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

01 October 2018 → 30 September 2023
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • History
resistance movements History
Project description

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 are 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? This research will investigate who
represented resistance organisations in post-war society. Additionally, post-war periodicals
published by these organisations will be researched to delineate how ‘resistance’ was represented.
Thus, this research aims to offer insight into the nearly absent legacy of resistance in post-war