, The Germans requisitioned the former Belgian army Fort Breendonk, near Mechelen, which was used for torture and interrogation of political prisoners and members of the resistance. The best-known of these networks, the Comet Line, organized by AndrÃ©e de Jongh, involved some 2,000 resistance members and was able to escort 700 Allied airmen to Spain. The âLegion Belgeâ became the âArmÃ©e SecrÃ¨teâ and its first task was to raise 50,000 people who would come under the command of the Allies when required.  In April 1944, the ArmÃ©e SecrÃ¨te began to adopt an official rank hierarchy and uniform (of white overalls and armband) to be worn on missions in order to give their organization the status of an "official army". history of the second world war 17. grades fine/vf. Alongside the 10 cells that spent their time sending intelligence to Britain, 12 armed units existed by the end of 1941. Belgium also was involved: on May 10th 1940 Belgiumâs neutrality was violated. , The German Geheime Staatspolizei ("Secret state police"), known as the Gestapo, was responsible for targeting resistance groups in Belgium. Listening to Radio Belgique broadcasts from London, which was officially prohibited by the German occupiers, was a common form of passive resistance, but civil disobedience in particular was employed. Face value. Aside from sabotage of military infrastructure in the country and assassinations of collaborators, these groups also published large numbers of underground newspapers, gathered intelligence and maintained various escape networks that helped Allied airmen trapped behind enemy lines escape from German-occupied Europe. Many were made prisoners of war and detained in camps in Germany, although some were released before the end of the war. , The Belgian resistance was praised by contemporaries for its contribution to the Allied war effort; particularly during the later period. The exact number of those who took part is unknown, but they included civilians who worked secretly against the occupation as well as armed bands of partisans or guerrilla fighters. ... passing through Romania, Paris and Belgiumâ¦ Nevertheless, the apparent isolation of the government in exile from the day-to-day situation in Belgium meant that it was viewed with suspicion by many resistance groups, particularly those whose politics differed from that of the established government. The resistance included both men and women from both Walloon and Flemish parts of the country. , Extract from the underground paper La Libre Belgique of August 1942. In May 1944, the government-in-exile attempted to rebuild its relationship with the resistance by establishing a "Coordination Committee" of representatives of the major groups, including the LÃ©gion Belge, Mouvement National Belge, Groupe G and the Front de l'IndÃ©pendance. Belgium, however, did not appreciate this, so they put up a small resistance to the German forces. In June 1941, the City Council of Brussels refused to distribute Star of David badges on behalf of the German government to Belgian Jews. , Belgium's strategic location meant that it constituted an important supply hub for the whole German army in Northern Europe and particularly northern France. The main criticism was that SOE was not giving them enough supplies. Hundreds of thousands of civilians fled toward France before the oncoming German army. , Assassination of key figures in the hierarchy of German and collaborationist hierarchy became increasingly common through 1944.  As the crowds moved towards the Parliament, British soldiers fired on the crowd, which they suspected to be trying to make left-wing coup d'Ã©tat. , Active resistance within Belgium developed from early 1941 and took several directions. One had been helping the Maquis resistance fighters for two years, and the other had been in the intelligence game for six months. Following the Normandy landings in June 1944 on orders from the Allies, the Belgian resistance began to step up its sabotage against German supply lines across the country. The Belgian army wasnât a match against the German onslaught and received one hammer blow after the other. The Service D group, for example, had many members in the national postal service and used them to intercept letters of denunciation, warning the denounced person to flee. The Gestapo was effective at using informants within groups to betray whole local resistance network and in examining resistance publications for clues about its place of production.  However, the committee was rendered redundant by the liberation in September.  Copies of the underground newspapers were distributed anonymously, with some pushed into letterboxes or sent by post. Jews were also active in the Dutch and Italian underground movements. In particular, the government feared the organizations would degenerate into armed political militias which could threaten the country's political stability. The neutrality of Belgium came to an end on May 10, 1940 with the German invasion, and subsequent conquest of the Low Countries. By the end of 1941, ten resistance cells existed in Belgium and by the end of 1942, they operated 25 clandestine transmitters.  Foremost among these was the Courcelles Massacre, a reprisal by Rexist paramilitaries for the assassination of a Burgomaster, in which 20 civilians were killed.  