The Brussels Gestapo Headquarters

Having worked together for several years for the recognition and preservation of the former headquarters of the Sipo-SD (Gestapo) located at 453 and 347 Avenue Louise in Brussels, Daniel Weyssow, Remembrance of Auschwitz project leader, and Claire Pahaut, secretary of the Groupe Memoire , an association working to preserve memory of the Second World War, are very pleased with the decision made on January 9, 2014, by the government of Brussels, at the initiative of Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region, Rudi Vervoort, to begin the process of registering the cellars as historical sites. This is an important process, given that there are many inscriptions on the walls left by Jewish and resistance victims of the occupying forces. The Monuments and Sites directorate will soon begin inventorying the graffiti in the cellars.

 

caves gestapo small 

Daniel Weyssow, “Les caves du siège de la Gestapo à Bruxelles. Récit d’une découverte” in Traces de mémoire, no. 10, December 2013 (pdf) [The Cellars Of Gestapo Headquarters In Brussels. An Account Of Their Discovery]

traces 10

 

 


One-day conference, October 21, 2011

The subject of the one-day conference organized on Friday 21 October 2011 by Remembrance of Auschwitz and the Auschwitz Foundation at the Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique was “The Brussels Gestapo Headquarters – Recognition and Conservation” and the possibility of having the building’s cellars classified as a national monument.

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During the Second World War, the German security services (the Sicherheitspolizei and Sicherheitsdienst, i.e. the Gestapo), requisitioned three buildings situated at 453, 347 and 510 Avenue Louise in Brussels. Nothing about these buildings now attracts the attention of passers-by, except for the memorial dedicated to Jean de Sélys Longchamps and a plaque on the facade of 453 Avenue Louise. (On 20 January 1943, Jean de Sélys Longchamps, a Belgian aviator who had joined the British RAF, machine-gunned the Gestapo buildings from the air, severely damaging them). Yet they are among Belgium’s most important and most symbolic Second World War sites of evil memory, as they were the premises of those who carried out the arrests of so many resistance fighters and organized the deportation of the Jews of Belgium and the north of France. Indeed, many survivors have given testimony on the interrogations and tortures which took place in them.

 

The morning session dealt with the history of the Brussels Gestapo headquarters and some of its branches and offshoots in Belgium and northern France. The afternoon was devoted to the possibilities for conserving the inscriptions carved on the cellar walls by the Nazis’ victims.

 

Presentation and detailed program of the conference (pdf in French) (pdf in Dutch)

 

Videos of the contributions

 

 

 

 

Publication of the proceedings of the conference

Daniel Weyssow (ed.), Les Caves de la Gestapo: Reconnaissance et conservation [The Gestapo’s Cellars: Recognition and Preservation], Paris, Kimé (Between History and Memory; no. 6), 2013, 213 p.

Proceedings of the one-day conference (October 21, 2011), Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique

 

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Building numbers 453, 347 and 510 of one of the most beautiful streets of Brussels, Avenue Louise, were requisitioned during the Second World War by the Gestapo. They became true torture centres, the walls of their cellars are still covered with inscriptions and drawings depicting the despair and the last will of the prisoners. However, until now, none of these buildings have received any recognition. This collection is composed of contributions from specialists as well as survivors and have two vocations:

  • Raise awareness among government officials and politicians that this forgotten memory must finally be recognized.
  • Give the readers a thorough study of scientific significance of these places and of other similar sites (Breendonk, Cologne, Krakow, Fresnes, and Romainville).

 

Summary (pdf)

ISBN: 978-2-84174-608-8

Price: €20.00

Order online

 

 

Original text: Grégory Célerse (Local historian and researcher at the Museum of Resistance of Bondues), Le siège de la Gestapo de La Madeleine (Lille) (pdf) [The Gestapo headquarters of La Madeleine (Lille)]

 

Benoît Majerus, “La Sipo-SD en Belgique. Une police faible?”, Vingtième Siècle. Revue d'histoire, no. 119, 2013/3, p. 43-54. [The Sipo-SD in Belgium. A weak police?] (click in the table at the bottom of the page on the link to the PDF file)

 

The preservation of the cellars of Avenue Louise in question: Daniel Weyssow, La journée d'étude en débats. Table ronde et interpellations parlementaires (pdf) [The conference in discussions. Roundtable and parliamentary questions]

 

Additional photographs to those presented in the following contributions of the volume:

 


 

To obtain further information, contact Daniel Weyssow:

Tel: +32 (0)2 512 79 98 – Fax: +32 (0)2 512 58 84 – Contact by email

Additional information