Archives of Gérard Romsée

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Evrard Raskin. Research Archives. Gérard Romsée

Gérard Romsée was born on 11 October 1901 in Guigoven, in the south of the province Limbourg. His parents were French-speaking bourgeois and radical Catholics. In the course of his secondary school education, G. Romsée became a Flemish nationalist, which would later lead him to play a significant role in the student protests at Université Catholique de Louvain (1924-1925). He then became a lawyer.

In 1929, he was elected to the Chamber of Representatives as a Flemish nationalist from the electoral constituency of Tongeren - Maaseik. He would hod his seat until 1940.

During the Second World War, while the country was occupied by Nazi troops, Gérard Romsée would become guilty of what was coined “politics of the lesser evil”, today known as “policy of accommodation”. He was appointed as Commissioner for repatriation of Belgian refugees in France, as Governor of Limbourg and then as Secretary-General of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Health – a position which he would hold until the liberation of the country. Being ranked right below the high German Military Administration, he was in fact the most powerful man in the country. He used this power to introduce a series of reforms and significantly contributed to the seizure of power by the Flemish nationalists. At least until June 1943, he was in close contact with the Belgian Royal Court, more precisely with with Robert Capelle, Secretary of Leopold III. However, the latter would not denunciate the leadership of Romsée.

When Belgium was liberated, Gérard Romsée fled the country but returned in 1945. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison and to compensations by way of damages and interest to the amount of 10,000,000 Belgian Francs. He was released from prison in 1951 and would not take part in public life anymore. He died on 14 April 1976 in Woluwé-Saint-Pierre.

The fonds contains the research archives of Evrard Raskin about Gérard Romsée. Evrard Raskin is a professor in history. He was a member of the bar, a magistrate, and member of the Chamber of Representatives during 11 years. He also authored books and many articles for different journals. In 1980, he published his political memoirs.

For more information :

  • De Wever, Bruno. Greep Naar de Macht: Vlaams-Nationalisme En Nieuwe Orde: Het VNV, 1933-1945. Tielt - Gent: Lannoo - Perspectief, 1994.
  • Wouters, Nico. De Führerstaat: Overheid En Collaboratie in België (1940-1944). Tielt: Lannoo, 2006.
  • Wouters, Nico. Oorlogsburgemeesters 40/44: Lokaal Bestuur En Collaboratie in België. Tielt: Lannoo, 2004.
  • Raskin, Evrard. Gerard Romsée: Een Ongewone Man, Een Ongewoon Leven. Antwerpen: Hadewijch, 1995.
  • Wouters, Nico. "Romsée, Gerard". In Nieuwe Encyclopedie van de Vlaamse Beweging, 2648–50. Tielt: Lannoo, 1998.
  • De Lentdekker, Louis. Het proces Romsee, secretaris-generaal van binnenlandse zaken. Antwerpen: Uitgaven Luctor, 1950.
  • Van der Elst, Frans. Mr. Gerard Romsee 1901-1976. Berchem: Peeters, 1976.
  • Wouters, Nico. Romsée Gerard, BelgiumWWII.