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- A postcard depicting the façade of the Dossin barracks after the war
- PIB, Brussels
- Dutch, French
- Digital copy available as collection KD_00157 at Kazerne Dossin
- 2 digitised images (1 document)
In 1756, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria commissioned the construction of the barracks to accommodate Austrian soldiers. Between 1781 and 1940, the barracks played a pure military role, which was met in various ways. Until 1914, the building served as depot for the regiments of Grenadiers, Riflemen and Third Rifles Guards. Later it became a weapon depot and from 1918, an auxiliary depot of the 7th Line regiment. In 1936, the barracks received the name of the commander of this regiment during the First World War: Lieutenant-General Emile de Dossin de Saint Georges (1854-1936). A resident of Liège (Belgium), he was honoured as a war hero, because of his crucial role in the Battle of the Yser (17-31 October 1914).
Between May 1940 and July 1942 the building was used as a facility for officers of a German air force unit and as a training centre for the Dietsche Brigade - Zwarte Militie which was a Nazi oriented militant wing within the Vlaams Nationaal Verbond [Flamish National Union]. From 27 July 1942 until 4 September 1944, the barracks were designated ‘Sammellager’, a transit camp for Jews and Roma. Most were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau and murdered.
After WWII, the Dossin barracks was repossessed by the Belgian state. At the end of 1948, the Belgian army established a school in the barracks for the administration of the Army. In June 1950, a training centre of the Financial Services was added to the complex. On 30 May 1948, a commemorative plaque was attached to the façade of the Dossin barracks as commemoration to the crimes committed at the location. Since 1956, an annual pilgrimage is organised to commemorate the victims.
After the Centre for Administrative Service left the building in March 1975, the Dossin barracks fell into disrepair. In 1980 the city of Mechelen decided to renovate the dilapidated building as an apartment complex, renaming them the ‘Habsburg Courtyard’. Many, however, thought it was inopportune to cast aside the history of the Dossin barracks as Sammellager. The Vereniging van Joodse Weggevoerden in België - Dochters en Zonen van de Deportatie [ Association of Jewish Deportees in Belgium - Daughters and Sons of the Deportation] and the Centraal Israëlitisch Consistorie van België [Jewish Central Consistory of Belgium] pressured the city and the Flemish Community to create a museum. On 7 May 1995, the Joods Museum van Deportatie en Verzet [Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance] was inaugurated and on 11 November 1995 it opened its doors to the public. In 2012 the Jewish Museum was succeeded by the enlarged Kazerne Dossin - Memorial, museum and research centre on Holocaust and Human Rights.
- A digital copy of the postcard was donated to the Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance, predecessor of Kazerne Dossin, in 2006.