Membership forms of the Vereeniging der Joden in België - Association des Juifs en Belgique. Series

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The collection "membership forms of the Association of Jews in Belgium" contains digitised copies of ca. 12,000 registration forms filled in by Jewish families in Belgium, which became members of this organisation as was required after the decree of 25 November 1941. Each form consists of the names of every family member living under the same roof, their dates and places of birth, their date of immigration, their faith, their profession, the family address, the number of rooms in the house and the property owner.
1941-1944
Membership forms of the Association of Jews in Belgium
SCHREIBER Jean-Philippe and VAN DOORSLAER Rudi (ed.), De curatoren van het getto. De Vereniging van de joden in België tijdens de nazi-bezetting, Tielt, 2004. / SCHREIBER Jean-Philippe & VAN DOORSLAER Rudi (ed.), Les curateurs du ghetto. L'Association des Juifs en Belgique sous l'occupation nazie, Bruxelles. / Non-published inventory of Fonds Beeckmans by dr. Lieven Saerens, Cegesoma.
Vereeniging der Joden in België (VJB) - Association des Juifs en Belgique (AJB) - Association of Jews in Belgium (AJB)
Dutch, French
Latin
File 410 physically stored at Kazerne Dossin (one acid-free storage box). Other files digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin
A city and street index, created by the Belgian Commission for the Restitution of Jewish Property (commission Buysse), is available at the Kazerne Dossin documentation centre. Index of the Fonds Beeckmans created by Cegesoma researcher dr. Lieven Saerens
Cegesoma, Brussels, AA1314 (files 374-411)
Kazerne Dossin, Mechelen, KD_00009 (file 410)
KD_00009
series
12,137 digital images (12,102 documents)
The archive of the Association of Jews in Belgium (AJB) was physically divided into three units during and after the war. A copy of the original membership forms is now part of the Fonds Beeckmans, stored at the Cegesoma in Brussels. The files of the AJB Service Special Assistance Mechelen (Dossin barracks) were in 1944 seized by the Belgian resistance and are now stored at Kazerne Dossin (KD_00011). The remaining organisational files of the AJB were stored by the "Centre National des Hautes Etudes Juives - Institut Martin Buber", before being transferred to the Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance (KD_00010). The JMDR has digitized all three collections and thus tries to digitally restore the original AJB archives.
rom October 1940 until May 1942 the Nazis implemented 17 anti-Jewish measures in Belgium. The Association of Jews in Belgium (AJB) was established by decree of the Militärverwaltung (military administration) on 25 November 1941. All Jews in Belgium were obliged to affiliate as members. Officially, the tasks of the AJB included promoting emigration, Jewish education and social welfare. In reality, it was a Jewish instrument controlled by the Nazis which assisted in the genocidal deportation of Jews from Belgium to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The AJB was composed of a leading committee established in Brussels, four local committees in Brussels, Antwerp, Liège and Charleroi (cities with 2,000 to 35,000 Jewish inhabitants each), and smaller local bureaus in Gent, Ostend, Mons and Arlon. The leading committee counted seven members of which five were Belgian Jews, so the composition was not representative of a Jewish population which was composed for 94% of foreigners, mainly Poles and Germans.
In February 1942, the Nazis ordered the AJB to identify the Jewish population. In March this census was used to draft Jews for forced labour and in July the Sicherheitspolizei-Sicherheitsdienst (Sipo-SD) ordered the AJB to provide the names of 10,000 Jews for a so-called convocation for forced labour (Arbeitseinsatzbefehl), in reality the genocidal deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau. The AJB, responding with zeal, provided the Sipo-SD with 12,000 names. The trap, however, failed: only 4,000 Jews reported at the Dossin barracks in Malines, the SS-Sammellager für Juden.
The AJB evoked distrust and resentment among the Jewish population and became the target of Jewish resistance. At the end of July 1942, Jewish partisans attacked the offices of the Association and on 29 August 1942, one of the leaders of the forced labour service for Jews was shot.
