effective at using informants within groups to betray whole local resistance network and in examining resistance publications for clues about its place of production. [57], Nevertheless, large numbers of former members of the resistance enlisted into the regular army, where they formed around 80% of the strength of the Belgian Fusilier Battalions which served on the Western Front until VE Day. [47] Around 300 people were killed in the camp itself, with at least 98 of them dying from deprivation or torture. Some groups had very specific forms of resistance and became extremely specialized. [14] Each network was closely organized and carried a codename. In particular, the government feared the organizations would degenerate into armed political militias which could threaten the country's political stability. 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