Bijkomende meta info
This collection contains a selection of files compiled by the Belgian Aliens Police (Vreemdelingenpolitie - Police des Étrangers), relevant for research on the Holocaust in Belgium : the files of Jews, Roma and Sinti deported from the Dossin barracks, the files of Jews living in Belgium and deported from France, the files of Jewish armed resistance fighters, the files of Jewish members of hiding networks, the files of Jews detained at the Breendonk camp for political prisoners, and the files of Jews liberated at or released from the Dossin barracks.
The information on the cover of each file refers to persons related to the foreigner : children, business associates, family members who lived in or passed through Belgium… The content of the files can be very diverse. In general, every file contains a questionnaire filled out by the foreigner upon arrival in Belgium, address changes, birth certificates, marriage certificates and death certificates (in case an immigrant passed away in Belgium). For many refugees from Nazi-Germany, the file also contains a political refugee questionnaire. In files created after 1914 photos are often inserted. In case a person was politically active and/or came in to contact with the police, the file might also contain police reports and correspondence with the police force at the last place of residence abroad.
When a foreigner in Belgium married, the files of both partners were merged. When a child turned 15, his file was separated from that of his parents. A file was closed once all persons represented in the file were deceased, obtained Belgian nationality or had left the country.
The search engine will produce relevant immigration files when searching for a name. The collection cannot be searched as a whole.
- BOONE B. and DEPOORTERE R., Ministère de la Justice. Service de la Police des étrangers. Inventaire des microfilms du fichier des dossiers individuels, Brussels, 1996 ; CAESTECKER Frank, STRUBBE Filip and TALLIER Pierre-Alain, Individual files on foreigners opened by the Sûreté publique (Police des étrangers). Research vademecum (1835-1943), Brussels, 2010.
- The Belgian Public Safety Office and its successor the Belgian Aliens Police (Vreemdelingenpolitie - Police des Étrangers)
- French, Dutch, German, Polish, Romanian, Greek, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Russian, English
- Latin, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Gothic
- Digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin
- An alphabetically and numerically ordered index of the files digitised by Kazerne Dossin is available at the Kazerne Dossin documentation centre. For the complete list of Belgian Aliens Police files, check the inventory published by B. Boone and R. Depoortere.
- National Archives of Belgium
- over 920,000 digitised images (over 19,800 files)
- About 90 percent of all photos in the Give Them a Face portrait collections (KD_00017 and KD_00350) are part of the Belgian Aliens Police files ; Administrations such as the municipality of Antwerp or Brussels compiled their own local immigration files. However, these files only contain copies of the documents relevant for that municipality. The supervision of a municipality stopped once the foreigner left for another city.
- The Belgian Public Safety Office was established after 1830 as an autonomous department residing under the Ministry of Justice. As of 1839, this department was responsible for the surveillance of foreigners residing in Belgium. After World War I, the Office was divided into two divisions. The State Security Service became responsible for the supervision of subversive individuals in Belgium, while the Aliens Police (Vreemdelingenpolitie – Police des Étrangers) was charged with the supervision of immigration. In 1977, the Aliens Police was renamed Office for Immigration Affairs. It was transferred from the supervision of the Ministry of Justice to the Ministry of Internal Affairs in 1994, at which point the Office held over 2,700,000 files.
As of 1839 the Belgian Public Safety Office was charged with the screening of foreigners arriving in Belgium and the surveillance of foreigners during their stay. To obtain information on new arrivals, all Belgian municipal administrations were ordered to report newcomers to the Public Safety Office. Other institutes such as the army, hospitals and judicial bodies were also obliged to cooperate. Every time an institute created a document regarding a foreigner, the institute was urged to deliver a copy to the Public Safety Office where the document was added to the immigrant’s personal immigration file.
Although at first Belgian institutes were not that meticulous, the procedure became broadly applied by the Belgian administration from the end of the 19th century. The number of files created by the Public Safety Office grew steadily and foreigners were increasingly unable to live in Belgium undetected by the authorities. After World War I, the content of the files shifted. The economic situation of immigrants became the main focus of government scrutiny, and immigration without consent of the Belgian authorities became punishable. Political refugees in the 1930s, however, received special treatment.
As of 1948, the immigration files compiled by the former Public Safety Office (then the Aliens Police), were gradually transferred to the care of the National Archives of Belgium. In 2008, the National Archives allowed the Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance, predecessor of Kazerne Dossin, to digitise the files of certain groups of immigrants affected by persecution during World War II : the files of Jews, Roma and Sinti deported from the Dossin barracks, the files of Jews living in Belgium and deported from France, the files of Jewish armed resistance fighters, the files of Jewish members of hiding networks, the files of Jews detained at the Breendonk camp for political prisoners, and the files of Jews liberated at or released from the Dossin barracks. The digitisation of the files is an ongoing project.
- National Archives of Belgium
- Once the Belgian Public Safety Office received word about a new arrival, a file was opened. The files are thus chronologically ordered, according to registration in Belgium. All files carry a unique number by which they can be retrieved, using the central index card system.