The resistance was particularly important during the liberation of the city of Antwerp, where the local resistance from the Witte Brigade and Nationale Koninklijke Beweging, in an unprecedented display of inter-group cooperation, assisted British and Canadian forces in capturing the highly strategic port of Antwerp intact, before it could be sabotaged by the German garrison. By age 18, she was known as one of the most prominent resistance fighters in Greece. By offering a heroic dimension to the painful experience of the occupation, shared by the vast majority of the population, the tribute to their sacrifice facilitated the integration of this episode into the national narrative. The Germans enacted anti-Jewish legislation to persecute the Jewish population. ... Belgium; W. Henryk Wolinski - Operational Command of AK Information, centralised contacts between Polish and Jewish military organisations, including formation of Jewish Resistance under Nazi rule. , The Belgian resistance effort was extremely fragmented between various groups and never became a unified organization during the German occupation. After 18 days of hostilities, the Belgian army surrendered. The largest of the groups was called the âLegion Belgeâ.  Telegraph lines were also cut and road bridges and canals used to transport material sabotaged. The German Geheime Staatspolizei ("Secret state police"), known as the Gestapo, was responsible for targeting resistance groups in Belgium.  With the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, members of the Communist Party, which had previously been ambivalent towards both Allied and Axis sides, also joined the resistance en masse, forming their own separate groups calling for a "national uprising" against Nazi rule. I took them to Tendon by jeep, but there was a roadblock 500 yards beyond the town, on the road toward Le Thuly.  In total 43 separate intelligence networks existed in Belgium, involving some 14,000 people. At its peak, the clandestine newspaper La Libre Belgique was relaying news within five to six days; faster than the BBC's French-language radio broadcasts, whose coverage lagged several months behind events. Leopold III, king and commander-in-chief of the army, also surrendered to the Germans on 28 May along with his army and was also held prisoner by the Germans. SOE recommended that the two should be split with some transmitters being used solely for intelligence transmissions and some being used solely for operational matters. In Belgium, a combined Jewish and non-Jewish resistance unit (also named "Solidarité") derailed a deportation train in April 1943.  Around 70 percent of underground newspapers were in French, while 60 percent of political prisoners were Walloon. Country / area. World War Two had started. On July 25, 1942, Jewish resisters attacked and burned the files of the organization that the Nazis had forced on the Jews of Belgium. , In the early years of the war, contact with the government in exile was difficult to establish.  Associations of former members were founded in the years immediately after the war and campaigned for greater recognition of the role of the resistance. They were sold as real ones at news stands throughout the country. professionally packed.  On 18 June the Belgian Government fled and arrived first in Bordeaux, France after the French government had fled to the region three days earlier.  Through its sabotage activities alone, one resistance group, Groupe G, required the Germans to expend between 20 and 25 million man-hours of labour on repairing damage done, including ten million in the night of 15â16 January 1944 alone.  Much of the resistance's press focused around producing newspapers in both French and Dutch language as alternatives to collaborationist newspapers like Le Soir. We know that neither Belgium nor the Congo will be saved until Hitlerism is crushed. Of its 600,000 soldiers, 225,000 were taken prisoner. The second most important resistance movement in Belgium was the âFront de lâIndÃ©pendenceâ. Resistance fighters who were captured could expect to be interrogated, tortured and either summarily executed or sent to a concentration camp. Belgium was conquered by Nazi Germany in May 1940. Across Belgium, 20,000 German soldiers (including two generals) were taken prisoner by the resistance, before being handed over to the Allies. , The resistance also printed humorous publications and material as propaganda.  This provoked significant anger among resistance members, who had hoped that they would be able to continue fighting alongside the Allies in the invasion of Germany.  The danger of infiltration posed by German informants meant that some cells were extremely small and localized, and although nationwide groups did exist, they were split along political and ideological lines. During the fighting, between 600,000 and 650,000 Belgian men (nearly 20 percent of the country's male population) served in the military. British records from 1942 show that 80% of the intelligence gathered by all resistance movements in all occupied countries in that year came from Belgium. The Gestapo was effective at using informants within groups to betray whole local resistance network and in examining resistance publications for clues about its place of production. In the thirties of the 20th century Central Europa came increasingly under influence of Germany. Within Belgium, resistance was fragmented between many separate organizations, divided by region and political stances. In a letter to Lieutenant-General Pire, commander of the ArmÃ©e SecrÃ¨te, General Eisenhower praised the role that the Belgian resistance had played in disrupting German supply lines after D-Day. Protest against the barbaric measures that are being applied to them. This memorial, located at the entrance of the zoo (Tierpark), commemorates seven Belgian members of the Belgian secret army (resistance) who were shot at this location on 14 September 1944. On September 2, a group of Resistance fighters gathered near the town of Grenoble to execute a half-dozen Nazi collaborators who had worked for the Milice â the despised Vichy police. Managed by Caboodle UX design studio in London, Citation: C N Trueman "The Belgian Resistance".  