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Antwerp commemorates World War II

2019 marks the 75th anniversary of Antwerp’s liberation. But the war did not end immediately and would have a devastating impact on the lives of many Antwerpers. 

The City of Antwerp wants to keep the memory of this war alive, strengthening it and passing it down to future generations. The city wants to raise awareness about the importance of freedom, starting from a fundamental idea, ‘Always free. Never taken for granted’ and a specific chapter in the city’s history.

We should never forget that during World War II thousands of Jews disappeared forever from our streets, 720 bombs killed 3,560 people and injured another 9,000, reducing the city to rubble. The people of Antwerp suffered famine, fled, had no information about the fate of their family and friends, went into hiding, betrayed or helped each other. These events continue to shape the world and our city today. The city of Antwerp wants to contribute to the recollection of these events.

We should never forget the struggle and the high price that many people paid. With “Antwerp Commemorates”, we want to remind everyone that people fought hard for our values and our liberties.

Stories, encounters and places in the city
Of all the Belgian cities, Antwerp was the hardest hit. “Antwerp Commemorates” wants to share personal stories and draw attention to lesser known or forgotten events. The spotlight is on the many military and civilian victims in Antwerp. We will also zoom in on monuments and special places. And finally, we also want to publish new information about the many different groups of victims. You may thus discover stories that you were perhaps unaware of.

Tailored to the future
While World War II ended 75 years ago, it still makes sense to commemorate the events, the deportations of the Jews and all the victims of this war. In so doing, we also remember the fight against dictatorship and commemorate how people defended the democratic values that unite us today.

“Antwerp Commemorates” wants to remind us of this dark chapter in the city’s history. Because we must never forget.

Look, listen, feel and remember with us.

 

This website is still under construction. In the coming months, we will add further information about the different groups of victims. You will also be able to learn more about the history of World War II based on various themes.

 

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Events commemorating World War II in Antwerp

All events

Skyline Antwerpen

Antwerp's war scars

Here are some important events in World War II in Antwerp. View them on the map or chronologically on the timeline.

August 1942

The first large-scale raids on Jews in the city

20 and 21 November 1942

Executions of Antwerp members of the resistance movement at the shooting range in D’Herbouvillekaai

October - November 1944

The Battle of the Scheldt: the Allies and the Germans fight to control the port

16 December 1944

A V2 falls on Cinema Rex: 567 people died

The war scars visualised on a map

World War II has left many scars on Antwerp’s landscape. Do you want to find out what happened in your neighbourhood or learn why a monument, statue or commemorative plaque was erected? Soon available on this map.

Go to the map

The port

The Battle of the Scheldt: the Allies and the Germans fight to control the port

De Keyserlei

A V2 falls on Cinema Rex: 567 people died

Lange Kievitstraat

The first large-scale raids on Jews in the city

D’Herbouvillekaai

Executions of Antwerp members of the resistance movement at the shooting range in D’Herbouvillekaai

01 06 Resistance or collaboration

Different reactions on the occupation

Only a minority of the population chose to join the resistance or collaborate. Violent skirmishes erupted between the two camps in Antwerp.

02 06 Antwerp’s city council during the occupation

A policy of far-reaching collaboration

As was the case in other cities, Antwerp’s city council complied with the demands of the Germans.

03 06 Daily life and survival in occupied Antwerp

A city engulfed by the storm.

The war and the occupation caused chaos in Antwerpers’ daily life.

04 06 The end of the war: the liberation of Antwerp and its port

Waiting for the war to end

On 4 September 1944, the first British tanks rolled into the city of Antwerp. 

05 06 The persecution of the Jews in Antwerp

One of the darkest chapters in our history

Five months after the invasion, the Germans announced the first anti-Jewish measures. The deportations commenced two years later.

06 06 Bombing raids and V-weapons on Antwerp

Hope, fear and terror

The V-bombs caused a sea of destruction in the city.

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