Confronted with the failure of the convocations for forced labour, the Sipo-SD organized massive raids from 15 August until 21 September 1942. In response to these mass arrests, the local AJB committee in Charleroi, infiltrated by communist resistance, scuttled at the end of September 1942.
After a short internment in the Breendonk camp for political prisoners, Salomon Ullmann, military chaplain and Rabbi of Belgium, in October 1942 stepped down as president of the AJB. Maurice Benedictus, administrator of the AJB, fled to Portugal in December 1942. By then more than 16,600 Jewish men, women and children had been deported. From then on, the fundamental role of the AJB was limited to social assistance, interventions with the occupier and a special service in charge of helping the prisoners at the Dossin barracks.
In Liège, the local committee ceased to exist at the end of April 1943, when its leaders were deported. Some of them were working illegally in the Jewish Defence Committee (CDJ). In September 1943, the Sipo-SD eliminated the Antwerp AJB committee, deporting its members together with the remaining Jews of Belgian nationality from Antwerp, leaving the city without any officially organized Jewish life for the rest of the occupation.
In Brussels, the AJB functioned until the last day of the occupation. Several of its members (Maurice and Esta Heiber, Chaim and Fajga Perelman, David Ferdman) were secretly working for the Jewish Defence Committee. They helped rescue Jewish children until the Liberation.
The Association of Jews in Belgium (AJB) in 1942 completed more than 12,000 membership forms : one for every Jewish family living in Belgium. A copy of the forms was delivered to the Sicherheitspolizei-Sicherheitsdienst (Sipo-SD), which passed it on to Belgian collaborator Pierre Beeckmans. Beeckmans was the director of the "Landelijke Anti-Joodse Centrale voor Vlaanderen en Wallonië / Centrale Anti-Juive pour la Flandre et la Wallonie" (Anti-Jewish Central Committee). This organisation collected information regarding Jews in Belgium and was a think tank working on a solution for the "Jewish question". Beeckmans filed the AJB membership forms alphabetically per province (smaller towns) or per city (Antwerp, Brussels, Liège and Charleroi) and subsequently per street. For Antwerp and Brussels, in contrast to Liège and Charleroi, no subdivision per city district was created. These AJB forms were then used by Beeckmans to create statistics and possibly to draw up lists which he checked of when visiting the Dossin barracks, where Beeckmans was responsible for taking decisions regarding the deportation of persons of partial non-Jewish decent. The forms still bear markings and notes in his handwriting.
After liberation, the Belgian prosecutor seized the archives of the "Landelijke Anti-Joodsche Centrale voor Vlaanderen en Wallonië / Centrale Anti-Juive pour la Flandre et la Wallonie", and added them to the documentary evidence presented during the post-war trials. At the end of the 1950s and in 1961 the General Investigations Office transferred the documentary evidence to the Belgian State Archives, which on their turn deposited the 1,089 bundles at the "Navorsings- en Studiecentrum voor de Geschiedenis van de Tweede Wereldoorlog", the current Cegesoma, in Brussels. The complete collection of documentary evidence received the call number AA1314, in which the files of the Fonds Beeckmans could be identified as numbers 350 to 500. The AJB membership forms within the Fonds Beeckmans were identified as files 374 until 411, lacking file 410.
In 1999, the Belgian Commission for the Restitution of Jewish Property (commission Buysse) created an index, showing the division of the membership forms per city and per street. In 2003 the membership forms were cleaned, digitized and wrapped in acid free folders and boxes by the Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance (JMDR), currently Kazerne Dossin, and subsequently returned to Cegesoma. The JMDR, however, tracked down the missing file 410 at the archives of the "Centraal Israëlitisch Consistorie van België/Consistoire Central Israélite de Belgique" (Jewish Central Consistory of Belgium). The originals were acquired by the JMDR, however, this file seems to contain mostly typed copies of handwritten membership forms from other folders (section Brussels) in the Fonds Beeckmans. An inventory of the complete Fonds Beeckmans, including the AJB membership forms, was created by Cegesoma researcher dr. Lieven Saerens in 2015-2016.
Cegesoma, Brussels
Alphabetical, (by city, then by street).

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