One-day conference on the Brussels Gestapo Headquarters: Friday 21 October 2011
The subject of the one-day conference organized by Remembrance of Auschwitz and the Auschwitz Foundation at the Bibliothèque Royale will be “The Brussels Gestapo Headquarters – Recognition and Conservation” and the possibility of having the building’s cellars classified as a national monument.
During the Second World War, the German security services (the Sicherheitspolizei and Sicherheitsdienst, i.e. the Gestapo), requisitioned three buildings situated at 453, 347 and 510 Avenue Louise in Brussels. Nothing about these buildings now attracts the attention of passers-by, except for the memorial dedicated to Jean de Sélys Longchamps and a plaque on the facade of 453 Avenue Louise. (On 20 January 1943, Jean de Sélys Longchamps, a Belgian aviator who had joined the British RAF, machine-gunned the Gestapo buildings from the air, severely damaging them). Yet they are among Belgium’s most important and most symbolic Second World War sites of evil memory, as they were the premises of those who carried out the arrests of so many resistance fighters and organized the deportation of the Jews of Belgium and the north of France. Indeed, many survivors have given testimony on the interrogations and tortures which took place in them.
The one-day conference will take place on Friday 21 October 2011 at the Bibliothèque Royale of Belgium (Lippens Auditorium).
The morning session will deal with the history of the Brussels Gestapo headquarters and some of its branches and offshoots in Belgium and northern France. The afternoon will be devoted to the possibilities for conserving the inscriptions carved on the cellar walls by the Nazis’ victims.
- 23/09/2011 – Article in French by Christian Laporte, « Les caves de la Gestapo, un enjeu de mémoire » [The cellars of the Gestapo, an issue of memory] published in La Libre Belgique
- 20/10/2011 – Report on the former cellars of the Brussels Gestapo, broadcast on the RTBF’s television news (click on the list of sequences below or place the cursor at 11'20) (in French)
- 21/10/2011 – Audio report by Pierre Vandenbulcke accompanying his article “The Gestapo’s Avenue Louise cellars are intact”, co-authored with Delphine Wilputte and published online on the RTBF’s website (in French)
- 21/10/2011 – Report on “Saving the messages of the Gestapo headquarters”, broadcast on Télé Bruxelles’ news program (in French)
- 22-23/10/2011 – Article by Marc Metdepenningen, “Preserving the Gestapo cellars” published in Le Soir (pdf in French)
- 23/10/2011 – Report entitled “Gestapo torture chambers in Brussels revealed”, broadcast on the VRT news program
- 25/10/2011 – Article entitled “Avenue Louise 347: the Gestapo’s cellars are intacts”, published online on the website Clint.be (in French) (with 7 photos)
- 01/11/2011 – Article by Julien Rensonnet, “Preserving the graffiti in the cellars of the Gestapo's Avenue Louise HQ”, published online on the website lavenir.net (in French)
- 08/11/2011 – Oral question by Senator André du Bus to the Wallonia-Brussels Federation Minister for Culture, the Audiovisual Sector, Health and Equal Opportunities, Fadila Laanan (in French)
- 24/01/2012 – Article in French by Christian Laporte, « Il faut sauver les caves de la Gestapo » [The cellars of the Gestapo must be saved] published in La Libre Belgique
- 17/01/2012 – Request for explanations addressed by Senator Francis Delpérée to Federal Defense Minister Pieter De Crem on “The graffiti in the Gestapo cellars on Avenue Louise” (at the bottom of the page, in the left-hand column) (in French)
To register for the one-day conference or obtain further information, contact Daniel Weyssow:
Tel: +32 (0)2 512 79 98 – Fax: +32 (0)2 512 58 84 – Contact by email