OCTOBER 29, 2007 – The Mayor of Antwerp Patrick Janssens has presented a formal apology for the role played by city officials in the organisation of the deportation of Jews during the Second World War.
Mr Janssens presented the apology on behalf of the City of Antwerp to a congress on the Nazi extermination of Jews during World War II that was held in the port city this past Sunday.
Antwerp police were actively involved in raids to find and detain Jews in 1942.
The Flemish historian Lieven Stevens told the Flemish Radio and Television Network that initially the police only assisted the Germans in tracking down Jews for deportation to the death camps.
However, later they also actively helped round up members of the city’s Jewish community.
As a major sea port and trading centre Antwerp has a sizable Jewish community.
Currently around 15,000 of Belgium’s 40,000 Jews live in Antwerp.
65% of Antwerp’s Jewish community were deported during the Nazi occupation.
One of the topics that was discussed at Sunday’s congress was the role those working for the City of Antwerp during the Nazi occupation played in helping the Germans with the rounding up and deportation the city’s Jews.
Mr Janssens’ apology came by means of a pre-recorded video message that was played at the congress.
(Source: VRT nieuws.net)