Archives of Charles Gillis

  • Access and consultation: The fonds Charles Gillis can be accessed during the opening hours of the reading room. Its content is freely accessible. Reservation.
  • Reproduction:  The content of the fonds can be reproduced freely in our reading room. For any information about requests for a document reproduction carried out by CegeSoma staff can be found here.
  • Research instruments: Inventory AA 708

Archive fonds description:

Papers of Charles Gillis de Sart-Tilman

The archives contained in the fonds Charles Gillis mainly bear on his activities between 1930 and 1940. They provide a gateway to the history of the different right-wing and far-right groups that emerged across Belgium in the 1930s, in particular in Brussels. The documents enable detailed research into the composition and activities of the local section of the Rex party in Saint-Josse. Finally, the shed light on the motivations and actions of anti-freemason groups. The files with press clippings meticulously put together around issues of national defence, in particular military air defence security constitute tools for a direct study of these issues.

Charles Gillis was born in 1897 as son of future major general Lucien Gillis de Sart-Tilman. In 1914, he volunteered in the war, at the end of which he was aviation observation officer. After the war, he finished his studies at the Military Academy and at ULB from which he graduated as civil engineer and aeronautic constructions engineer. In 1929, he also obtained his police license.

In 1931, Charles Gillis got promoted to major and in 1933, he became commander of the Groupe de Fabrication des Etablissements Aéronautiques in Evere. Disputes rose between him and his superiors about aviation security. Furthermore, his command got questioned. He therefore was compulsorily retired in 1935.

Afterwards, Charles Gillis engaged in politics under different banners leading him from the Union Belge d’Action Corporative to the Parti National Indépendant and finally to the Rex party. He was member of the party leadership of U.B.A.C. and P.N.I., before becoming head of the Saint-Josse section of Rex in late 1938. He was Rex candidate for the elections in 1936 and 1938.

In parallel to his political action, Charles Gillis also developed anti-freemasonry activities in collaboration with Dr Ouwerx. He closely follows issues related to national defense, in particular those about aviation. He broke with Rex and took part in the resistance during the occupation.

Charles Gillis died in Uccle on 10 August 1977. He was Commander of the Order of Leopold II, awarded the Croix de Guerre with palms, the Croix de l’Yser and the Médaille de la Résistance.

For more information :

  • Frans van Kalken, Entre deux guerres: esquisse de la vie politique en Belgique de 1918 à 1940, Bruxelles, Office de publicité, coll.« Institut de sociologie Solvay », 1944.
  • Els Witte, Alain Meynen et Dirk Luyten, Politieke geschiedenis van Belgïe: van 1830 tot heden, Antwerpen, Manteau, 2016.