Friday, 24 October 2014

Gas chamber in Belgium for Jewish children

Below is a full transcription of a report that appeared in an official organ of the exiled-Belgian government during the Second World War. "INBEL (Belgian News Agency)" [Office Belge d'Information et de Documentation = Belgian Office of Information and Documentation] was an a daily—until March 29, 1945, when it became weekly—news sheet published in both French and English versions, which initially "was under the political responsibility of Foreign Minister Paul-Henri Spaak, and later under that of Antoine Delfosse, minister of Justice, National Information and Propaganda."1

INBEL. AUGUST 7, 1943. No. 2 - A report received from Occupied Belgium contains the following information on the fate meted out to Jewish children by the Germans:
"For over a year a German officer had been occupying a room in a Belgian woman's house. Lately, this officer had seemed very worried and out of sorts. One evening, about two weeks ago, he went into the kitchen and said to his involuntary landlady: 'I must speak openly to someone. I cannot bear it any longer. For weeks now I have been present at the most horrible scene imaginable. I work at Brasschaet (near Antwerp) and at regular intervals I see very nice young Jewish children massacred there. They are assembled in a nice room and given everything they could want: sweets, and toys of all kinds. But in the evening gas is introduced into the room, and in a few minutes all these innocents are dead. Afterwards you find them n the same attitudes in which they were when you left them. They still appear to be laughing, eating or playing, but they are all dead. I do not feel equal to going to Brasschaet any longer. I am going to report sick."
Two days later, two Germans called at the woman's house and asked to speak to the German officer. A few minutes later, all three of them went out, taking away all the belongings which the officer had in his room. The landlady has not heard anything about her lodger since."
The writer of the report concludes as follows:
"Though he knows nothing of this affair, an inhabitant of Antwerp told us that very young Jewish children are taken regularly to Brasschaet." "There must be many of them," he adds, "as no one has ever seen any coming back."2

1. Dan Mikhman (ed.), Belgium and the Holocaust: Jews, Belgians and Germans, Jerusalem: Daf-Noy, 1998, p. 288.
2. INBEL (Belgian News Agency), August 7, 1943. This story was subsequently reported in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency's Daily News Bulletin: "German Soldier Tells of Nazi Method of Mass-Gassing Jewish Children in Belgium", September 8, 1943, p.3, although the story appeared in INBEL on August 7, the JTA mistakenly claims INBEL published the story on September 7.

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