Belgian Jews Outraged as Flemish Parliament Honors Nazi Collaborators
Jewish community leaders in Belgium have expressed outrage at the publication of an official brochure that “glorifies” two collaborators with the Nazi occupation during World War II.
A statement on Thursday from the Belgian Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organizations (CCOJB) protested that “in the monthly magazine financed by the Flemish Parliament, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this important institution in our country, two of the most important figures of Nazi collaboration are being honored.”
The two collaborators — Auguste Borms and Staf De Clercq — were described by the Belgian newspaper De Standaard as “notorious Nazi sympathizers,” who were now being honored by Flemish parliamentarians for their role in “shaping the emancipation of language and people” in the Flemish region of the country. 25,000 Belgian Jews were deported by the Nazis to the Auschwitz extermination camp
“The honoring of these collaborators of the Nazi regime is scandalous,” Yohan Benizri, president of the CCOJB, declared in a statement.
He continued: “Belgian Jews, and all democrats, have had enough. We already suffer from worrying about our safety and seeing our children exposed to increasingly unbridled antisemitism.”
Benizri observed that the “distortion and denial of the Shoah is increasing, especially on the internet. Many young Belgians do not know the history of their country. Hate speech cannot be effectively combated when celebrating a shameful heritage.”