Interviews by Johannes Blum. Collection

Bijkomende meta info

This collection consists of over 1,100 testimonies (over 1,200 recordings) conducted by Johannes Blum, researcher and interviewer at Les Compagnons de la Mémoire. Among those interviewed are Jewish camp survivors, Jewish and non-Jewish resistance fighters, political prisoners, hidden children, hidden adults, hostages, refugees, survivors of the Rwandan genocide, Spanish Civil War volunteers, anti-fascists and children of members of these groups of witnesses. Most of the witnesses lived in Belgium during and post-war. Johannes Blum also compiled a research file for every testimony. These files contain copies of documents, newspaper clippings, photos of the witness, (scans of) historical photos, written testimonies, publications and obituaries.
Content Date
Content Location
Johannes Blum, researcher and interviewer, founder of Les Compagnons de la Mémoire
French, Italian, German, Spanish
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
The interviews were recorded on Betacam tapes and MiniDV. Kazerne Dossin has digitised the interviews and has converted them to MP4. The research files consist of both paper and digital items, which were combined by Kazerne Dossin in a digital file.
Finding aid
A name index is available at the Kazerne Dossin documentation centre.
The recordings and research files are transferred to the Kazerne Dossin archives by Johannes Blum upon finalisation of an interview.
Cegesoma - National Archives of Belgium received a copy of a selection of testimonies and research files in 2012 (catalogue nr. AA 2332).
Level of description
Extent and medium
over 1,200 recordings and associated research files
Administrative and biographical
Johannes Blum was born in Salzburg, Austria, on 23 December 1942 as the oldest child of catholic parents. His father, an accountant, was mobilized by the German army and was presumably killed in battle in Yugoslavia. Johannes, his mother and baby sister fled to Germany in 1945. There he was sent to school in Munster. For his high school thesis, Johannes chose the subject German resistance. Afterwards he studied Roman philology and history at the University of Freiburg. Upon meeting a Belgian resistance fighter during a trip to Paris in the 1960s Johannes tried to talk with his mother about the position of his own family during the war. Disappointment regarding her reaction made him reflect on his own convictions. In 1969, he moved to Brussels, Belgium, where he completed his studies. Johannes then became a high school teacher. After writing to the newspaper La Cité in 1987, he came into contact with camp survivors Sonja Wassersztrum, Sarah Goldberg, Maryla Dyament and Hélène Weissberg. Johannes accompanied them on a journey to Germany. Listening to their stories made him aware of the importance of recording them for future generations. Johannes subsequently created the organisation Les Compagnons de la Mémoire, aiming to professionally record and preserve testimonies. In 1991, he also succeeded in creating a monument for rescuer père Bruno Reynders and tracking down many of the 380 children hidden by Reynders. A book about his work was published. In 2016, Johannes Blum received the Mensch of the Year award from the Centre Communautaire Laïc Juif as a token of appreciation for his ground-breaking work.
In 1987 Johannes Blum started audio-recording testimonies of Holocaust survivors in Belgium, as of 1993 he made audio-visual recordings. Over the years he would interview over 1,100 persons, some of them at multiple occasions. For each interview Johannes Blum also compiled a research file, containing copies of documents, newspaper clippings, photos of the witness, (scans of) historical photos, written testimonies, publications and obituaries. In 2003 Johannes Blum reached out to the Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance, predecessor of Kazerne Dossin. His collection was subsequently transferred to the archives of the JMDR. Kazerne Dossin continues the digitisation of the recordings and the research files.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Johannes Blum, ongoing
System of arrangement
  • Persoon
  • Object hiërarchie: 1 items