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Welcome to CEGESOMA/State Archives of Belgium

CEGESOMA, Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Society, is the Belgian centre of excellence for the history of 20th century conflicts. It carries out research, organises public events and holds document collections. It is since 1 January 2016 the fourth Operational Directory of the State Archives. It is a platform for academic and public activities in Belgium and abroad, in particular with regard to the two World Wars.


LECTURE - Judiciary, resistance and violence in Brussels 1940-1944

 During the Second World War, the Belgian judiciary found itself in a difficult position: on one side, the occupying forces vehemently fought the resistance, whereas on the other side resistance groups violently attacked Germans and collaborators.

The magistrates working for the public prosecutor's office were faced with a dilemma: were they to hand over resistance fighters to the occupant, or should they suspend the prosecution of the perpetrators of violent attacks against collaborators - and thus leave the crimes unpunished?
Which decision did the magistrates take? Did their attitude change over time and if so, why? And how did the occupying forces react?

These questions will be discussed during the lecture on Friday the 24th of March 2017.


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IAP Project ‘Murders during the Liberation and the Belgian Judiciary: the Case of Brussels’

Multiform violence against collaborators

Everywhere in Europe, governments and citizens dealt with collaborators after the liberation in 1944-1945. This was done through legal institutional means by courts, but also in a more spontaneous and violent ways by members of resistance groups and citizens. In Belgium as well, real and alleged collaborators were taken prisoner, molested and in some cases murdered. There was also more symbolic violence: household goods were destroyed and homes were plastered with slogans. This street violence was a reaction against the many years of occupation, but it is today, and in some cases also at the time, considered unjust (and illegal). Read more...

NEW - Few changes made on our website to help you access our catalogues in an easier way

 Dear users, the MADDLAIN research project is still being finalised but the CegeSoma is already applying a few of its outcomes to better meet your digital needs. A few changes were made to help you access our catalogues in an easier way.
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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 18 May, a guide will be presented to the press, 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.

 

ACQUISITION – Archives of the Witte Brigade

 An Essential Collection for the History of the Resistance in Flanders

The Witte Brigade (Fidelio) is the only resistance movement of a national dimension founded in Flanders. Its archives have recently been donated to our institution. They are all the more precious because they cover not only the post-war but also the occupation period. Furthermore, a detailed inventory has been made which greatly facilitates accessibility. 
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The Belgian judiciary and the resistance: moral dilemma’s during the Second World War

 Jan Julia Zurné, researcher at the CegeSoma, recently defended her PhD thesis at Ghent University. She investigated how Belgian magistrates reacted when the German occupier demanded their collaboration in the repression of the resistance during the Second World War and how this effected both the magistrates and the resistance groups.
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Les "Journaux de Guerre" - Promotions

 This Series on the Second World War now at Reduced Prices  

This weekly periodical is unique in that it relates the history of the two World Wars and the interwar period through the press of these periods. Since December, the complete series or individual issues on the First World War and the interwar period can be purchased at a discount price. This price reduction now also applies to the series on the Second World War. They can be ordered via Isabelle Delvaux
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MADDLAIN - Highlights of the Study Day Inside the User’s Mind

 On 22 February 2017, the conference room in the Royal Library in Brussels was packed. Some 200 amateur and professional researchers, in charge of digitization in a heritage institution, archivists or curators of collections, were present to hear the results of the MADDLAIN research project which was carried out for two years by CegeSoma (OD4 – State Archives), the State Archives and the Royal Library. The goal? A better understanding of the practices and digital needs of their different audiences and users with the aim of developing new strategies.
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