Resisting resistance. WWII resistance movements as milieux de mémoire in post-war Belgium (1945-present)

Verzonken verzet. Verzetsorganisaties als milieux de mémoire in naoorlogs België (1945-heden)
Start - End 
2018 - 2022 (ongoing)
Type 
Department(s) 
Department of History
Research Focus 

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Abstract

The Second World War in Belgium is remembered personally and locally, in different and often contrasting ways. Internationally, the Belgian memory landscape has therefore been pointed out as a unique case study, not only because of the plurality of war memories, but especially for the lack of national attention for the victors of the war: resistance fighters. Notwithstanding the political usage of resistance legacy by the francophone part of Belgium, strong resistance figures such as Lucie and Raymond Aubrac, Stéphane Hessel in France or Frits De Zwerver and Pim Boellaard in The Netherlands seem absent in post-war Belgium. Neither do Belgians collectively remember deceased resistance fighters similar to Jean Moulin or Hannie Schaft. They may have existed, but they are certainly not remembered nationally. Was it the marginal role of resistance movements during the liberation, their ideological plurality, the competition with the legacy of Flemish collaborators or did the federalisation of the Belgian state prove fatal for the patriotic narratives upon which these organisations were built?

By investigating who represented 'WWII resistance' and how they (re)presented their past in post-war society, this research aims to offer insight into the so assumed failed legacy of resistance in post-war Belgium.

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