King Albert II of Belgium last week received a delegation of 20 Belgians who helped save Jews from the Nazis during World War II.
The members of the delegation, who had previously been named Righteous Gentiles by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, were presented to the Belgian king on March 9 by Israel’s ambassador to Belgium, Victor Harel.
Also attending the ceremony were French Jewish writer Marek Halter and Simon Susskind, chairwoman of the Brussels Jewish Lay Community Center.
The ceremony came on the eve of a visit this week to the Auschwitz concentration camp by a delegation of Belgian officials.
Among the 350 people who traveled to Auschwitz on Monday to commemorate the memory of Belgian Holocaust victims were several members of the country’s federal and regional governments, leaders of Belgium’s political parties, religious and military officials, and representatives of the Belgian Jewish community.
The Belgian king”s chief of Cabinet, Jacques Van Ypersele de Strihou, participated in the commemoration.
Last January, at the official ceremony for the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Russian troops, Belgium was represented by Crown Prince Philippe.
From 1942 to 1944, some 25,000 Belgian Jews were deported from a gathering center located in an army barracks at Mechelen, north of Brussels, to Auschwitz. Nearly all of them were exterminated.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.