Future large-scale strikes were repressed by the Germans, although further important strikes occurred in November 1942 and February 1943. After an 18 day campaign the Belgian king Leopold decided to lay down arms. The Anschluss was realized and also the Sudetenland was annexed. 1,680 later died in captivity, but over 160,000 others, mostly Flemish, were gradually released in the context of Hitlerâs pan-Germanic policy.  Indeed, more German troops were reportedly killed in Belgium in 1941 than in all of Occupied France. Three days later the Belgian government stripped his ministerial title in reaction to the speech.  The papers achieved considerable circulation, with La Libre Belgique reaching a regular circulation of 40,000 by January 1942 and peaking at 70,000, while the Communist paper, Le Drapeau Rouge, reached 30,000. At Schaffen all but one of the 11 Hawker Hurricane fighters were wiped out, while the squadron of 15 Gladiators lost about six aircraft.  Dozens of different newspapers existed, often affiliated with different resistance groups or differentiated by political stance, ranging from nationalist, Communist, Liberal or even Feminist. On 14 May 1940, the Dutch commander ordered a cease-fire. Three days later, the entire Netherlands was occupied by Nazi Germany.  The German failure to invade Great Britain, coupled with aggravating German policies within occupied Belgium, especially the persecution of Belgian Jews and conscription of Belgian civilians into forced labour programmes increasingly turned patriotic Belgian civilians from liberal or Catholic backgrounds against the German regime and towards the resistance.  He later gave a speech on BBC Radio on 23 June stating he would continue to fight against the Germans. Between June and September alone, 95 railroad bridges, 285 locomotives, 1,365 wagons and 17 tunnels were all blown up by the Belgian resistance. , During the occupation an underground press flourished in Belgium from soon after the Belgian defeat, with eight newspapers appearing by October 1940 alone. Quoted in, German occupation of Belgium during World War II, The Holocaust in Belgium Â§ Belgian opposition to Jewish persecution, "Belgium: A Small but Significant Resistance Force during World War II", "Forces et faiblesses de l'armÃ©e belge en 1940 Ã la veille de la guerre", "The Campaign of the Belgian army in May 1940", Institut d'histoire ouvriÃ¨re, Ã©conomique et sociale, "German Intelligence Agents and Suspected Agents", "Western European Churches and the Holocaust: Belgium", "The "Righteous Among the Nations" ceremony in the presence of President Shimon Peres, Prince Philippe and Minister Didier Reynders", "Avenue Louise 347 Louizalaan: Dans les Caves de la Gestapo", "EuropÃ¤ische Perspektiven der GedenkstÃ¤ttenpÃ¤dagogik", "L'histoire de la Fraternelle Royale de l'ArmÃ©e secrÃ¨te", "Textes lÃ©gaux: ArrÃªtÃ©-loi Organisant le Statut des RÃ©sistants Civils et des RÃ©fractaires", "MÃ©moire monumentale de la rÃ©sistance en Wallonie", "Belgium: A Small But Significant Resistance Force during World War II", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Belgian_Resistance&oldid=991239002, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 29 November 2020, at 01:10.  They ranged from the very left-wing, like the Communist Partisans ArmÃ©s or Socialist Front de l'IndÃ©pendance, to the far-right, like the monarchist Mouvement National Royaliste and the LÃ©gion Belge which had been created by members of the pre-war Fascist LÃ©gion Nationale movement.  It is estimated that approximately five percent of the national population were involved in some form of "active" resistance during the war.  Marcel-Henri Jaspar, the Belgian Minister of Health, went to London on 21 June without the permission of the government. A similar massacre also took place at Meensel-Kiezegem, where 67 were killed.. This information focused both on German troop movements and other military information, but was also essential for keeping the allies abreast of the attitudes and popular opinion of the Belgian public. 3,50+3,50.  During the course of the war, the government-in-exile delivered between 124-245 million francs, dropped by parachute or transferred via bank accounts in neutral Portugal, to the ArmÃ©e SecrÃ¨te group alone, with smaller sums also distributed to other organisations. This gave the French some time to assemble their forces in the north. Resistance fighters who were captured could expect to be interrogated, tortured and either summarily executed or sent to a concentration camp. The LÃ©gion Belge dispatched a member to try to establish contact in May 1941, it took a full year to reach London. This advice was never heeded and several of the resistance cells were caught as a result â and paid the price.  