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The Holocaust in Belgium was the systematic dispossession, deportation, and murder of Jews and Roma in German-occupied Belgium during World War II. Out of about 75,000 Jews in the country in 1940, around 24,000 were murdered during the Holocaust.

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  • The Holocaust in Belgium was the systematic dispossession, deportation, and murder of Jews and Roma in German-occupied Belgium during World War II. Out of about 75,000 Jews in the country in 1940, around 24,000 were murdered during the Holocaust.
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  • The Holocaust in Belgium
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  • The Holocaust in Belgium was the systematic dispossession, deportation, and murder of Jews and Roma in German-occupied Belgium during World War II. Out of about 75,000 Jews in the country in 1940, around 24,000 were murdered during the Holocaust. At the start of the war, the population of Belgium was overwhelmingly Catholic. Jews made up the largest non-Christian population in the country, numbering between 70–75,000 out of a population of 8 million. Most lived in the cities of Antwerp, Brussels, Charleroi and Liège. The vast majority were recent immigrants to Belgium who had fled persecution in Germany and Eastern Europe, and, as a result, only a small minority actually possessed Belgian citizenship. Shortly after the invasion of Belgium, the Military Government passed a series of anti-Jewish laws in October 1940. The Belgian Committee of Secretary-Generals refused from the start to co-operate on passing any anti-Jewish measures and the Military Government seemed unwilling to pass further legislation. The German government began to seize Jewish-owned businesses and forced Jews out of positions in the civil service. In April 1941, without orders from the German authorities, Flemish collaborators pillaged two synagogues in Antwerp and burned the house of the chief rabbi of the town in the Antwerp Pogrom. The Germans created a Judenrat in the country, the Association des Juifs en Belgique (AJB; "Association of Jews in Belgium"), which all Jews were required to join. As part of the Final Solution from 1942, the persecution of Belgian Jews escalated. From May 1942, Jews were forced to wear yellow Star of David badges to mark them out in public. Using the registers compiled by the AJB, the Germans began deporting Jews to concentration camps in Poland. Jews chosen from the registration lists were required to turn up at the newly established Mechelen transit camp; they were then deported by train to concentration camps, mostly to Auschwitz. Between August 1942 and July 1944, around 25,000 Jews and 350 Roma were deported from Belgium; more than 24,000 were killed before the camps were liberated by the Allies. From 1942, opposition among the general population to the treatment of the Jews in Belgium grew. By the end of the occupation, more than 40 per cent of all Jews in Belgium were in hiding; many of them were hidden by Gentiles, particularly by Catholic priests and nuns. Some were helped by the organized resistance, such as the Comité de Défense des Juifs (CDJ; "Committee of Jewish Defense"), which provided food and refuge to hiding Jews. Many of the Jews in hiding joined the armed resistance. In April 1943, members of the CDJ attacked the twentieth rail convoy to Auschwitz and succeeded in rescuing some of those being deported.
  • The Holocaust in Belgium was the systematic dispossession, deportation, and murder of Jews and Roma in German-occupied Belgium during World War II. Out of about 75,000 Jews in the country in 1940, around 24,000 were murdered during the Holocaust. At the start of the war, the population of Belgium was overwhelmingly Catholic. Jews made up the largest non-Christian population in the country, numbering between 70–75,000 out of a population of 8 million. Most lived in the cities of Antwerp, Brussels, Charleroi and Liège. The vast majority were recent immigrants to Belgium who had fled persecution in Germany and Eastern Europe, and, as a result, only a small minority actually possessed Belgian citizenship. Shortly after the invasion of Belgium, the Military Government passed a series of anti-Jewish laws in October 1940. The Belgian Committee of Secretary-Generals refused from the start to co-operate on passing any anti-Jewish measures and the Military Government seemed unwilling to pass further legislation. The German government began to seize Jewish-owned businesses and forced Jews out of positions in the civil service. In April 1941, without orders from the German authorities, Flemish collaborators pillaged two synagogues in Antwerp and burned the house of the chief rabbi of the town in the Antwerp Pogrom. The Germans created a Judenrat in the country, the Association des Juifs en Belgique (AJB; "Association of Jews in Belgium"), which all Jews were required to join. As part of the Final Solution from 1942, the persecution of Belgian Jews escalated. From May 1942, Jews were forced to wear yellow Star of David badges to mark them out in public. Using the registers compiled by the AJB, the Germans began deporting Jews to concentration camps in Poland. Jews chosen from the registration lists were required to turn up at the newly established Mechelen transit camp; they were then deported by train to concentration camps, mostly to Auschwitz. Between August 1942 and July 1944, around 25,500 Jews and 350 Roma were deported from Belgium; more than 24,000 were killed before the camps were liberated by the Allies. From 1942, opposition among the general population to the treatment of the Jews in Belgium grew. By the end of the occupation, more than 40 per cent of all Jews in Belgium were in hiding; many of them were hidden by Gentiles, particularly by Catholic priests and nuns. Some were helped by the organized resistance, such as the Comité de Défense des Juifs (CDJ; "Committee of Jewish Defense"), which provided food and refuge to hiding Jews. Many of the Jews in hiding joined the armed resistance. In April 1943, members of the CDJ attacked the twentieth rail convoy to Auschwitz and succeeded in rescuing some of those being deported.
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