Archives of Luc Somerhausen

  • Access and consultation: The fonds Luc Somerhausen 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 AA849

Archive fonds description:

The fonds Luc Somerhausen reflects the very prominent public action of the former resistant fighter whose name it bears. The documents stretch from the wake of the Second World War until his death. The thousands of documents the fonds contains are centered around two major issues: the defense of the interests of former fighters and war victims and the rise of communism at international level after 1945. The fond is sub-divided into two main parts: documentation collected by Somerhausen and the archives linked to his personal life. The documentation is composed of thematic files that can serve as starting point of further research. The archive is sub-divided into three parts: Somerhausen’s commitment to socialism and in particular to Marxism, the struggles of veterans and the history of the Second World War.

Luc Somerhausen was born on 26 August 1903 in Hoeilaart. At the age of 17, he became member of the Jeunes Gardes socialistes of Saint-Gilles. He graduated from ULB in Political Sciences in 1924. He then worked as a journalist at the press office of the Parti ouvrier belge (Belgian Labour Party). In 1927, he became editor in chief of the Compte rendu analytique du Sénat (Analytical proceedings of the Senate) from 1957 until his retirement on 31 December 1971.

His commitment to Parliament and and to its history transpires in his radio interventions and in a publication he penned. For some twenty years, he was the correspondant of Populaire, a French socialist journal. He also was a member of the Brussels Federation of the POB. At the time, he got interested in the history of Marxism, which translates in his writings and in his work as Belgium correspondent for the Marx-Engels Institute (Moscow). He had a passion for theatre, thanks to which he was appointed at head of Théâtre du Résidence and Théatre des Galeries.

In May 1940, Luc Somerhausen followed the Senate to Limoges. Upon his return to Brussels in August, he supported the publication of the underground press, in particular La Voix des Belges. In late 1942, he joined the intelligence services Wim. On 28 May 1943, he was arrested and emprisoned in Saint-Gilles, and later deported to the concentration camp of Esterwegen (where was one of the founders of the freemason lodge Liberté Chérie) and later Sachsenhausen, from which he was liberated in spring 1945.

Luc Somerhausen joined the Communst Party in early 1948. In May 1947, he was appointed as president of the Brussels regional branch of the political prisoners’ association “Confédération nationale des Prisonniers politiques et Ayants-Droit” (CNPPA) and and became national vice-president of the association. In this function, he also was in charge of political prisoners. At the CNPPA, he was in charge of major campaigns during the Cold War, leading to the split of the organisation in December 1951. He progressively became ad odds with the Party leadership. He eventually got expelled from the party in 1954, but did not sever all of his communist ties however. Indeed, In Novembre 1954, Luc Somerhausen was elected at the Bureau de la Fédération internationale des Résistants (FIR).

In January 1953, Luc Somerhausen published the Bulletin d’Information de la Régionale de Bruxelles de la CNPPA, which became the Bulletin d’Information des Prisonniers politiques, Résistants et Combattants in June 1953 (published 871 times until late February 1980). On 6 April 1957, he resiegned as Secretary of the Bureau and member of the General Council, and as President of the Belgian Committee of FIR.

On 3 July 1961 the former resistant was appointed at the “Conseil supérieur des œuvres nationales des Victimes de la Guerre” and became a member of the Bureau Permanent a few years later, and then substitute president in December 1968 until the organisation was disbanded in 1981. HE held a seat at the newly created “Conseil supérieur des Invalides de Guerre, Anciens Combattants et Victimes de Guerre” in 1982. He also pleaded for the recognition of the pathology of the concentration camp syndrome and pour free healthcare and pharmaceutical care for people disabled by the war. He also was a member of the “Commission d’Appel des Pensions de Réparation pour Prisonniers politiques” from March 1974 until December 1981.

Somerhausen always stayed in contact with political prisoners. Ideed, from June 1964 until June 1981, he was president of the Belgian association of Sachsenhausen prisoners. He was also member of the “Comité de Contact des Associations patriotiques”, in the early 1960s, where he represented the “Union des Services de Renseignement et d’Action”. As such he became a member in March 1966 of the historical commission pushing the government to establish an institution for the study of the Second World War in Belgium, which led to the creation of the “Centre de Recherches et d’Etudes historiques de la Seconde Guerre mondiale” (CEGES). Somerhausen was a member of the scientific committee of the institution which gathered for the first time on 18 April 1968. As a member of the Bureau right from its creation, in April 1970, he became vice-president of the institution on 1st September 1979. He held this office until his death on 5 April 1982 (Ixelles).

For more information :

  • Gotovitch José, Du rouge au tricolore. Les communistes belges de 1939-1944. Un aspect de l’histoire de la Résistance en Belgique, Bruxelles : 1992.

  • Le livre d’or de la résistance en Belgique, Bruxelles : M.D.N., 1948.