“Take measures to disinfect society from this dangerous and recurring disease!”

Paris, 19 January 2021

In a letter to European Parliament President, David Sassoli, and twenty Belgian Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), the Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, drew attention to “the outrageous posthumous recognition of two Flemish World War II Nazi collaborators, for their role in ‘shaping the emancipation of the Flemish language’ (sic), to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Flemish Parliamentary journal.”

- August Borms was, indeed, a Flemish nationalist, but a Nazi sympathizer who sought refuge in Berlin towards the end of the war. He was executed by a firing squad in 1946 for his collaboration crimes.

- Staf De Clercq welcomed the Nazi occupation and headed the round-up squads for the identification and deportation of Jews to Auschwitz. Over 24,000 Belgian and foreign Jewish fugitives were sent through Mechelen/Malines to the death camps.

The Centre argued that, “this glorification of Nazi collaborationists can only:
- serve the narrative of populist political parties in future elections;
- boost the recruitment of frustrated youth into extremist ranks;
- spawn the nostalgic celebration of other Nazi war criminals;
- contribute to the growing trade in Nazi memorabilia;
- support the banalization and denial of the Holocaust... and above all,
- spur hatred and violence against live Jews, as well as cemetery desecrations of their dead.”

“We call on the European Parliament and the Belgian MEPs to take measures to disinfect society from this dangerous and recurring disease,” concluded Samuels.

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The letter was shared with the following Belgian MEPs:

Flemish-speaking college:
Geert Bourgeois, Assita Kanko and Johan Van Overtveldt - New Flemish Alliance (N-VA)
Gerolf Annemans, Filip De Man and Tom Vandendriessche - Flemish Interest (Vlaams Belang)
Guy Verhofstadt and Hilde Vautmans - Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (VLD)
Cindy Franssen - Christian Democratic and Flemish list (CD&V)
Kathleen Van Brempt - Socialist Party & Different list (SPA)
Sara Matthieu - Green Party (Groen)

French-speaking college:
Marie Arena and Marc Tarabella - Socialist Party (PS)
Philippe Lamberts and Saskia Bricmont - Green Party (ECOLO)
Olivier Chastel and Frédérique Ries - Reformist Movement (MR)
Marc Botenga – Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB)
Benoît Lutgen - Humanist Democratic Centre (CDH)

German-speaking college:
Pascal Arimont - Christian Social Party (CSP)

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“Hate is a boomerang, which comes back for everyone and spares no one, neither the weak nor the powerful.”
Simon Wiesenthal, 1908-2005 (quote from his book “Justice Not Vengeance”)