Facing Deportation: How Jews Were Arrested in Belgium
An examination of the actions of the perpetrators and the reactions of their Jewish victims in Belgium suggests insights that go beyond the specific history of the Holocaust in this small country. The Germans apprehended the majority of Jews who were deported from Belgium to Auschwitz individually or in small groups. Only a small percentage of them were arrested by the Belgian police, and cooperation by Belgian authorities did not constitute the decisive element for the “Final Solution”. However, an ensemble of heretofore unresearched German authorities proved ready to act in deportation operations. Many victims fell into the hands of the Germans precisely at the time they tried to escape to safety. Arrests took place in hiding places or during illegal emigration to France. Thus, the German files provide a picture of how the arrested Jews--the very people that the Germans wished to extinguish without a trace--chose to defend their lives by individual strategies of survival.