During World War II, some 15,000 people engaged in the Resistance against the occupying forces in Belgium lost their lives. These men and women have almost all been forgotten. That is why a 48-hour reading marathon of the names of resistance fighters who died in 1940-1945 will be organized on the occasion of May 8, the anniversary of the victory over Nazism. CegeSoma is contributing greatly to this initiative.
The reading of approximately 8,000 names will take place between Saturday, May 6 at 6:00 p.m. and Monday, May 8 at 8:30 p.m. The event will take place at the fort of Breendonk, which was used by the Sipo-SD (the "Gestapo") as an Auffanglager ("reception camp") for resistance fighters and other suspected opponents of the regime, and is thus an emblematic place of Nazi oppression in occupied Belgium. The reading will be broadcasted live via Facebook.
The event is organized by the non-profit organization Helden van het Verzet [Heroes of the Resistance] in the framework of the program Vrij op 8 mei [Free on May 8]. CegeSoma is making an essential contribution to this project, since most of the names, surnames, dates of birth, places and dates of death that will be published during these 48 hours come from the databases developed within the Wikibase Resistance project. This project aims to collect and publish information from the personal files of resistance fighters kept at CegeSoma, the Archives Service for War Victims and at the State Archives Belgium. This database will make it possible to search through hundreds of thousands of descriptions of over 150,000 members of the Resistance, based on a name, a date of birth, a place of residence or a movement or network name. At the moment, the descriptions of more than 100,000 files, forms and index cards of resistance fighters who applied for the status of intelligence and action agent, armed resistance fighter or resistance fighter in the underground press have been entered.
In a few months, an online platform will allow anyone to trace these resistance fighters. In the meantime, feel free to contact the scientific coordinator of the project, Fabrice Maerten. He will be happy to check whether there is any file with the names of the Resistance fighters sought and, if so, will help you access the documents in question in the CegeSoma reading room.