Holocaust and Human Rights Museum Opens in Belgium

King Albert II of Belgium inaugurates museum located opposite the ‘Dossin Barracks,’ a site from which more than 25,000 Jews and 352 gypsies were deported to Auschwitz, EJC/AFP reports.

A Holocaust and human rights museum was inaugurated last Monday in Belgium, opposite the “Dossin Barracks” in Mechelen, a site from which more than 25,000 Jews and 352 gypsies were deported to Auschwitz death camp between 1942-1944, the European Jewish Press and Agence France Presse reported.

According to the EJP/AFP report, King Albert II of Belgium inaugurated the “Dossin Barracks Memorial, Museum and Documentation Center for the Holocaust and Human Rights,” some 30 kilometers north of Brussels on November 26.

The museum, which was due to open on December 1, is housed in a newly-built three-storey building that was constructed according to blueprints of the Flemish architect Bob Van Reeth and was financed by Flemish authorities, said the report.

EJC/AFP described the building as white, “austere and massive, with mural windows,” adding that “the 25,852 bricks used in its construction represent the number of Jews and gypsies sent to their deaths at Auschwitz from the nearby barracks, only metres from site of the museum.”

In September, Belgium’s prime minister, Elio Di Rupo, apologized for the complicity of state authorities in the murder of Belgian Jews during the Holocaust.

“We must have the courage to look at the truth: There was steady participation by the Belgian state authorities in the persecution of Jews,” Di Rupo said at a memorial ceremony in the city of Mechelen.

One month earlier, Antwerp Mayor Patrick Janssens recognized and apologized for the complicity of city authorities in deportations. Janssens announced plans to erect a monument engraved with the names of Antwerp Jews known to have been murdered in the Holocaust.