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PUBLICATION - a Clear and Accessible Guide on the Sources of the Post-War Purges

Archives providing information on the post-war purges (the so-called 'repression') and its aftermath are not always very accessible to a layperson. On 13 September, a guide will be published, giving an overview of the archives that allow to reconstruct the individual trajectory of those who were confronted with the purges. The guide is an initiative of Ghent University, the ULB, the State Archives and CegeSoma and explains in a clear language how the different sources can be used. The guide will be presented the same day to the press at CegeSoma, in the presence of the Secretary of State of Science Policy, Zuhal Demir. The event is open to the public but spaces are limited. Registration by e-mail is mandatory.

Was Grandfather a Nazi?
Not a day goes by when CegeSoma (State Archives) does not receive a question of a descendant of a person who was confronted with the repression after the Second World War. The question can concern a conviction, a loss of rights as a consequence of the civil purge, an internment… Often, descendants have only a vague notion or even a completely wrong idea about what happened to (grand)father, (grand)mother, (grand)uncle and why this confrontation took place.

A Maze for the Layperson
In case of a conviction, the judicial files are the most appropriate source. As a rule however, they are not accessible to descendants. A lot of information on persons suspected of or convicted for collaboration after 1944 can also be found in other archives of government institutions (prisons, courts of first instance, consultative commissions, commissions responsible for administrative purges). These archives are kept in the repositories of the State Archives or in provincial or communal archives. To find one's way to (and in) these archives is not easy.

A Guide in a Clear Language for a Wide Public
At the initiative of Dr. Koen Aerts (Ghent University), experts of the State Archives, CegeSoma and Prof. Pieter Lagrou (ULB) have joined forces to write an easy-to-use guide which gives an overview of all relevant archives and which helps the layperson find the way to the right archive. Each source corresponds to a separate mention in which archivists and historians explain what information is available and how the source can be used for personal research.

Dealing with the Myths on Collaboration and Repression
The first part of the book proposes an introduction to the repression to the non-specialist reader, in which the different penalties are listed and the juridical procedures are explained in a clear language based on the most recent historical research. This synthesis will hopefully contribute to dispel a number of myths on collaboration and repression.

Presentation on 13 September
The book is published in Dutch and French by Lannoo/Racine and will be presented on 13 September at CegeSoma, in the presence of the State Secretary for Science Policy, Zuhal Demir.

The publication is for sale (24,99€ - postal charges offered) at CegeSoma or can be ordered via CegeSoma.


Papy était-il un Nazi ? Sur les traces d'un passé de guerre [Koen Aerts, Dirk Luyten, Bart Willems, Paul Droossens & Pieter Lagrou], Racine, Bruxelles, 2017 (ISBN : 9789401445979).


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04 / 9 / 2017