Reports of Propaganda-Abteilung about Belgium

Reports of the Propaganda-Abteilung about Belgium

The Propaganda-Abteilung Belgien was the main Nazi propaganda organisation in occupied Belgium, established at the same time, in late May 1940, as the German military administration of which it was part. It remained under the authority of the Wehrmacht until the institution of the Zivilverwaltung in July 1944. Then for a few weeks, it was placed under the command of the Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda of Joseph Goebbels. It was headquartered in Brussels, with branch offices in Antwerp, Charleroi, Ghent and Liège.

The activity reports available below were sent by the Brussels directorate to the Army High Command in Berlin. They were assembled in the archives of the German army in Potsdam and recovered by the Allies after the war. The original records now conserved at CegeSoma (AA 570) were first transferred by the Allies to the Chief military prosecution service (Auditoraat-generaal/Auditorat-général) in the years following the conflict, then handed over by this judicial body to the future CegeSoma in 1973. The records initially accessible on microfilm (the last three series below) originate from copies made in 1959 by the American National Archives as part of a massive microfilming campaign of German Nazi archives which were then held by the Americans and have since been restituted to Germany.
Right from the creation of the future CegeSoma in 1969, its founders set about searching through these thousands of microfilms from the German Records microfilmed at Alexandria (GRMA) in order to find those concerning Belgium and obtain copies of them. Most of these copies, including those of records from series T of the GRMA concerning the archives of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) were delivered to the future CegeSoma in 1971. As explained below, the activity reports of the Propaganda-Abteilung Belgien are contained  in rolls 982, 983 and 1034 of series T.

The common origin of these two sets of records (from the Chief military prosecution service and the GRMA) explains why their contents are so similar. Thus, all the original reports conserved by CegeSoma are also found in the copies of microfilms produced in the United States and offering a richer collection. However, we wanted to make the archival holding AA 570 digitally accessible because it contains almost complete reports dating from 15 December 1940 to 15 December 1941 which are presented separately and thus easy to identify.

This is not the case for the available reports in series T of the GRMA, because they are, at best, found end-to-end on parts of microfilm rolls and sometimes even isolated among other documents that have nothing to do with Propaganda-Abteilung Belgien whatsoever. That said, when adding the numerous reports contained in roll 982 to those in rolls 983 and 1034, we have an exhaustive body of usually fortnightly reports dating from August 1940 to February 1942, and of reports that more specifically bear on the Belgian public opinion dating from 10 March to 9 June 1942. There exists indeed no series more complete than this, not even at the Bundesarchiv in Freiburg, where the originals are conserved.

This makes accessible a particularly rich source for the first two years of the war, dealing with the perception of the Belgian public opinion by the occupier and the way in which German propaganda controlled the press, radio, cinema and culture in occupied Belgium.

Below you will find the digital versions of the reports of the Propaganda-Abteilung concerning Belgium kept by CegeSoma and having the following references:

Reports of the Propaganda-Abteilung Belgien ("Propagandalage- und Tätigkeitsberichte; Jahresbericht"), 1940-1941. - 5 folders : ron., ph, dact., AA 570.

547_0000_AA0570_00001 - 547_0000_AA0570_00002 - 547_0000_AA0570_00003 - 547_0000_AA0570_00004
547_0000_AA0570_00005 - 547_0000_AA0570_00006 - 547_0000_AA0570_00007 - 547_0000_AA0570_00008
547_0000_AA0570_00009 - 547_0000_AA0570_000010 - 547_0000_AA0570_000011 - 547_0000_AA0570_000012
547_0000_AA0570_000013 - 547_0000_AA0570_000014 - 547_0000_AA0570_000015 - 547_0000_AA0570_000016
547_0000_AA0570_000017 - 547_0000_AA0570_000018 - 547_0000_AA0570_000019 - 547_0000_AA0570_000020
547_0000_AA0570_000021 - 547_0000_AA0570_000022 - 547_0000_AA0570_000023 - 547_0000_AA0570_000024

Documents from the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht and its services in Belgium, 1937-1944. – microfilms. rolls 982, 983 and 1034. AA MIC T 77/982, AA MIC T 77/983, AA MIC T 77/1034.

AA MIC T 77/982

547_0000_AAMICT77_00982_001 - 547_0000_AAMICT77_00982_002 - 547_0000_AAMICT77_00982_003 547_0000_AAMICT77_00982_004547_0000_AAMICT77_00982_005 - 547_0000_AAMICT77_00982_006 547_0000_AAMICT77_00982_007 - 547_0000_AAMICT77_00982_008 - 547_0000_AAMICT77_00982_009 547_0000_AAMICT77_00982_010 - 547_0000_AAMICT77_00982_011 - 547_0000_AAMICT77_00982_012 547_0000_AAMICT77_00982_013 - 547_0000_AAMICT77_00982_014 - 547_0000_AAMICT77_00982_015 547_0000_AAMICT77_00982_016 - 547_0000_AAMICT77_00982_017

AA MIC T 77/983

547_0000_AAMICT77_00983 - 016-547_0000_AAMICT77_00983_017

AA MIC T 77/1034

547_0000_AAMICT77_01034_019 - 547_0000_AAMICT77_01034_020 - 547_0000_AAMICT77_01034_022
547_0000_AAMICT77_01034_023 - 547_0000_AAMICT77_01034_025

For more information :

  • Colignon, Alain. "Première page, cinquième colonne" in Jours de guerre : 8. Jours noirs, Bruxelles : Crédit communal, 1992, p. 7-31.