In this way, they succeeded in intercepting over 20,000 letters.  The largest was the so-called "Strike of the 100,000", which broke out on 10 May 1941 in the Cockerill steel works in Seraing. Indeed, to consider the Resistance, as the term suggests, as a unitary phenomenon is in many respects misleading.  These included both reprisal assassinations of leading figures suspected of resistance involvement or sympathy (including Alexandre Galopin, head of the SociÃ©tÃ© GÃ©nÃ©rale, who was assassinated in February 1944) or retaliatory massacres against civilians. The Belgian Air Force was effectively suppressed on 10 May, suffering heavy losses on the ground. In particular, the reports sent through on the placing of German radar was vital to the Allies bombing campaign.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'historylearningsite_co_uk-medrectangle-3','ezslot_1',129,'0','0'])); However, there was one weakness in the set-up of the Belgian resistance that SOE (Special Operations Executive) had warned them off. The other powers in Europe let Germany get away with this.  Today the role of the resistance during the conflict is commemorated by memorials, plaques and road names across the country, as well as by the National Museum of the Resistance in Anderlecht. By early 1944, the resistance movements were printing over 300 clandestine newspapers that circulated all over Belgium. 2,000 resistance members involved in underground press alone were arrested during the war. The danger of infiltration posed by German informants meant that some cells were extremely small and localized. One of the most important functions of the Belgian resistance was to assist the movement of escaped POWâs and airman shot down during a raid. However, all resistance movements in Belgium, however big or small, were concerned with civil resistance, intelligence gathering, sabotage and helping POWâs to escape. The Belgian Resistance (French: RÃ©sistance belge, Dutch: Belgisch verzet) collectively refers to the resistance movements opposed to the German occupation of Belgium during World War II. perfect for the ww2 history buff. 1945. , Towards the end of the war, the militias of collaborationist political parties also began to participate actively in reprisals for attacks or assassinations by the resistance. This movement was given the task of co-ordinating civil resistance. The most significant was "Clarence", led by WalthÃ¨re DewÃ© [fr],which had over 1,000 members feeding it information which was then communicated to London by radio.  Many Belgians also hid Jews and political dissidents during the occupation: one estimate put the number at some 20,000 people hidden during the war. , Though they usually lacked the equipment and training to fight the Wehrmacht openly, the resistance played a key role in assisting the Allies during the liberation of Belgium in September 1944, providing information on German troop movements, disrupting German evacuation plans and participating in fighting. Offer them your seat on the tram! View stories about RESISTANCE (Freedom) FIGHTERS`World War 11 Page 2 at Fold3.com.  On 25 November, a large demonstration of former resistance members took place in Brussels. The armed Belgian resistance movement effectively based itself in the wooded Ardennes region of the country. In December 1946, the government of Camille Huysmans inaugurated a medal to be awarded to former members of the resistance and bestowed various other benefits on other members, including pensions and a scheme of state-funded apprenticeships.  Radio contact was briefly established in late 1941, however, the contact was extremely intermittent between 1942 and 1943, with a permanent radio connection to the ArmÃ©e SecrÃ¨te (codenamed "Stanley") only established in 1944.. As for the three young Belgian Resistance members who stopped the train, Youra Livschitz was captured later and executed.  However, there were also other groups like Groupe G which, though without an obvious political affiliation, recruited only from very specific demographics. The rest of the Wehrmacht force committed to "the overrunning of the West" executed the Manstein Plan through Belgium and the Ardennes Forest. All of them throughout occupied Europe probably felt that they needed more than SOE could supply if they were to be effective in what they did. On 16 January 1944, a reconnaissance pilot survives a plane crash in Delahaut in the Nazi occupied Belgium. Following the Armistice, those who had been executed for acts of resistance became national heroes in Belgium, the young female resistance worker Gabrielle Petit (1893-1916)being the most famous. 1945 Voor krijgsgevangenen, gedeporteerden en verzetsstrijders (BEL â¦ The Belgian resistance effort was extremely fragmented between various groups and never became a unified organization during the German occupation. By the time of Belgium's entry into the First World War on 4 August 1914, the military aviation branch, now called the Aviation Militaire Belge (Belgische militaire luchtvaart), consisted of four squadrons, each consisting of four 80-horsepower Farman aircraft, although Escadrilles III and IV were still forming. 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